FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Two new faculty members have been appointed to the Terry School of Educational Ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Adam W. Greenway announced Monday (July 29). Michael S. Wilder and Chris Shirley will serve as professors of educational ministries. In addition, Wilder will serve as interim dean of the school, effective Aug. 1.
“I am excited and thankful that Michael Wilder and Chris Shirley are joining our faculty at Southwestern Seminary as part of our Terry School of Educational Ministries,” Greenway said.
“I have previously served for many years with Dr. Wilder, and I know firsthand his deep love for training leaders for the diverse callings of local church ministry,” he noted. “I have the greatest confidence that under his leadership, our Terry School is going to experience significant growth and expand its Kingdom impact. In addition, welcoming Dr. Shirley ‘home to the Dome’ is the right move with the right man at the right time. I know that he will bring fresh perspectives to a familiar place as he serves the Terry School in both teaching and administrative responsibilities.”
Wilder comes to Southwestern Seminary with many years of vocational, administrative, and leadership experience. He most recently served as the J.M. Frost Professor of Leadership and Discipleship, and associate vice president for doctoral studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Under Wilder’s leadership, the doctor of ministry (D.Min.) and doctor of educational ministry (D.Ed.Min.) programs have grown by a combined 42 percent. In particular, the D.Ed.Min. program has grown over that time from 78 graduates to an estimated 191, a 145 percent increase. Wilder has also served as the senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Floyds Knobs, Ind.
“I am excited about partnering with fellow faculty members and local churches as we seek to fulfill the vision of L.R. Scarborough and J.M. Price in the Terry School of Educational Ministries,” Wilder said. “We will equip Great Commission ministers who counsel, disciple, lead and teach with excellence.
“After 30 years of serving the local church, I find myself ever more convinced that ministries marked by healthy discipleship experience greater Kingdom fruitfulness,” he noted. “For this reason, I am committed to equipping the next generation of men and women who will serve in the churches’ discipleship and teaching ministries.”
Prior to his role at Southern Seminary, Wilder served as a youth minister in Georgia for 12 years, pastored a Kentucky church for three years, and taught at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as an adjunct faculty member for three years.
A Georgia native, Wilder obtained his bachelor of business administration degree from Clayton State College and his master of divinity degree from New Orleans Seminary. He later earned a Ph.D. from Southern Seminary.
Wilder will succeed Jack Terry, who has served as interim dean since August 2018 and will continue to serve as special assistant to the president. Terry, for whom the Terry School of Educational Ministries is named, joined the Southwestern Seminary faculty in 1969 and served as dean of the School of Religious Education from 1973-1995 and then as vice president for Institutional Advancement from 1995-2005.
Chris Shirley returns to Southwestern Seminary
For Chris Shirley, who most recently served as associate professor of discipleship at Dallas Baptist University, this appointment is a return to the seminary family, having previously served as an assistant professor at Southwestern in the areas of discipleship and family ministry.
Shirley earned both his master of arts in Christian Education (1994) and Ph.D. (2002) from Southwestern. Aside from his teaching roles in higher education, Shirley also has extensive experience in the local church in the areas of education and discipleship, and he served for a time as associate director of camps at Ridgecrest in North Carolina.
“Christian Education is a 2 Timothy 2:2 ministry of the church (‘teaching others to teach others’) with a Great Commission focus (‘teaching them to obey’),” Shirley said.
“The disciple-making ministry of the church depends on training disciples who know why they believe what they believe and are trained to teach that knowledge to others,” he said. “This ministry must survive and thrive, and the Terry School is designed to help make that happen for the sake of Christ and the church.”