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New Orleans trustees affirm faculty appointments, HVAC project

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Faculty appointments, the affirmation of a $2.2 million project to update heating and cooling, and progress reports on new construction projects highlighted the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustee executive committee meeting June 10.

Seminary President Chuck Kelley also reported that seminary enrollment has continued to increase, with more than 3,500 students enrolled thus far during the current school year.

Kelley announced the presidential appointment of two new faculty members, Rick Byargeon as associate professor of Hebrew and wisdom literature, and Ed Steele, assistant professor of music at Leavell College.

Kelley also announced two appointments to key leadership positions at the seminary: Jerry Barlow as dean of graduate studies and David Meacham as acting director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health. In addition, the seminary trustees voted to extend the election of Donna Peavey as instructor of Christian education at Leavell College.

An experienced pastor and professor, Byargeon comes to NOBTS from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he has served as associate professor of Old Testament since 2001. He taught Old Testament and Hebrew at NOBTS from 1993 to 1999, and has twice served as a visiting lecturer on the mission field at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Singapore.

His local church experience includes pastorates in Louisiana and Texas and interim pastorates in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. He also served on the executive committee of the Louisiana Baptist Convention from 1998 to 1999.

Byargeon earned the Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana College in Pineville, La., and the master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees at Southwestern Seminary.

An accomplished researcher and writer, Byargeon has penned articles for the Biblical Illustrator and the Journal for the Evangelical Theological Society. He also contributed articles to the revised edition of Biblical Hermeneutics, a textbook co-edited by NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke. Byargeon also assisted in the translation of Ecclesiastes for the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

“Rick Byargeon’s return brings more than classroom experience to our faculty,” said Jerry Barlow, the new dean of graduate studies. “His gifts in biblical exegesis and exposition provide a model for our students of how to study and preach the Bible effectively.”

Ed Steele, a May 2003 doctor of musical arts graduate from NOBTS, was appointed to serve as assistant professor of music at Leavell College, the seminary’s undergraduate school. In addition to his doctoral degree, Steele holds a bachelor of music education from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla., and the master of church music degree from Southwestern Seminary.

Steele joins the growing number of nine NOBTS faculty members with significant missions experience with the International Mission Board. The Oklahoma native served for two decades as a music missionary with the IMB, from 1978 until 1998. A gifted composer and musician, Steele served as the music editor and producer for the Baptist Spanish Publishing House in El Paso, Texas, from 1992 until 1998. During his time there, he composed seven music pieces and arranged five others. Steele’s mission assignments also included teaching music at Baptist seminaries in Panama and Mexico and promoting music in Panama and Nicaragua.

“Ed Steele has been a blessing to our students and our faculty,” said Francis Kimmitt, associate dean of Leavell College. “Ed’s heart for worshiping the Lord has encouraged all of us in our daily lives and led us to a deeper walk with the Lord.”

Trustees voted to extend Peavey’s appointment as instructor of Christian education at Leavell College for one year in order to give her time to complete her doctoral studies. Peavey, who holds the Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the master of religious education degree from NOBTS, is currently working toward the doctor of philosophy degree in Christian education at NOBTS.

“Mrs. Donna Peavey is a gifted minister to children and their families,” Kimmitt said. “She has great knowledge and understanding of children and their development, but more importantly Donna has a heart for ministering to children and their families through the education ministry of a local church.”

Barlow, who has served at the seminary since 1996, was appointed dean of graduate studies. He was serving as professor of preaching and pastoral work and as director of the communications center. Through the communications center, Barlow directed television and radio programs produced by the seminary and oversaw the development of numerous NOBTS classrooms with state of the art computer equipment and innovative educational technology.

New Orleans Seminary has three academic deans who work under the supervision of Provost Steve Lemke. As dean of graduate studies, Barlow will oversee the master’s and doctoral programs for the seminary. The other academic deans are Jimmy Dukes, dean of the Extension Center System, who oversees the seminary’s 14 centers throughout the Southeast; and Thomas Strong, dean of Leavell College.

Barlow, a Mississippi native, holds a Bachelor of Science degree from William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the master of divinity and the doctor of theology degrees from New Orleans Seminary.

After serving as pastor of First Baptist Church in Franklinton, La., for 15 years, he returned to New Orleans Seminary in 1996. Barlow recently edited with Joe Cothen a revised edition of “Equipped for Good Work: A Guide for Pastors,” the primary textbook for pastoral ministry courses at the seminary. Barlow has written two other textbooks, “Studying and Serving with Success: Integrating Academics and Ministry,” and “Pastoral Care PM 0351: Study Guide” utilized as a text by Seminary Extension of the Southern Baptist Convention in the area of pastoral ministry.

Barlow was appointed after the departure of Perry Hancock, who served as dean of graduate studies since 2001. Hancock, who joined the faculty in 1993, was named the executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe in May.

Meacham, professor of church planting and director of the Cecil B. Day Center for Church Planting, holds the master of theology degree and the doctor of ministry degree from NOBTS. He came to NOBTS in 2001 to lead the school’s Nehemiah Project for church planting, a joint ministry with the North American Mission Board.

From 1992 until 2001 Meacham served as executive-director of the Nevada Baptist Convention and editor of The Nevada Baptist. Before that, he was the director of missions in Las Vegas for nine years. He also served as pastor at two churches in California and worked as the church extension director for the Puget Sound Baptist Association in Seattle, Wash.

The Leavell Center, named after NOBTS President Emeritus Landrum P. Leavell II, uses the latest U.S. Census data to prepare detailed demographic studies for churches. The center’s staff works with the churches to develop evangelism strategies tailored for individual communities to help churches become more evangelistic and learn to grow.

“We are excited to see what God can do through the combined resources of the Leavell Center with the church planting efforts of the Nehemiah Project and the Day Center for Church Planting,” Lemke said.

The trustee executive committee affirmed a $2.2 million heating, ventilation and air conditioning project for campus buildings. The HVAC upgrade will give increased control over the system and will save energy and increase cost efficiency for the seminary.

The trustees were briefed on the progress of two major construction projects approved at the spring trustee meeting. The Farnsworth Apartment Complex renovation and the Providence Guest House construction project are well underway and are on schedule to be completed in December. The Farnsworth apartments will offer newly renovated three and four bedroom apartments for seminary student families. The renovated Providence Guest House will offer more attractive housing for seminary extension center students who come to the campus for intensive courses, as well as provide housing for Senior Adult MissionLab.

These major renovations have been made possible because of the success of the New Horizons Capital Campaign. To date, $13.4 million has been pledged during the first phase of the campaign. Charles Harvey, Jr., vice president for development, announced that $8.4 million has been received.