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SBTS: Worship leadership training moves forward; …

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–The training of worship leaders continues to evolve as Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, named Scott Connell as an instructor of music and worship leadership.

“Connell brings to Boyce College the kind of experience we need to train the next generation of worship leaders,” said Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College and associate professor of New Testament.

“Over the years of his ministry, Connell has served both as worship leader and as senior pastor, and his ministry demonstrates the conviction that worship leadership is a part of the teaching ministry of the church. Thus he shares our commitment to music ministry as pastoral ministry. He embodies the leadership and expertise that we want to see reproduced in our graduates.”

Randy Stinson, dean of the school of church ministries at Southern Seminary, said Connell represents the defining principles that Boyce College and Southern Seminary seek to instill in students.

“He embodies the threefold commitment of the school of church ministries in the areas of biblical worship, family discipleship and pastoral leadership,” Stinson said. “He is a pastor who leads worship, not a mere church musician, which is central to our new direction.”

Connell expressed similar enthusiasm for the opportunity “to advance the next generation of pastors, and I want to make sure that they’re trained well, whether it’s teaching ministry, music ministry, youth ministry or whatever.”

Southern’s hiring of Connell comes as the seminary implements its vision to train well-rounded and theologically equipped worship pastors. In 2009, Southern Seminary established the school of church ministries by merging the school of church music and the school of leadership and church ministry. This took place after seminary leadership discovered that 80 percent of music ministers in Southern Baptist churches serve in dual roles such as in youth and children’s ministry.

Alongside embodying a commitment to the school of church ministries’ vision for pastoral leadership, Connell said he hopes to “contribute to a process that encourages well-rounded yet theologically trained worship pastors. Students should leave knowing that the Gospel is priority, that the brilliance and glory of God is priority, and also [they should] be able to rightly handle the Word of God. Those three prongs are critical to being an effective worship pastor. Then we can add to those the priority of being musically equipped,” Connell said.

“My life is a testimony as to why the program [at SBTS] is the way to [train worship pastors] because I found myself trying to do things that I was ill-equipped to do,” Connell said.

“I feel like if [worship pastors] do not understand the Scriptures thoroughly enough to be able to plan worship from a truly pastoral perspective, they’re not being well-equipped. It’s fine to be trained musically — in fact, it’s critical to be trained musically as well — but it’s not fine to be unable to take the Scriptures and rightly divide them and apply them to worship.

“The God of worship is found in the Scriptures and His worth of worship is explained there. A worship pastor must know how to study Him there if he intends to lead his people in worship.”

Connell comes to Southern Seminary after serving as pastor of New Covenant Church in Annapolis, Md. He has served in the roles of pastor, church planter, associate pastor, and music and youth pastor in churches in Tennessee, Texas and Maryland. He also served five years as principal at Arnold Christian Academy in Arnold, Md., and has taught music in both public and private school settings for several years.

Connell holds a master of music in music ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor of science in music education from Tennessee Technological University. He has also done graduate coursework with Reformed Theological Seminary. Originally from Cleveland, Tenn., Connell and his wife Mary have seven children.

WOMEN AT SOUTHERN PUBLISH DAILY DEVOTIONAL — The office of women’s leadership at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has released “Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms,” a year-long daily devotional.

The book, which was a year in the making, includes devotions, testimonies and words of wisdom from women of all ages and from all areas of the Southern Seminary community.

Jaye Martin, director of women’s leadership and instructor in the school of church ministries, and Alyssa Caudill, a Southern Seminary alum with a master of divinity in women’s leadership, coordinated the production of the 462-page book and served as editors.

Each devotional and testimony in the book was written by a woman closely affiliated with Southern Seminary, including students, graduates, faculty, faculty wives, Women’s Auxiliary members, board of trustee members and trustee wives, Foundation Board members and member wives.

Mary Kassian, international women’s ministry speaker, author and distinguished professor of women’s studies at Southern, wrote the book’s forward, and Mary K. Mohler, wife of SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr., wrote the first daily entry for the devotional.

The devotions begin Jan. 1 and do not contain a specific year notation, allowing readers to experience its content year after year. Each day contains a background passage and a focal verse or verses, allowing women to read through the Book of Psalms slowly and carefully during the year.

Additionally, Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms provides pages of testimony, words of wisdom and other instructional entries. Martin and Caudill organized the book so that its 409 contributors can relate to other women and impact the Kingdom for God’s glory all while raising scholarship funds for female students.

Connie Jenkins, a graduate of Southern Seminary’s Women’s Ministry Institute, underwrote the publishing and printing expenses so that proceeds of the $25 devotional could be allocated toward an endowment for current and future female students.

Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms is available at the LifeWay Christian Bookstore on Southern’s campus. For those not in the Louisville area, copies can be ordered by calling LifeWay at 502-897-4506 or e-mailing [email protected].

In related news, Southern’s office of women’s leadership is hosting the W Conference Nov. 19-20 on the campus of Southern Seminary. Mary Kassian, whose writings are included in Women at Southern: A Walk Through Psalms, is the general session speaker, and Heather Payne, founding member of Point of Grace, will lead worship.

Kassian and the breakout session speakers will be discussing how women can fulfill the Lord’s call to disciple others, evangelize and serve the local church. Other topics of discussion include dating, marriage, time management and stewardship. For more information on the W Conference, visit sbts.edu/events.

DEPRESSION & ANXIETY ADDRESSED AT WOMEN’S CONFERENCE — Martha Peace, author of “The Excellent Wife” and “Attitudes of a Transformed Heart,” was the featured speaker at the Women’s Conference on Anxiety, Depression and Discipleship hosted by the Center for Biblical Counseling at Southern Seminary.

Peace conducted sessions on anxiety, depression and compassionate truth.

“Depression is as old as the fall of man. Adam had a lot to be depressed about,” Peace said as she launched into staggering statistics regarding depression.

Women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men, Peace said, and one in eight women can expect to develop clinical depression in their lifetime. She described how depression can result from sleep loss, reactions to medication, poor diet, vitamin deficiency, anemia and hypoglycemia. Depression also is often associated with trauma, the death of a loved one and financial difficulties, she noted.

Peace provided biblical examples of people who suffered from depression, including David, Elijah and Jonah. Each of these men turned their focus from God to what they wanted. Only through confession and repentance were they able to receive forgiveness from God and overcome their depression. When their focus turned from self to Christ, their lives changed as well.

Psalm 42 describes the writer’s depression and how he could remember a more joyful time, Peace said. While he struggled, he turned his focus to God, began thinking rightly and was lifted out of his depression. In Lamentations 3, Peace said, Jeremiah is in the pit of depression, but in verse 21 he recognizes his hope is in the Lord as he writes, “Great is your faithfulness.”

“Anxiety and depression sometimes go hand in hand. Either way there are biblical antidotes to the painful emotions. To overcome the emotions, your mind has to be renewed to think right, you have to do what is right and fulfill your responsibilities whether you feel like it or not.

“It takes work, but I have seen the Lord pull so many women out of the pit. Even when they have had hard circumstances, they are grateful to the Lord,” Peace said.

Peace is a nurse turned biblical counselor. Not long after becoming a believer, she began focusing on women’s Bible studies at her church. She later received National Association of Nouthetic Counselors training and has taught women across the country.
Based on reports by Josh Hayes, Emily Griffin and Karen Travis of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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