NEW ORLEANS (BP) — God’s holiness, sovereignty and glory were underscored to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary graduates for their new chapters in ministry by President Chuck Kelley during commencement May 13.
“You are to so live your lives that those who see you will give glory to God because of the way you are living,” Kelley exhorted the seminary’s 144 graduates.
Focusing on God’s nature with a walk through Scripture, Kelley began with John 1 and Isaiah 6 to show God’s holiness; Psalm 139 to demonstrate God’s sovereignty; and Revelation 5 to remind that glory belongs to Christ.
Kelley concluded by encouraging graduates to let Scripture animate their lives and ministries, saying, “Leave with His Word in your heart, in your mind, and coming out of your mouth.”
Steve Lemke was recognized for his 20 years of service in his final graduation as provost, receiving a standing ovation. He will transition to the role of vice president for institutional assessment Aug. 1 and was named provost emeritus.
“I pray regularly for you,” Lemke told the graduates. “I pray that God will enable you to be strong and powerful in your ministry and for the Kingdom, that God will use you in a powerful way.”
Lemke looked back to a similar role his father played when, as Louisiana Tech’s graduation marshal, his father led the procession into the commencement ceremonies. Following in a similar role as his father, Lemke said, made his graduation duty at NOBTS “very special for me.”
Kelley, praising Lemke for his service, said that under Lemke’s leadership NOBTS had experienced “unprecedented enrollment,” added degree programs and expanded the accessibility of theological education. Lemke is the best qualified candidate to now move into the position of overseeing the seminary’s accreditation, Kelley said.
Paul Gregoire, the seminary’s registrar, was recognized for 30 years of service, marking his 105th graduation to superintend.
“Graduation would not take place without him,” Lemke said of Gregoire.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary conferred 113 master’s degrees — including 68 M.Div. degrees, 29 with specializations — and 31 doctorates — four Ph.D., 21 D.Min. and five D.Ed.Min degrees and one doctor of musical arts. Sixty-eight M.Div. degrees, 29 with specializations, were among the conferred.
NOBTS/Leavell College granted 63 bachelor degrees, including bachelor of arts in Christian ministry degrees to nine Louisiana State Penitentiary inmates at Angola, one at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel and two at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Ga.
The Lockman Foundation presented each graduate and awardee with a copy of the New American Standard Bible.