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TRUSTEES: ‘It’s a new day,’ SWBTS affirms

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — “It’s a new day at Southwestern,” said Philip Levant, chairman of the board of trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, at the conclusion of their fall meeting Oct. 23. Trustees began the week participating in the inauguration of Adam W. Greenway, elected the school’s ninth president earlier this year.

“God is with us,” Levant continued. “He is blessing us. I think it’s clear to see that He is putting everything in place for us to move forward. We are not where we want to be, but we know where we’re going. And I’m excited to see where we’re going to be by God’s grace and His leadership.”

During the meeting, trustees elected and promoted faculty; voted to name the building formerly known as the Baptist Heritage Center, “Carroll House,” in honor of Southwestern Seminary founder and first president B.H. Carroll; approved a new master’s degree; received and accepted financial statements for the previous fiscal year; adopted new policy statements and agreements and conducted other business.

The following faculty were elected, all of whom were serving under presidential appointment:

— Joseph R. Crider was elected dean and professor of church music and worship in the School of Church Music and Worship.

— David S. Dockery was elected distinguished professor of theology in the School of Theology.

— Travis S. Kerns was elected associate professor of apologetics and world religions in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.

— Charles T. Lewis was elected professor of church music and worship in the School of Church Music and Worship.

— John D. Massey, who already serves as associate professor of missions, was elected dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.

— Chris Shirley was elected professor of educational ministries in the Jack D. Terry Jr. School of Educational Ministries.

— Michael S. Wilder was elected dean and professor of educational ministries in the Jack D. Terry Jr. School of Educational Ministries.

— Gregory A. Wills was elected research professor of church history and Baptist heritage in the School of Theology.

The following faculty were promoted:

— Robert Caldwell was promoted from associate professor of church history to professor of church history.

— Paul Hoskins was promoted from associate professor of New Testament to professor of New Testament.

— Eric Mitchell was promoted from associate professor of Old Testament and archaeology to professor of Old Testament and archaeology.

All elections and promotions are effective immediately.

At the recommendation of the trustees’ Executive Committee, trustees voted to rename the Baptist Heritage Center “Carroll House.” The facility will be the headquarters of the B.H. Carroll Center for Baptist Heritage and Mission, of which Gregory A. Wills serves as director.

Commenting on this decision during his president’s report, Greenway called Carroll a “mighty man of God and convictional Baptist statesman.” He said it was “most appropriate” that the B.H. Carroll Center be housed in a building named in honor of Carroll.

In other business, trustees voted to approve the recommendation of the Academic Administration Committee to create a Master of Music in Worship Leadership in the School of Church Music and Worship.

At the recommendation of the Business Administration Committee, they also received and accepted the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2019, for Southwestern Seminary and for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Development Foundation, Inc.

In addition, trustees voted to adopt a new Investment Policy Statement and a new Investment Management Agreement with GuideStone Financial Resources. Furthermore, they approved the recommendation that the Business Administration Committee establish control over the investment accounts and “any authority the Southwestern Seminary Foundation may have previously been given.”

During his president’s report, Greenway commented on these recommendations, saying, “We are moving in the right direction financially. My hope and prayer is that the Lord will continue to help us, as we are always in the process of monitoring and evaluating, making sure that we keep our expenses as conservative as we can, to really strengthen our position institutionally; to be the strongest steward of the resources that God has entrusted to us.”

Two recommendations were approved from the Communications, Policies, and Strategic Initiatives Committee. First, trustees voted to amend the seminary’s bylaws, and second, they voted to adopt a motion “empowering the Committee for Business Administration to select advisors and delegate duties and responsibilities to them.”

Beyond voting to approve these recommendations, trustees heard a report from Greenway, who shared about the “many signs of hope” that he sees at Southwestern Seminary. The greatest sign of hope, he said, is the students, whom Greenway called the most important people at the institution.

“Because without the students,” he explained, “we don’t need a faculty. Without the students, you don’t need a president. Without the students, we wouldn’t have donors. Without the students, we don’t need a campus. The most important people at Southwestern Seminary are the students. That’s why we’re here.”

“And outside of the students,” he continued, “it is the faculty. Because students come to study with a faculty. And so this president is deeply committed to doing everything we can to strengthen student recruitment, student experience, student retention; and to continue to build and to strengthen the strongest possible faculty of God-called men and women across every discipline, and strength upon strength throughout the entirety of the academic enterprise. Because that is what Southwestern Seminary is first and foremost about. That’s why we do what we do.”

Sharing Levant’s perspective of a “new day” at Southwestern Seminary, Greenway concluded, “I believe the Lord is doing a fresh work here on Seminary Hill. I believe through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come, but the best is yet to come. If we’ll stay close to Him, stay humble, God will make us fruitful and, prayerfully, find us faithful.”

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  • Alex Sibley