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FROM THE SEMINARIES: NOBTS convocation, SWBTS evangelism

In today’s From the Seminaries:
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kelley: ‘Talk about Jesus, see what God will do’

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — “Where do people hear you talk about Jesus?” Chuck Kelley asked students and faculty at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s convocation Sept. 13.

Drawing from Philippians 1:12, Kelley described the apostle Paul as a “master of Gospel conversations” who talked about Jesus “always, and in all places.” Citing him as the example to follow, Paul talked to others about Christ wherever he was — even in prison, Kelley said.

“Where do people hear you talk about Jesus?” Kelley asked. “Is it in the grocery store? Is it over coffee or in any other casual settings?”

Kelley acknowledged that students come to seminary to learn to expound God’s Word but cautioned them that preaching alone is not enough, noting that a strategy for reaching those outside the church walls is necessary.

“How can you mobilize your congregation to talk about Christ in their homes, at work and with their friends?” Kelley asked. “By letting them see you talk about Jesus everywhere and at any time.”

Kelley concluded by saying that his prayer this year is that the seminary would be a place that encourages and celebrates Gospel conversations.

“Start conversations about Jesus,” Kelley said, “and see what God does.”

Kelley recognized six faculty members for their years of service during convocation marking the start of the academic year.

Dennis Cole, professor of Old Testament and archaeology, was honored for 30 years of service; Charlie Ray, professor of New Testament and Greek, 25 years; Jerry Barlow, professor of preaching and pastoral work, and Michael Sharp, professor of worship ministries, 20 years; and William Day, professor of evangelism and church health, and Archie England, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, 15 years.

New faculty members signed the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and continued the tradition of signing the NOBTS Articles of Religious Belief, a document drafted by the NOBTS faculty soon after the seminary’s founding nearly 100 years ago and prior to the development of the first Baptist Faith and Message in 1925.

Signing the documents were Jeffrey Farmer, associate professor of church ministry and evangelism in NOBTS’ Leavell College; Beth Masters, assistant professor of collegiate ministry, ministry-based faculty; Karla McGehee, instructor of Christian education, Leavell College; David Odom, associate professor of student ministry; and Brooke Osborn, assistant professor of psychology and counseling, Leavell College.

During the semester, the seminary will be receiving an evaluation committee from the Association of Theological Schools Commission on Accrediting, Oct. 17-20, in connection to an accreditation review conducted every 10 years.

Individuals are invited to make comment in writing to the school and/or to the commission concerning NOBTS’ qualifications for accreditation, whether affirmations or concerns.

Comments may be sent to:

Dr. Jimmy Dukes
Director of Accreditation and Assessment
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
3939 Gentilly Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70126
[email protected]

Comments directly to the ATS Commission on Accrediting should be sent to:

Dr. Tom Tanner
Director, Accreditation and Evaluation
Association of Theological Schools
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1110
[email protected]

Landscaping duo led to the Lord

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Christian Stringer and Analisa Gonzales, as part of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s “Everyday Evangelism” initiative, knocked on several doors in one Fort Worth neighborhood and engaged in a few short conversations Sept. 8. But initially, none involved Gospel presentations.

As Stringer and Gonzales made their way back to meet up with another team of student evangelists, they noticed a man on a riding lawn mower in the back of a trailer.

“It looked like he had just finished his yardwork and was about to roll out with his fellow landscaping guys,” Stringer, a master of divinity student, said.

Gonzales, a new biblical counseling master’s degree student, spoke up. “Should we go talk to that guy?” she asked.

The pair then approached the man, who had been joined by another landscaper in “tying things down and preparing to hit the road.” Stringer introduced himself and Gonzales to the two men and asked if they needed prayer for anything.

“That’s one of my favorite ways to start a Gospel conversation,” Stringer said, “because it shows them that we care.” Both men requested that the student evangelists pray for their families. Stringer then asked if the men knew where they would spend eternity when they died.

“Both said heaven, but one couldn’t give a reason why he should get in, and the other said he had a good heart and did good things for others,” Stringer recounted. The students utilized the opportunity to share the Gospel, telling of man’s need for salvation and the hope and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.

Stringer and Gonzales concluded with a call to repentance, and both men responded. Stringer led them in prayer, gaining two new brothers in Christ.

In collecting contact information, the Southwestern evangelists learned that the man they initially saw on the lawn mower is named Stephan and the other is named Miguel. In order to equip the new believers with as much as they could in their immediate circumstances, the students wanted to give each a Bible, but alas, they only had one. Stringer asked who wanted to have a Bible first, and Stephan excitedly said, “I do!”

Stringer encouraged him to begin his Bible study in the book of John, reading a chapter a day and praying that God would speak to him through the biblical text, “because He will speak to us and grow us through His Word.” Fortunately, Gonzales had a copy of the Gospel of John, which she gave to Miguel, and so he was encouraged to begin the same study plan. (The evangelists also assured him they would later get him a Bible.)

“It was a team effort,” Stringer said of the experience. “I was able to lead the conversation, but the conversation would have never happened if Analisa hadn’t mentioned for us to talk to them.”

Another Southwestern team led a father and son to Christ on Sept. 1.

M.Div. student Jenny Kim led the son to Christ in their door-to-door outreach while M.Div. student Bryant McRae led the father to Christ.

“[There is] nothing quite as special as a father and son being born again on the same day,” McRae said, while Kim rejoiced, “Praise God, who can do what men cannot do yet by grace chooses to use us to share the Gospel with others and allows us to have the joy of witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit, who is mighty to save.”

To learn more about Southwestern’s Everyday Evangelism opportunities, visit swbts.edu/everydayevangelism.

    About the Author

  • SBC Seminary & BP Staff

    Cassity Potter writes for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, the SBC’s news service; Alex Sibley writes for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and S. Craig Sanders writes for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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