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Kelley marks 20th anniversary of ministry at New Orleans Seminary

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley Jr. was recognized for 20 years of service at the seminary during the annual convocation Sept. 4 in Roland Q. Leavell Chapel.

Twenty years ago, Kelley walked across the same stage to receive the doctor of theology degree and was immediately asked to join the faculty by Landrum P. Leavell II – the seminary’s president at the time, who wanted Kelley, an experienced evangelist, to help design and implement an evangelism degree program at NOBTS.

Kelley served as the chairman of the division of pastoral ministries and director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health, until 1996 when NOBTS trustees elected him as the seminary’s eighth president.

Under Kelley’s leadership, NOBTS grew from an enrollment of 1,879 in 1996 to 3,321 by the end of the 2002-03 school year. The seminary also launched the New Horizons giving campaign that has raised more than $13.5 million in pledges and gifts to renovate and rebuild the main campus.

The author of numerous articles on the subject of evangelism and church growth, Kelley also penned books such as “How Did They Do It? The Story of Southern Baptist Evangelism” and “Show Me the Way.” Perhaps his best-known work is the Here’s Hope Roman Road Witnessing Tract and the Here’s Hope Training Program, which Kelley developed for the North American Mission Board.

Kelley approaches the subject of evangelism with experience, not theory. During his time as a student at NOBTS, Kelley honed his evangelism skills witnessing in the French Quarter and served as an itinerant evangelist.

The Beaumont, Texas, native also pastored Ireland Baptist Church in Ireland, Texas, and served three years as associate director of the Baptist Student Union at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

“Dr. Chuck Kelley has always been a leader,” said Jerry Barlow, dean of graduate studies at NOBTS. “Our seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention benefit greatly from his visionary leadership.”

During the convocation, six other faculty members were honored for their years of service at NOBTS. Gerald Stevens, professor of New Testament and Greek, was honored for 15 years of ministry on the seminary faculty. Recognized for 10 years on the NOBTS faculty were Harold Mosley, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew; Argile Smith, professor of preaching and chairman of the division of pastoral ministries, Asa R. Sphar III, professor of psychology and counseling; Thomas Strong III, dean of Leavell College at NOBTS and associate professor of New Testament and Greek; and Ken Taylor Jr., professor of urban missions.

“It is a magnificent testimony to the commitment of these men to the Lord that each of them has served the Lord at our seminary for over a decade,” said NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke. “In a day in which the tenure of pastors and church staff is relatively short, these seven faculty members have invested a total of 85 years in training young ministers. Every one of them could have earned a higher salary in local church ministry, but they joyfully and sacrificially followed God’s leadership to the seminary faculty. It is a wonderful testimony of their commitment to the Lord that they have planted their lives in training the next generation of Southern Baptist ministers.”

At this fall’s convocation, the seminary welcomed the following new trustee-elected faculty, who signed the Articles of Religious Belief and the Baptist Faith and Message during the special service: Reggie Ogea, director of the doctor of ministry program and associate professor of leadership and pastoral ministry; Chuck Quarles, associate professor of New Testament and Greek; and Jeff Riley, assistant professor of ethics.

Kelley said the Articles of Religious Belief, developed by the first faculty at NOBTS, provide guidelines for seminary professors. By signing this document and the Baptist Faith and Message, Kelley said the professors were making a “covenant agreement that they will teach, preach and live the Bible.”

“One of our seminary’s core values, and our focal core value for the 2003-2004 academic year, is doctrinal integrity,” Lemke said. “Even many years before the Baptist Faith and Message was written, our faculty affirmed in writing our own confessional statement, the Articles of Religious Belief. All our faculty joyfully and voluntarily sign these two doctrinal confessions as a covenant with Southern Baptists to teach our students with doctrinal integrity.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: PRAYER OF CONSECERATION.