News Articles

SBC DIGEST: New SBTS VP; New campus pastor at TMU; West Virginia Baptists pray and fast

O’Neill appointed Southern Seminary VP for accounting and finance
By Forrest Strickland

LOUISVILLE, K.Y. (BP) — Michael O’Neill has been appointed vice president for accounting and finance at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. O’Neill has extensive experience in the field of finance and has worked at Southern Seminary for more than a decade.

Prior to this announcement, O’Neill, who is a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner for the state of Kentucky, served as assistant vice president for accounting and controller for the last 13 years, supervising all accounting functions for the seminary.

“Michael O’Neill is a man of amazing ability and demonstrated conviction,” Al Mohler, SBTS president, said in a statement. “He is already a key member of the Southern Seminary leadership team, and I really look forward to his leadership in this new position. Throughout the years, I have learned that Michael O’Neill is a man to be trusted, relied upon, and listened to. For his service, I am very thankful and his assumption of these new responsibilities. It is a great day for Southern Seminary.”

“I love Southern, and I am personally committed to Southern’s mission,” O’Neill said. “The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to use my training and experience to serve behind the scenes to enable the best faculty in the world to fulfill their calling to train, educate, and prepare ministers of the gospel for more faithful service.”

Before starting his master of divinity degree program at Southern Seminary in 2006, O’Neill served as a bi-vocational church planter in Indianapolis, working in a number of accounting roles at secular and Christian organizations.

“Michael O’Neill is one of the unsung heroes of Southern Seminary,” said Craig Parker, senior vice president of institutional administration. “He is the most outstanding accounting professional I have ever known, but that is not the most important thing you need to know about Michael.

“O’Neill has spent the last thirteen years dedicated to the financial health of Southern, and he sees this new role as an extension of that service.”

O’Neill earned his bachelor of science in business with a concentration in accounting from Indiana University in 1987. O’Neill and his wife, Leia, have been married for 36 years and have three daughters.


Truett McConnell University appoints former GBC president as campus pastor/BCM director
By Jenny Gregory

CLEVELAND (BP) — Truett McConnell University (TMU) has announced the appointment of evangelist and longtime Georgia Baptist pastor Bucky Kennedy as campus pastor/Baptist Collegiate Ministries director to begin Spring semester 2020.

“Our TMU family recognized earlier this academic year the incredible need of a campus pastor,” said TMU President Emir Caner. “The position will reach those on campus — staff and students — who need a word of encouragement and spiritual counsel.”

Since 1983, Kennedy has been involved in global, national, state and local ministries from youth ministry to senior church pastor to evangelism and global missions. His involvement with the Southern Baptist Convention afforded him the opportunity to serve on numerous committees and as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention from 2008-2009.

In 2016, Kennedy founded Bucky Kennedy Ministries, an evangelical organization. Kennedy has also served on TMU’s Board of Trustees and spoken numerous times for the university’s weekly chapel service.

“I’m confident that the administration, faculty and staff of TMU share my burden for the next generation,” said Kennedy. “I’m asking God to raise up an army of young men and women to use in ministry positions and marketplace missionaries to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in the way they live and the way they talk.”

President Caner expressed the university’s appreciation for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board as they fund the new position. “The kindness of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in funding this position will bless our campus through a healthier environment, stronger retention, and more men and women coming to faith in Christ.”

“I believe being a part of what God is doing at Truett McConnell excites me,” said Kennedy. “I pray God will raise up a generation from the TMU student body that will love Jesus deeply, obey Him completely, and defend the faith fearlessly.”


Call to prayer and fasting promoted by West Virginia Baptist interim director
By WVCSC and BP staff

SCOTT DEPOT, W.Va. (BP) — West Virginia Baptists are in the middle of their search for a new executive director.

As the convention committee seeks to fill this role, interim director Cledith Campell has issued a call to prayer and fasting in order to focus on the mission ahead.

“We desire a spiritual awakening in West Virginia that only God can stir through God’s people repenting, re-centering themselves on the Gospel, and interceding through prayer,” Campell said.

The call includes fasting and praying on the first Tuesday of each month as well as implementing concerts of prayer once a month in every church and association.

Campell challenged all West Virginia pastors, associational leaders and executive board members to join in on the call.

The prayer and fasting began January 7, 2020, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and will continue through the remainder of the year.

The search for a new executive director came after the convention announced in July of 2019 that Bill Hernard, executive director-treasurer since 2015, had stepped down in order to pastor First Baptist Church in Athens, Tenn.

The 15-person search committee stopped accepting applications for the position October 31, 2019.

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  • SBTS, TMU, WVCSB and BP Staff