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SBC DIGEST: Diversity key goal for GuideStone, Gateway to hold in-person classes in fall, Putman joins Williams Baptist University

Ensuring diversity, quality key goal for GuideStone
By Roy Hayhurst

DALLAS (BP) — Kasan Boyd is no stranger to GuideStone’s employees and leadership. A 14-year veteran of GuideStone, Boyd knows the organization’s needs thoroughly.

In her newest role as director of inclusion & diversity, she’ll lead GuideStone’s efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce.

“I believe my purpose in life is to help people,” Boyd said. “In this day and time we all need help in understanding what is needed to eradicate these deep-rooted injustices that we see in our country and how those play out in our everyday lives. When I was approached about leading inclusion and diversity efforts at GuideStone, I saw this as the opportunity to help GuideStone show the world what it truly means to walk out Romans 12:5–8, and I knew this was God’s hand at work.”

O.S. Hawkins, GuideStone’s president, said the ministry strives to reflect the ethnic diversity of the Southern Baptist Convention and recognizes the inherent strength of a diverse workplace. The ministry’s recruiting efforts seek an ethnically diverse team through visits to college career fairs, the career website and other recruiting materials.

At the start of 2020, non-Anglo employees accounted for 17.9 percent of GuideStone employees, up from 9.8 percent at the beginning of this millennium.

“One would think that after two millennia, the words of James 2:1–13 have become optional choices instead of principles for living in Christ,” Hawkins said. “Sadly, as the events of 2020 remind us, favoritism and its close cousin racism are alive and continue to plague our nation, its institutions, and even the last place we should ever see racism, some churches. It should not be so. At GuideStone, we are working daily to ensure it is not true in our offices, and we could not be more thrilled that Kasan has taken on the task of helping us build a more diverse workforce.”

A University of Texas graduate and Fort Worth native, Boyd is well-acquainted with GuideStone’s ministry and business needs, having spent eight years as a corporate trainer and senior corporate trainer before joining the Human Resources team almost six years ago. In Human Resources, Boyd distinguished herself by partnering with different business divisions, providing employee development and coaching.

“Now is our opportunity to show the world God’s vision for inclusion and diversity — what conversations, actions and behaviors should look like,” she said. “This type of culture allows employers to be relevant and in touch with those they serve. …

“Any employer should seek a more diversified workforce if they’re planning on attracting and retaining the best talent that aligns with the mission and vision of their organization. Statistics show that diverse work environments are more innovative and productive.”

Hawkins underscored the commitment the organization has to diversity and inclusion.

“We recognize we have not yet achieved our goal to reflect the diversity of God’s Kingdom,” Hawkins said. “By His grace, and with the commitment of every senior leader of GuideStone, we will continue to become more like the Kingdom He ransomed from every nation, tribe and tongue.”

Read full report here [1].

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Face-to-face instruction at Gateway to resume in Fall 2020

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) — On-campus instruction, following specific protocols, will resume during the Fall 2020 semester at each of Gateway Seminary’s campuses.

“We are committed to providing the highest level of educational delivery while following necessary health and safety guidelines for students and staff regarding the threat of COVID-19,” said Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary.

Iorg said the school is ready to meet current governmental guidelines on reopening and to implement additional best practices for students in face-to-face classes.

Measures include requiring students and staff to wear facemasks, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently. New custodial practices to decontaminate shared spaces are in place, though some portions of the campus facilities in California will be closed to reduce the need for additional cleaning. The libraries at each campus will offer full services, but with limited study space available each day.

Most on-campus classes will also offer a video access option and some classes will be available exclusively through two distance learning formats — video access or online courses. Additionally, faculty, staff, and students are preparing to quickly shift face-to-face delivery to video access in case local or state governments enact more stringent regulations.

All events organized by outside groups at the Ontario campus have been canceled for the semester. Gateway co-curricular events will be limited to fewer than 25 in-person participants. Chapel services have been canceled at the main campus.

“Our highest priority is to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students at our campuses. We can best do that in these circumstances by limiting other programs and events,” Iorg said. “These are difficult decisions to make, but our mission hasn’t changed — we continue to shape leaders who expand God’s kingdom around the world despite the present difficulties of the Coronavirus pandemic.”

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Putman to join Williams Baptist University

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (BP) — Rhyne Putman, a Williams Baptist University graduate and highly regarded theologian, is returning to his alma mater. Putman is joining the administration and faculty at WBU this fall as associate vice president for academic affairs, director of worldview formation and professor of Christian ministries.

Putman will serve as dean of the faculty, will have primary responsibility for developing and implementing strategies that facilitate worldview formation for the university community and will provide classroom instruction in the areas of Bible, Christian worldview, theology, and other courses related to the department of Christian Ministries.

Putman graduated from Williams in 2005 and went on to earn an M.Div. and Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was hired onto the theology faculty at the seminary and has served there ever since. He has also been the pastor of preaching and vision at First Baptist Church in Kenner, La., since 2017.

During his time at NOBTS, Putman has become one of the foremost theologians in the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a recognized scholar in the areas of theological method and worldview formation. His publications include “When Doctrine Divides the People of God: An Evangelical Approach to Theological Diversity” and “In Defense of Doctrine: Evangelism, Theology, and Scripture.” His forthcoming book, “The Method of Christian Theology,” is scheduled for release in the fall of 2021.

“Dr. Putman has distinguished himself in his field of study, and he has excelled as a professor,” WBU President Stan Norman said. “He is one of the most prominent young theologians in the field today. He is a credit to WBU as an alumnus, and we are blessed to have him and his family return to Williams in this role.

“Rhyne embodies the ideals of a pastor-theologian. He has the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor. He understands the importance of local church pastors having a solid biblical foundation and a Christ-centered theological formation.”

Putman believes it is vitally important to impart spiritual truths at the college stage of students’ lives.

“College students are away from mom and dad for the first time in their lives,” he said. “They are discovering who they are, and this is a crucial time in the formation of their worldview. My hope is to help students find their place in the grand drama of the Gospel. This is God’s world, and no matter what vocation we train for, we all have a pivotal part to play in the story He is telling.”