News Articles

BP Ledger, June 1, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Houston Baptist University
Baptist College of Florida
Mississippi Baptist Convention Board

HBU Announces Archie W. Dunham College of Business
Houston, Texas (Houston Baptist University) — Houston Baptist University announced it has received a $15 million gift from well-known Christian business executive Archie W. Dunham and his wife Linda. The gift represents the largest single gift in the University’s history and will fund scholarships, provide assistance for the Dunham Bible Museum, and result in the naming of the school of business. 
HBU President Robert B. Sloan, Jr., announced the naming of the Archie W. Dunham College of Business. “We have long been blessed at HBU to be able to point our students to Archie and Linda Dunham as examples of the transforming power of Christian faith and Christian influence in the world,” said President Sloan. “It is now an added privilege to be able to point to the Archie W. Dunham College of Business as a further tangible expression of our gratitude to the Dunham family.” 
The announcement was made at the May 12, 2015 meeting of the HBU Board of Trustees. “Archie and Linda Dunham represent everything we celebrate at HBU: Christian faith, character, service to others, generosity, and excellence in all the things that truly matter,” said Sloan. “Probably the best testimony to everything that Linda and Archie exemplify can be seen in their outstanding and faithful children and grandchildren.” 
Archie W. Dunham is the Non-Executive Chairman of Chesapeake Energy. He served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conoco Inc., then as Chairman of ConocoPhillips, following the merger of Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Company. Previously, Archie served on the boards of Phelps Dodge Corporation, Pride International, DuPont, Louisiana Pacific Corporation, Union Pacific Corporation, Chase, and Consol Energy. He is also a member of the Deutsche Bank’s Americas Advisory Board. Dunham and his wife Linda are members of the HBU President’s Leadership Council, and they are active members of Second Baptist Church. The Dunhams’ son Cary is a 1993 graduate of HBU. 
“Linda and I have observed the growth and positive impact on students of Houston Baptist University during the last nine years under Dr. Robert Sloan’s outstanding leadership,” said Dunham. “We believe that HBU is becoming one of America’s leading Christian Universities where integrity, ethics, and moral leadership are being taught to a new generation of future leaders. Linda and I are honored to be associated with the University.” 
The Dunhams were recognized for their commitment to HBU with the President’s Lifetime Award at the Spirit of Excellence Gala in November 2014. They are past recipients of the Spirit of Excellent Award. They have supported a number of major on-campus projects that hold their name, including the Dunham Bible Museum, Dunham Theater, and Dunham Field for the University’s newly constructed football stadium.
Founded in 1960, HBU is an independent Christian university that offers enriched academic and student life experiences in a major metropolitan area. As a result of implementing its twelve-year vision, The Ten Pillars: Faith and Reason in a Great City, HBU is on a trajectory to become a comprehensive, national university. By fostering the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of its students, the University provides “A Higher Education,” one that prepares students to succeed not only in their careers but also in life. For more information about HBU, please visit www.hbu.edu.


Historic anniversary for the Baptist College of Florida

GRACEVILLE, Fla. (Baptist College of Florida) — The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, Fla., celebrated a historic event on May 14, as Thomas A. Kinchen, the institution’s sixth president, completed 25 years, the longest serving president the college has had in its 72 year history. Dignitaries, convention leaders, trustees, college supporters, faculty and staff, family members, childhood friends and community colleagues all joined together to celebrate the incredible ways God has used this visionary leader at The Baptist College of Florida.

During the anniversary celebration, The Baptist College of Florida Board of Trustees honored Kinchen for his 25 years of faithful service by announcing the construction of a new education building to be named “The Kinchen Center.” Funds for the building have already exceeded half of what is needed for completion. Support for the center continues to pour in to honor this man who found innovative ways to inspire growth on a campus that was destined to close without his strong leadership and vision. When Kinchen arrived in 1990, he was given 18 months to turn the campus around or the school would be closed. Within those 18 months and throughout the past 25 years, BCF has seen major changes and growth, but as Kinchen quickly interjects, it was not through him but rather the very hand of God.

