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FROM THE SEMINARIES: MBTS names James Kragenbring institutional administration VP; SBTS Press releases ‘Essential Reading on Preaching’

In today’s From the Seminaries: Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

MBTS names James Kragenbring institutional administration VP

By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason K. Allen announced the appointment of a new vice president of institutional administration July 11.

James Kragenbring, formerly president and chief investment officer of Aquifer Capital, LLC, in Phoenix, accepted the position overseeing all business and financial services, human resources, dining services, campus operations, information technology, major seminary projects, and other seminary programs and efforts.

“Midwestern Seminary is delighted to welcome Jim Kragenbring as our new vice president for Institutional Administration,” Allen said. “Jim has deep roots in the state of Missouri, has a life-long commitment to the Southern Baptist Convention, and is one who has supported and contributed much to Southern Baptist theological education. What is more, Jim is an alumnus of Midwestern Seminary and also a personal friend to many of us at this institution.”

Allen also noted that Kragenbring’s professional experience will enable him to make an inestimable contribution as he leads this expansive division within Midwestern Seminary saying, “The institution’s growth these past few years has enabled us to bring greater focus on our endowment. Jim’s significant experience in the investment world will strengthen us all the more.

“We are grateful for the way God has prepared Jim through previous vocational responsibilities, through his up-close knowledge of Midwestern Seminary, and through his personal acumen to undertake this assignment. We look forward to God using Mr. Kragenbring to help us facilitate the seminary’s next level of growth and institutional health,” Allen added.

Of being appointed to the position, Kragenbring said, “It will be a great joy and tremendous privilege to serve alongside the gifted scholars and leaders God has drawn to Midwestern Seminary. I am excited to return to my home state of Missouri and to join Midwestern Seminary in training men and women for the church.”

Kragenbring, who graduated with a finance degree from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis and earned a Master of Theological Studies from Midwestern Seminary, noted that he sees a bright future for the school and is eager to get involved in the seminary community.

The position opened for Kragenbring’s arrival as current VP of Institutional Administration, Gary Crutcher, announced his retirement plans after serving in the position since August 2014.

Allen praised Crutcher for his time serving in the position, noting that Crutcher will take on a part-time role for the next several months as Kragenbring transitions into the position.

“Gary Crutcher has faithfully and effectively carried out his responsibilities at Midwestern Seminary while serving as vice president for institutional administration these past three years,” Allen said.

“Mr. Crutcher is a valued colleague, a voice of wisdom, and has become a dear friend to me. We rejoice with him, as he and Nancy venture into the next phase of life and ministry that the Lord has planned for them.”

Kragenbring has been active in the investment management industry for more than 20 years, having managed portfolios of some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated endowments, foundations, pension plans, insurance companies, and multinational corporations. In 2008, he founded Aquifer Capital, LLC, and has led the firm since that time.

Kragenbring will begin his responsibilities at Midwestern Seminary Aug. 1, and after a season of transition, will begin leading the division in mid-September.

T. Patrick Hudson is executive assistant to the president at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


SBTS Press releases ‘Essential Reading on Preaching’

By Andrew J.W. Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (BP) — Published the same year as the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a new book from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Press focuses on one of its most enduring legacies: the faithful proclamation of the Word of God. “Essential Reading on Preaching,” released June 12, encourages and equips pastors toward more fruitful preaching ministries.

Drawn from Southern Equip, a service from Southern Seminary that extends faculty training beyond the classroom, the book is a collection of articles about preaching written by SBTS faculty and instructors. In its first chapter, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. describes the urgent problem facing modern Christianity: that secular pluralism has driven the church to the margins of cultural discourse. Its only way to survive, according to Mohler, is the unapologetic exposition of Scripture.

“By preaching the church expands and by preaching the church remains faithful in a hostile culture,” Mohler writes. “In a secular age, we can no longer rely on the luxury of having other cultural voices do the work of instilling our people with a Christian worldview. The plausibility structures of the culture now work at crosscurrents to the message we preach on Sunday mornings.”

“Essential Reading on Preaching” not only features big-picture explanations of the need for exposition (“Expository ministry: A comprehensive vision” by Dan Dumas), but also practical guidance for pastors preaching every Sunday (“5 ways to fight a ‘preaching hangover'” by Brian Croft) and studies of great preachers from the history of the church (chapters about John Owen and John Broadus from Michael A.G. Haykin and Tom J. Nettles, respectively). The book also includes resources for further reading on preaching.

Hershael W. York, Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching, contributed two chapters to the collection, including his popular article “Why some preachers get better and others don’t.” York, who also pastors Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky., challenges aspiring preachers to be sure of their calling, which gives them a burning conviction that can characterize their pulpit ministry, along with a teachable and sacrificial spirit that allows them to improve their craft.

“If someone has a burning calling, a teachable spirit, a passionate heart, and a reckless abandon to pay the price to preach well, then not even the limitation of their own background, personality, or natural talents will keep them from preaching the Word of God with power,” York writes.

Andrew J.W. Smith writes for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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