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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Lyon named VP for NOBTS enrollment; Pace & Ronjour Locke assume new SEBTS posts; SBTS adds Westerholm in music & worship

Larry Lyon named NOBTS VP of enrollment

By Marilyn Stewart

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Jamie Dew named today (June 19) Larry Lyon as vice president of enrollment, beginning July 1.

Lyon, who has served as director of enrollment at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for eight years, steps into a new position approved by the NOBTS trustees executive committee in their regularly scheduled meeting June 4.

Noting that enrollment grew significantly at Southeastern during Lyon’s tenure there, Dew said Lyon is “a gifted administrator with proven abilities in the areas of recruiting, retention and completion” and “a proven leader with exceptional strategic instinct and training. I’m excited to see him develop an efficient and effective enrollment strategy for NOBTS.”

The announcement is Dew’s first official action since his election as NOBTS president by the full board of trustees June 5. President Emeritus Chuck Kelley retires July 31 after leading the seminary for 23 years.

According to the job description approved by trustees, the vice president for enrollment, as chief strategist and catalyst for all enrollment-related matters, will “drive and direct the institutional strategy” for maximum efficiency and enrollment.

Lyon will oversee student recruitment and enlistment, student admissions, registrar services, student retention and completion, financial aid, advising and student success at both the graduate and undergraduate levels — duties that NOBTS Provost Norris Grubbs said “will enable us to better serve our students and prospective students.”

Lyon, a native of Dacula, Ga., holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in theological studies with a concentration in Christian ethics from Southeastern and an undergraduate degree from Shorter University in Georgia.

He and his wife Stephanie have three daughters, Anna Kate, 14, Abby, 11, and Maggie, 5.

“I am humbled and honored to join the NOBTS community and the new vision of Dr. Dew as president,” Lyon said. “I believe the Lord is preparing this school to equip the next generation of those answering God’s call.”

Lyon pointed to New Orleans’ position as a “strategic city” for training in ministry and a proving ground for effective Christ-honoring ministry.

“The task of the Great Commission is big, and my prayer is that our students will continue to step up and go out to carry the Gospel to their neighbors and to the ends of the earth,” Lyon said. My family believes that God has called us to serve this school and this city. We are ready to get started.”


SEBTS’ Scott Pace, Ronjour Locke assume new posts

By Lauren Pratt

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has named Scott Pace as dean of The College at Southeastern and Ronjour Locke as director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership.

Pace succeeds Jamie Dew, who was elected as president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary June 5; Locke will succeed Pace as the center’s director.

Pace is “the perfect choice to continue the exciting growth of our college,” SEBTS President Danny Akin said. “He is an outstanding preacher and teacher, and he has already demonstrated his superb administrative skills in leading our Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership.”

Of Locke, Chuck Lawless, SEBTS vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers, said he first met Locke when he was a pastor “and I quickly learned of his passion for the local church.” Lawless, who also serves as dean of graduate studies and professor of evangelism and missions, said Locke seeks “to walk beside pastors in their work, and he’s committed to helping SEBTS equip the next generation of shepherds.”

Scott Pace

Pace, as director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership, helped oversee the Hunt Scholars Program that allows students to receive both their bachelor’s and M.Div. in pastoral ministry in five years. Pace will continue to oversee the program as dean of the college.

Pace was installed in the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching in August 2018 and elected by trustees to the faculty as associate professor of pastoral ministry and preaching in April 2019.

Pace is a two-time graduate of Southeastern, having received an M.Div. in 2002 and a Ph.D. in applied theology in 2007; he also holds an undergraduate accounting degree from North Carolina State University.

“I am humbled by the tremendous privilege and opportunity to serve as the next dean of The College at Southeastern,” said Pace, who has served in pastoral ministry since 2000 and academic administration since 2009. “The Southeastern community has been part of our extended family for almost 20 years, and I could not be more excited to embrace this new role.”

Before coming to SEBTS, Pace taught for nine years at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, where he served as associate professor of applied ministry and the Hughes chair of Christian ministry as well as administrative chair for the Christian and cross-cultural ministry department.

In pastoral ministry, Pace has served churches in Oklahoma, Florida and North Carolina since 2000. He was interim pastor at a number of churches in Oklahoma between 2011-2018, including First Southern Baptist Church in Del City twice. He served as teaching pastor and administrator at First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., from 2006-2009.