There is no doubt that God has used this willing servant leader to accomplish many things, beginning with his early years of diligent educational training. Growing up in Thomasville, Ga., as the son of the late George H. and Annie Lou Kinchen, he finished his first two degrees in his home state earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and a Masters of Education degree from the University of Georgia in Athens. He continued his education by obtaining the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, La.

President Kinchen began his professional career in education as a teacher at Swainsboro High School in Swainsboro, Ga. While in Georgia, he pastored churches in Thomas County, worked with the Georgia Department of Human Resources in Thomasville, and served as a counselor at Delgado Junior College in New Orleans.

While at Seminary, Kinchen served in the following capacities: Director of Continuing Education and Doctor of Ministry Program, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Director of Church Minister Relations and Communications. Additionally, he served in local churches as minister of education, associate pastor and interim pastor. He served as a member of the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Florida State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities. He was named Chair of the Committee on Strategic Planning of the Board of Independent Colleges and Universities. Kinchen also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Then in 1986, Kinchen was elected to serve as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and held this position until May 21, 1990, when he became President of The Baptist College of Florida.

Accolades and accomplishments can be attributed to this awe-inspiring leader, but they are accepted with such humility that onlookers can see the true heart of servanthood that Kinchen has at his core. Tremendous growth has taken place at BCF since Kinchen took on the responsibility as president. Over the past 25 years, over 100 acres have been added to the college’s property holdings, a home for missionaries was opened on the campus, Lakeside Hall, Shepherd’s Cottages, Conrad Court, and an Assembly Center were built. Extensive renovations of the Student Center, Library, Music and Worship facility, and the historic R.G. Lee Chapel have capture the architectural beauty that Kinchen is known for having etched on paper napkins. Under this visionary leader, a Preaching Lab, new Administration Building, the Mills Center for Missions and World Evangelism were dedicated as well as the state-of-the-art Wellness Center and near completion of the new Deese Center (dining facility).

One on-campus project, often called Kinchen’s brain child, was the construction of Heritage Village. The Village is a collection of turn-of-the-20th-century homes, churches, a schoolhouse and community center that represent a rich history Kinchen knew was worth preserving. It is the home of the annual Holiday Heritage Festival/Homecoming event, which features artisans, crafts and numerous musical performances from BCF’s Music and Worship Division. It also serves as headquarters for the Florida Baptist Historical Society and archives.

In addition to the physical growth that has occurred during Kinchen’s 25 years, academic programs at BCF have flourished. The 90’s saw the addition of degrees in Elementary Education, Christian Education, Leadership, Biblical Studies, Church Studies and Bachelor of Music. The college was accepted into the National Association of Schools of Music and the curriculum was revised to ensure that all BCF degrees had the same general education and biblical/theological foundations. Educational opportunities and programs have multiplied on campus as well as programs in Barbados, Brazil, certificate sites, distance sites and currently every degree can be completed online in Florida and most states throughout the country. Multiple degree programs have been added since 1990, including bachelor degrees in Music Education, Missions, Christian Studies, Contemporary Worship Ministry, English, English Secondary Education, History and Social Studies, History and Social Studies Secondary Education, Ministry Studies, Missions with a Concentration in Aviation, Business Leadership and master’s degrees in Christian Studies and Music and Worship Leadership.

Kinchen was not only instrumental but championed the call to change the world with the establishment of several Endowed Chairs for Missions and Evangelism. Through the endowed chairs, faculty and programs were secured to promote the evangelism efforts throughout the curriculum and within multiple degree programs.

Because of his desire to utilize every possible avenue to connect with students and the community, Kinchen paved the way for BCF to operate a low-power radio station, 94.7 WFBU, from the campus beginning in 2003. He launched the development of webcasting and a large media presence for BCF on the internet. Under his leadership, the internet site, www.baptistcollege.edu, was established and has become one of the primary marketing tools for disseminating BCF information. The radio broadcast, BCF website, and social media venues is just another example of Kinchen’s leading edge management style that is prevalent in every aspect of the college.

