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Trustees elect new faculty, approve promotions at NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–In response to the growing graduate psychology and counseling program and the College of Undergraduate Studies pastoral ministries program, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees elected two specialists to their faculty during their March 13-14 meeting.

Trustees elected Tate Cockrell, former director of ministries for the Fort Worth-based Dawson McAllister Association, as instructor in psychology and counseling, and Jeffrey Williams, a former pastor in Saline, Mich., as assistant professor of pastoral ministry in the College of Undergraduate Studies. Perry Hancock, former associate dean of graduate faculty, also was named dean of graduate studies.

Cockrell, of Laurel, Miss., was appointed as the seminary’s director of student enlistment last December. Noting the opportunities he has to share the healing power of Christ while talking with prospective students, Cockrell said he realizes how the counseling process and the student enlistment process are similar in that they both involve helping individuals discover God’s will for their lives.

Cockrell earned his bachelor of science degree in psychology from William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Miss., in 1994 and master of art degrees in marriage and family counseling and in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1997. He anticipates receiving his doctor of philosophy degree in psychology and counseling from Southwestern in December 2001.

Before coming to NOBTS, Cockrell supervised four major ministry divisions in the Dawson McAllister Association, a national youth ministry reaching 500,000 teenagers each week: the National HopeLine (1-800-394-HOPE), a teen call center where more than 20,000 calls were received every month from young people age 21 and younger; a national live radio call-in show, “Dawson McAllister Live,” syndicated on 250 radio stations nationwide, where he served as co-host; organizing youth conferences featuring Dawson McAllister; and overseeing the publications of the association.

He also served as minister of youth at First Baptist Church, Maypearl, Texas, from 1994-97; pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, Bay Springs, Miss., 1993-94; and minister of youth and children at Corinth Baptist Church, Heidelberg, Miss., 1991-93.

He and his wife, the former Wendy Michelle Posey of Ellisville, Miss., have one child, Tatum Savannah.

Drawing upon his psychology and counseling education as well as his pastoral experience, Cockrell affirmed the strength of Christian counseling: “Though there are similarities at some points between the techniques of secular and Christian counseling, it is only the Christian counselor who has the undeniable power and presence of the Holy Spirit to rely upon when dealing with the deep issues of the soul.

“The psychology and counseling program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is one of our strongest areas,” said Steve Lemke, seminary provost. “The addition of Tate Cockrell, with his experience in providing biblical counsel to youth across America directing the HopeLine ministry of the Dawson McAllister Association helps secure our psychology and counseling program as one of the premiere Christian counseling programs in the nation.”

Williams, who comes to the seminary after serving as senior pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, Saline, Mich., since 1997, has also served in the capacities of church planter, counseling ministry director and hospital chaplain.

A specialist in pastoral ministry, Williams affirms the role of God’s Word in counseling individuals: “As a pastor and pastoral counselor, I can both broadcast God’s Word through preaching and teaching and deliver God’s Word directly to the point of a person’s need through counseling and pastoral care.”

Referencing Proverbs 25:11, he said, “Like the high-tech laser-guided Smart Bombs unveiled during the Gulf War, a skillful pastor with great understanding of the scriptures coupled with an insight about an individual’s specific dilemma and history can bring God’s Word to bear on that person’s life with great precision and impact.”

With this philosophy in mind, Williams established and managed a local church-based pastoral counseling ministry at Ovilla Road Baptist Church, Red Oak, Texas, where he also served as associate pastor and director of counseling from 1992-97. He then served as director of a branch of New Life Clinics, formerly known as Minirth-Meier Clinics, the world’s largest provider of Christian mental health services, associated with Fellowship Baptist Church in Saline. He also served as assistant chaplain for the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas from 1991-93.

Also experienced in church-planting, Williams has served in other pastoral positions in Texas and Michigan, including Southlake Baptist Church in Waxahachie, Texas; Friendship Baptist Chapel in Mason, Mich.; and Belding Baptist Chapel in Belding, Mich. He has served as a Baptist Student Union director at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and an adjunct professor at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth.

In addition to earning a graduate certification in clinical pastoral education from Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where he attended an intensive CPE program from 1990-91, Williams earned his bachelor of individualized studies with concentrations in psychology, communication and religion from Central Michigan University in May 1983. He earned both the master of divinity degree with biblical languages and doctor of philosophy in pastoral ministry-pastoral care and counseling from Southwestern in May 1987 and 1996, respectively.

He and his wife, the former Karen Marie Irish of Lake Orion, Mich., have three children, Christopher Jeffrey, Jonathan Daniel and Mikayla Grace.

“Dr. Jeff Williams brings to the College of Undergraduate Studies a unique combination of counseling and pastoral ministry,” said Thomas Strong, dean of the college. “He is going to be one of the key faculty members in helping our students to minister effectively from the pastoral perspective to their congregations.”

NOBTS President Chuck Kelley added, “Ministry is a ‘people business’ in so many ways. Dr. Williams brings to our undergraduate program a great passion to help students learn how to work with people and use healthy relationships to grow healthy churches.”

Hancock, originally from Bogalusa, La., has been affiliated with the seminary for the past eight years, most recently as associate dean of the graduate faculty. Serving also as an associate professor of discipleship, occupying the Broadmoor Chair of Discipleship, Hancock received both his doctor of philosophy and master of religious education degrees from New Orleans Seminary in 1992 and 1986, respectively. He also has served as pastor of Westside Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bogalusa from 1991-93; Simpson (La.) Baptist Church, 1986-89; and Cane Brake Baptist Church, Lottie, La., 1981-86.

He and his wife, the former Tonya Moran of Krotz Springs, La., have one son, Matt, who is a student at NOBTS.

Of Hancock’s appointment, Lemke said, “Dr. Perry Hancock is one of the most gifted teachers and administrators in Southern Baptist Convention life. He has been of invaluable assistance to me as associate dean of the graduate program. As our enrollment has continued to increase, we need one person to be giving the same attention to the graduate program that Dr. Jimmy Dukes gives to extension centers as dean of the extension center system and Dr. Thomas Strong provides to the undergraduate program as dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies. Perry Hancock is a creative and innovative thinker who will lead our graduate program to new heights.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: TATE COCKRELL and JEFF WILLIAMS.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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