Pace is the author of “Preaching by the Book: Developing and Delivering Text-Driven Sermons” and coauthor of numerous others, including “Pastoral Theology: Theological Foundations for Who a Pastor Is and What a Pastor Does” with Daniel Akin and “Student Ministry by the Book” with Ed Newton.

Pace and his wife Dana have four children, Gracelyn, Tyler, Tessa and Cassie.

“My prayer,” Pace said, “is that The College at Southeastern will continue to produce graduates who are firmly grounded in the truth, thoroughly trained in their field, and spiritually prepared to engage the world on mission for Christ.”

Ronjour Locke

Locke has served as the preaching center’s associate director and an instructor of preaching and urban ministry since coming to Southeastern in January 2018. He was pastor of First Baptist Church in Brooklyn (FBC), a neighborhood within Baltimore, Md., from 2012-2018, leading the church to adopt an elder-led polity, form a stronger foundation for church membership and serve the Brooklyn community by partnering with organizations to fight sex trafficking.

Locke was a Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee member for the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network and a leadership team member for the Baltimore Baptist Association.

He currently is pursuing a Ph.D. at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., previously receiving an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and an undergraduate degree in pastoral ministry from Lancaster Bible College in Lanham, Md.

After college, Locke taught Bible at Clinton Christian School in Marlboro, Md., before becoming associate pastor of youth and Christian education at Hanover Evangelical Free Church, where he served from 2006-2007.

“It’s an incredible honor to lead the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership,” Locke said. “Under previous leaders, most recently Drs. Jim Shaddix and Scott Pace, our center has been available to provide resources and encouragement that can help our pastors stay faithful to God’s call and His people over the long haul. It’s my joy to serve both current and future pastors in this way.”

Locke and his wife Anne have four children, Joshua, Noah, Mikaiya and Naomi.


Theologian/worship pastor Westerholm joins SBTS faculty

By SBTS Communications Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Theologian and worship pastor Matthew Westerholm is joining Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as associate professor of church music and worship in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry.

Westerholm also will serve as executive director of Southern’s Institute for Biblical Worship and provide vision for the seminary’s musical groups.

“The addition of Matthew Westerholm to our faculty is remarkable good news — that a man of his ability, passion and experience will be in the classroom shaping the next generation of godly worship leaders for our churches,” SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said today (June 19). “He is both a theologian and a musician and his vast experience will be invaluable to our students. I love his heart for worship that exults in the supremacy of God and his theology of music in service to the church.”

Westerholm has been the pastor for music and worship at the downtown campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis the last five years, previously serving as worship pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Ill., for a decade.

He also has been assistant professor of music and worship at Bethlehem College and Seminary, having previously directed the worship arts program at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., and served as dean of chapel. In a similar role at Southern, he will plan and organize music for the seminary’s chapel services.

Westerholm holds a Ph.D. in Christian worship from Southern Seminary, a master of arts in systematic theology from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree in church music from Trinity International University.

His academic work has appeared in publications like Themelios and Puritan Reformed Journal, and he has presented at such organizations as the Evangelical Theological Society, The Gospel Coalition and Doxology & Theology. His popular writing has appeared on Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition websites.

As noted Southern Provost Matthew Hall, Westerholm is “a proven and gifted pastor, musician and theologian with broad influence in the field of biblical worship.”

“It’s an amazing privilege to join the faculty at Southern Seminary,” Westerholm said. “I am convinced that people are starving for the greatness of God, and I think corporate worship in the local church is one of the places where needy people experience the supremacy of God and find what their hearts have been built for.”

Southern is “profoundly guided by its convictional identity,” Westerholm said in looking forward “to the opportunity to impact students with the profound truth of the Bible.”

Westerholm and his wife Lisa have three sons.

Also joining the seminary’s faculty in the department of biblical worship is Matt Boswell, founding pastor of the Trails Church in Prosper, Texas, and former worship pastor at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas, and Fellowship of the Parks in Keller, Texas (2002-2011). Boswell also is the founder of the Doxology & Theology ministry for encouraging the practice of Gospel-centered worship.

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  • SBC Seminary Staff