The BCF student body and community is renewed and reenergized each year through the annual Missions Conference, Evangelism Conference, Prayer Conference and Powell Lectures established by President Kinchen. Special guest speakers and organizations are invited to campus every year to attend not only during these special events but also invited to chapel services held three days a week in the R. G. Lee Chapel.

As Kinchen preaches in chapel the first week of each semester, students have the opportunity to hear firsthand the heart of their president. In addition to his own personal passion for preaching, he and wife Ruth Ann established a preaching award that is presented each semester to a deserving student. The student is awarded the “President’s Excellence in Preaching Award” and given the opportunity to preach in chapel. Responding to a strong need for more practical and theoretical resources for ministers, Kinchen established a “Center for Expository Preaching” designed to provide resources to enrich and energize biblical preaching in Baptist churches. The center conducts several annual conferences to help pastors and lay leaders with Doctrinal Studies, etc.

In addition to the strong preaching ministry at BCF, worship through music is a vital part of the campus, and under Kinchen’s leadership, the college has served as host for various artists and music groups. Not only are popular musical groups invited to perform at BCF, they are formed here. Every semester and throughout the year, the plethora of talented musicians teaching and studying at BCF can be found serving in churches, schools, and places all around the country.

During his 25 year career as president, Kinchen has seen many students pass through the doors of BCF, and it is with great joy that he encourages each and every one of them to pursue the plans God has for their lives. This unwavering motto has been at the heart of his service to BCF from the very beginning of his ministry on campus. “As we continue to pursue our registered trademark of “Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word,®” we have the unique opportunity to train, educate, and prepare the next greatest generation of Christian leaders,” stated Kinchen. “Without any doubt, I feel a greater excitement today than I did 25 years ago as I anticipate what our Lord has in store for the days ahead of us. I look forward to showing up, standing up, and speaking up for our Lord and this wonderful college with all of the strength, energy, and vision that God can and will give to me.”

During the 25th Anniversary Celebration, BCF First Lady Ruth Ann Kinchen was recognized for her unending love and support of the college. For 25 years, she has traveled alongside the president for thousands of miles offering encouragement and assistance. She imparts a legacy on the BCF campus from baking cookies for the students each semester and raising funds for scholarships, to sewing window coverings and gracefully decorating campus buildings.

The 25th Anniversary Guest Speaker Jim Henry saluted Kinchen as he reflected on his visionary leadership and successful presidency. Words of affirmation were echoed from John Sullivan, Glen Owens, Wayne Briant, and Alex Kinchen (Tom and Ruth Ann’s son). A beautiful tribute of praise was sung by Lisa (Kinchen) Potter to honor her mom and dad on this historic occasion. Not a dry eye could be found among the faculty and staff in the Wellness Center as their deeply respected leader, President Thomas A. Kinchen, walked across the stage to respond to this incredible night filled with appreciation and grateful hearts for his 25 years of service to The Baptist College of Florida.

According to Kinchen, “There is still much to be done, people to reach, lives to be touched, programs to be developed, and ministries to be strengthened. With the leadership of our Lord we have seen this great college make huge strides, and following that same leadership our greatest days are still ahead!”


Miss. Executive Committee taps three for board positions
By William H. Perkins Jr.

JACKSON, Miss. (Mississippi Baptist Convention Board) — Members of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) executive committee filled three key vacancies May 15 when they hired a department director, a camp manager, and a GuideStone representative.

“What we knew was going to be a fairly long and intense work day for the executive committee turned into a remarkable day of meeting with one potential new employee after another,” said Jim Futral, MBCB executive director. “As the executive committee met, heard, interviewed, and affirmed these new leaders, the room was filled with excitement, positive affirmation, and joyful expectation.

“It was obvious that God had been at work in their lives preparing them not only for such a time as this, but for such a work as this to which they have come. We welcome each one of them as they serve in very diverse areas with unique gifts and great hearts.”

Michael D. Lee, senior pastor of First Church, Grenada, was elected to serve as director of the MBCB Pastor-Leadership Department, beginning June 1. He replaces the late Alan Woodward.

