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Donald S. Whitney joins MBTS faculty as chair of Pastoral Ministry

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Midwestern Seminary celebrated the election of Donald S. Whitney to full-time faculty during the institution’s spring trustee meeting on April 9.

Whitney will fill the John H. Powell Endowed Chair of Pastoral Ministry, serving as professor of biblical spirituality and director of the forthcoming Center for Biblical Spirituality at Midwestern Seminary.

“Dr. Whitney is a man of prayer and sound doctrine who loves the local church and the Great Commission,” said MBTS President Jason Allen. “He also loves to impact students. For these reasons and many more, we are delighted to have him at Midwestern Seminary.”

Noting the significance of Whitney’s role teaching biblical spirituality, Allen said, “Dr. Whitney’s coming is a statement of this institution’s commitment to the holistic formation of its students, including and especially their inner lives. We want men and women who are lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ, men and women of prayer, of Scripture, and of all that Dr. Whitney’s teaching and his books represent.”

Whitney currently serves as professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He is also the president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality, Inc., a non-profit corporation he founded in 2003. A former pastor, Whitney has 24 years’ experience serving local churches in pastoral roles.

Whitney’s election to the John H. Powell Endowed Chair of Pastoral Ministry highlights his commitment to developing men and women who reflect Christ in their churches, families and personal lives.

Established in 2022, the endowed chair recognizes John Powell, church planter and pastor in New Caney, Texas, who heroically lost his life in July 2020 while assisting a driver involved in a highway accident.

Powell was a friend of Whitney, having studied and served in Louisville.

“He was an exceptional believer in Christ, a model husband and father, and one of the most cheerful people I’ve ever met,” Whitney said of Powell.

“I am honored to be associated with anything that bears John Powell’s name. I was thrilled to hear that Midwestern Seminary had this endowed chair, and to be chosen to fill that chair is a significant honor in my life.”

As a member of Midwestern Seminary’s faculty, Whitney will teach courses in biblical spirituality, preparing students whose lives and ministries are marked by personal growth in Christ.

“The first priority of a man or woman of God is to be a godly man or godly woman,” he said. “Without this, no one can be truly fruitful in ministry.”

Whitney will also direct the to-be-established Center for Biblical Spirituality at Midwestern Seminary.

Jason Duesing, provost and senior vice president of academic administration at Midwestern Seminary, said the new center will “aim to amplify Dr. Whitney’s ministry output and established legacy from Midwestern Seminary, through churches and to the ends of the earth.”

Before serving at Southern Seminary, Whitney served for 10 years at Midwestern Seminary as associate professor of spiritual formation.

“God led me to a seminary ministry first through participating in the local church and then through the experience of pastoral ministry,” Whitney said. “I have always seen my seminary ministry primarily in terms of preparing people to serve in and for the Church. Midwestern Seminary’s ‘For the Church’ mission aligns perfectly with how I see my role in the classroom.”

Duesing noted: “Dr. Whitney’s investment in generations of students has strengthened more churches than we can know. It is that very investment that focuses on churches that makes his arrival at Midwestern Seminary a joy.”

In addition to teaching in seminary, Whitney’s service to the Church includes regular speaking and prolific writing. He is the author of “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life,” “Praying the Bible,” “Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health,” “Family Worship,” “How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian?”, “Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church,” “Simplify Your Spiritual Life” and “Finding God in Solitude: The Personal Piety of Jonathan Edwards and Its Influence on His Pastoral Ministry.”

Whitney holds a Ph.D. in theology from the University of the Free State in South Africa and a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts from Arkansas State University.

Whitney is married to Caffy, and they have one married daughter and four grandchildren. Caffy Whitney is a professional artist whose work is featured in the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Seminary.

To watch a video announcement of Dr. Whitney’s election to the faculty at Midwestern Seminary, visit mbts.edu/whitney.

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  • Michaela Classen