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Ferguson tells grads to follow leadership of Jesus, not CEO’s

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–A total of 78 students graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary during commencement exercises May 18 at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo.

St. Louis native Rick Ferguson, pastor of Riverside Church in Denver, delivered the commencement address, “Servant Leaders,” based on John
13:1-17. He told graduates that Christ-honoring servant leadership is driven by a sense of personal security in their relationship with God; by a passion to serve; and by unconditional love.

“Our model in the church is Jesus Christ — not CEO-style leaders, but servant-style leaders,” Ferguson said. “At the Last Supper, while the disciples were pulling out resumes to see who would be the greatest, Jesus picked up a basin of water and a towel and began to wash their feet. Jesus is still in the business of washing dirty, defiled feet.

“Graduates, lead with creativity, lead with passion, lead with contrition and a broken heart,” he said. “But leave here today with a towel and a basin.”

Academic Dean Malcolm Yarnell presented several graduates with awards including:

— Zondervan Greek Award, Kelly Liebengood;

— William H. Collier Evangelism Award, Yanching Jerry Jean;

— J.J. Owens Hebrew Award, Matthew Aernie;

— Baker Book House Award in Theology, John Smith;

— North American Professors for Christian Education Award, Elizabeth Johnson;

— G. Hugh Wamble Award in Church History, Craig Sauk;

— Wornall Road Baptist Church Award in Supervised Ministries, Klaudia Elrod;

— LifeWay Preaching Award, William Earnhart;

— Wanda J. Keatley Award, Kelly Liebengood;

— Broadman & Holman Seminarian Award, Kelly Liebengood;

— Doctor of Ministry Award, Tony Nickel.

Old Testament and Hebrew professor Al Bean was named Professor of the Year.

Senior class president Bradley Russell presented the class gift to Alan Branch, vice president for student development. The monetary gift is to be used to purchase new exercise equipment for the campus.

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  • Stacey Hamby