According to the MBCB web site, the mission of the Pastor/Leadership Development Department is “to strengthen leaders so they can strengthen the church.” Target audiences include pastors, church staff, deacons, church officers, ministry assistants, church leadership teams, church committees, youth/adults in vocational guidance, and college students committed to church related vocations.

The department responds to requests from individuals, provides training on the associational level, and conducts both regional and statewide conferences in the department’s specialty areas.

Prior to serving at First Church, Grenada, Lee was senior pastor and associate pastor prior to that at Providence Church, Hattiesburg (2003-2010). He was also senior pastor at Macedonia Church, New Albany (2000-2002), and pastor of New Prospect Church, Iuka (1999-2000).

He holds a B.A. in psychology (’97) from Mississippi State University in Starkville, an M.Div. in biblical studies (’02) and M.Th. in Old Testament/Hebrew (’06) from New Orleans Seminary, and is pursuing a D.Min in pastoral work at New Orleans Seminary.

Lee has been married to the former Jennifer D. Esler for 20 years, and they have three children.

“His experience, keen mind, and great spirit will provide great leadership for all of our pastors and leaders,” Futral said.

“I love Mississippi and Mississippi Baptists! I am both excited and humbled to join the Convention team and fill this role. My family covets your prayers as we transition to serve our MBCB pastors, staff, and churches,” Lee said.

Shane Thrash, assistant director of the Baptist Student Union at William Carey University (WCU) in Hattiesburg since July 2011 and also the current interim pastor at Lake Como Church, Bay Springs, will begin his duties as the new manager of Central Hills Retreat near Kosciusko on June 15.

He replaces James Ray, who resigned Dec. 31 to answer the call to pastor Cherry Creek Church, Pontotoc.

The primary purpose of Central Hills Retreat, according to the MBCB web site, is to provide a Christian camping experience for boys and girls ages five to 18. The facility is used almost exclusively for summer camp programs from late May to early August. Throughout the rest of the year, Central Hills is available for camps, retreats, and conferences.

Prior to his current service, Thrash was student pastor at West Laurel Church, Laurel (2010-2012), minister of families at Park Haven Church, Laurel (2008-2010), and associate pastor/minister of students at Friendship Church, Ellisville (2003-2008).

He holds a bachelor of general studies with concentrations in biblical studies and physical education (’06) and a masters of counseling psychology with an emphasis in Christian counseling (’08), both from WCU.

Thrash, a former U.S. Marine, is a Central Hills staff alumnus. He has been married to his wife Kristel since December 2003, and they have three children.

“Shane has history with Central Hills Retreat. God has uniquely packaged his experience and his desire with his ministerial experience, a love for young people, and a stint with the United States Marine Corps,” Futral said.

“I am truly excited to have this opportunity,” Thrash said. “Since my time as a summer staffer at Central Hills, it has been my dream to manage a camp. I never thought that it would be at a place that has meant so much to me. I look forward to what God has in store for me and my family in His ministry at Central Hills.”

Tim Ruth was elected to the position of financial services (GuideStone) representative and procurement officer. He will begin his new duties on June 1.

Ruth has been the consultant contract manager for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) since 2010 and was an MDOT contract employee before then. He has also been self-employed and worked in sales and account management. He was an operations auditor for Citigroup for six years.

He holds a bachelor of business administration with emphases in management and marketing (’90) from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and an associate in general business administration (’88) from Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville.

A longtime member of Broadmoor Church in Madison, Ruth has been married to wife Teena for 22 years and they have two children.

“Tim has spent most of his adult life in business, while he has been consumed with ministry and caring about people at the same time,” Futral said.

“God has assembled some of the greatest leaders to ministry assignments all across the state. What a blessing I am being given to serve alongside them in being their Guidestone representative,” Ruth said. “Also, as a portion of my position I will be managing some of the day-to-day procurement and business of MBCB. I look forward to serving in the stewardship of this area as well.”

“We look forward to all of them coming to provide unique leadership with God-given abilities, and to bless all Mississippi Baptists,” Futral said.

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