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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Floyd challenges NOBTS students; MBTS implements structural changes


Floyd challenges students to accomplish their calling
By Tess Schoonhoven

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated the inauguration of president James K. “Jamie” Dew Jr. in their chapel service Jan. 30.

Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, spoke at the service on the subject of paying attention to God’s calling on individual lives and living out that calling.

Floyd began the service by stating that each individual in the audience and at the seminary was there because of the calling to Gospel ministry.

Explaining his own pastoral history, Floyd said that as his life trajectory changed, it was only under direction of God’s calling upon his life.

As he moved along the path God led him down, he knew that it would be vital to maintain a heart open to change.

“Always be willing to go anywhere, at any time and to any place that God is calling you,” Floyd said.

The primary source for determining the direction of our lives, is the calling placed on us from the Lord, Floyd emphasized, not the opinions of other people.

The moment you choose to listen to the voices of others over the voice of God, Floyd said, is the moment you step away from the Word of God.

“Put your focus on your ministry,” Floyd said. “You were sovereignly placed where you are by God.”

Floyd encouraged listeners to never get over the intensity of that truth.

“When you’re a minister of the Gospel, you should give your life to it,” Floyd said.

The location of where you accomplish your ministry may change, but God will always see you through to the end, he continued. The point of the calling is the Lord.

“We need to stop dictating to God what our lives are about,” Floyd noted.

The true spirit of acknowledging a calling is being willing to go wherever God wants, he explained. “If the calling doesn’t take you there, the calling won’t keep you there.”

Floyd asked attendees to embrace the unknown, realizing that oftentimes, true calling will take you to new places. But it is in those new places that one can truly learn how to move forward.

“Do you believe God?” Floyd asked. “Do you trust Him? You are made for the moment God has called you to. If you’re called, go.”

Floyd noted that individuals may reject a calling placed on their life by the Lord because they may be seeking control.

But giving up control means dying to yourself and truly living for God’s purpose.

“It’s about accomplishing what God wants with your life,” Floyd said. “Your calling is irrevocable.”

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Midwestern Seminary announces organizational structure changes
By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Noting the growing administrative needs in Academic Services and overall growth at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, president Jason Allen announced changes in the school’s organizational structure that will provide “greater administrative effectiveness, overall balance and continued organizational health.”

In doing so, Allen named Thor Madsen as dean of doctoral studies and academic initiatives, Rodney Harrison to the position of dean, academic strategy and institutional effectiveness, and John Mark Yeats’ title changed to dean of students and student success.

“At Midwestern Seminary, we are continuously evaluating our organizational structure, particularly as it relates to maximizing the skills and talents of the immensely gifted individuals that God has providentially sent our way,” Allen said. “Our ongoing conversations have been both thorough and healthy, clarifying the seminary’s current needs and opportunities, and how best to support those.”

As such, Madsen, who has served at Midwestern Seminary for more than two decades in various professorial and administrative capacities, will transition from the role of dean of graduate studies to dean of doctoral studies and academic initiatives.

The change, Allen explained, enables Madsen to give primary attention to all doctoral studies programs due to the size and growth of these programs. Further, he will continue to assist the provost in various academic initiative projects related to curriculum development and related tasks.

“Dr. Madsen’s service to Midwestern Seminary over the past 20-plus years has been invaluable to this institution,” Allen said. “He possesses incredible intellect and yet has a heart for preparing students to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These traits, in addition to his oversight of multiple academic departments within our seminary and college over the years, will serve him well in leading our doctoral program to even greater success in the future.”

Harrison, who has administrated and taught courses at Midwestern Seminary for more than 16 years, will transition to the role of dean of academic strategy and institutional effectiveness.

While maintaining his supervisory responsibility over the dean of Asian Studies, the dean of online studies, and now the new dean of doctoral studies, and the continued supervision of all non-English language programs, Allen said this new role would allow Harrison to give more focus to aiding the provost with academic strategy and innovation initiatives as well as providing increased oversight to all areas of institutional effectiveness.

“Dr. Harrison has already been leading the areas of academic strategy and institutional effectiveness with excellence for a number of years,” Allen said. “He is a creative, outside-the-box thinker, and this move will enable him to devote more time to thinking through strategies that will continue to move Midwestern Seminary forward as a leader in theological education for the Southern Baptist Convention and greater evangelicalism.”

Yeats, who has served at Midwestern Seminary for six years and in his current role as dean of students for two years, adds the component of student success and retention to his responsibilities.

Allen noted that this change reflects Yeats’ acquiring the supervisory responsibility of the institution’s library to complement his current oversight of the registrar’s office, as both are academic support programs that aid in student success.

Further, this change acknowledges Yeats’ current role of coordinating student success and retention initiatives in conjunction with other deans and departments at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College. He will also continue to assist the provost in specific academic support projects.

Allen praised Yeats’ abilities to adapt new roles saying, “Dr. Yeats continues to demonstrate an ability to wear many different institutional hats, all with excellence. The departments he oversees flourish, as does our institution as a whole. We’re grateful to him for his fine efforts as dean of students, which he handles adeptly with grace and wisdom. By adding the library and student success elements under his purview, I am confident these moves will greatly benefit our faculty, staff and students.”

Midwestern Seminary provost Jason Duesing, who will directly supervise each of these men, said, “I am grateful for these men and the way God has uniquely crafted their skills to aid in the work of Midwestern for the church. It is a sign of institutional health to make these kinds of moves internally and to have a net result of the overall strengthening of our programs. That, and the fact that they all first love students and love to serve students, makes working with them in these new roles an even greater joy.”

With Madsen’s transition, Midwestern Seminary will now start a search for the dean of graduate studies position. The person filling this position will assist the president and provost in the innovation and promotion of all graduate programs and will work with the admissions office and institutional relations for the enrollment management strategy and goal achievement of all graduate programs. Until the position is filled, Madsen will continue to serve as acting dean of graduate studies.

More information about the search for this position can be found by clicking on https://www.mbts.edu/about/employment/.

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  • SBC Seminary Staff