Please forgive the personal note. But I thought I might mention a transition that I will be going through in the very near future. On August 1, I will begin as the new dean of Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. Boyce College is the undergraduate arm of my alma mater, Southern Seminary. If you are interested, you can read about the appointment here and here.
A word about where I’m going
James P. Boyce once said, ‘We hold the education of the ministry a matter of the first importance to the churches of Christ.’Â Boyce’s declaration does not represent merely the parochial interests of a 19th century Baptist, but rather the enduring concern of every Christian seriously committed to our Lord’s command to ‘make disciples of all nationsâ€¦ teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:19-20). In agreement with Boyce, I regard theological education as a matter of ‘first importance’ because it is a necessary implication of the Great Commission given to us by Christ.
Serving local churches by training their ministers is why leading a school like Boyce College is such an exciting prospect to me. I have been grateful for the conservative resurgence which has led to a reformation of institutions in the Southern Baptist Convention over the last 29 years. My passion is that we might also see a reformation in Southern Baptist pulpits. In my view, theological educators have a crucial role to play in that reform. I aim for Boyce College to become known as the premier training center for ministers who want to know the word of God and to make it known. Pastoral ministry, student ministry, missions, evangelism, and every other kind of ministry should be rooted in and built upon the Scriptures, and I want Boyce College to be the leader in this kind of ministry preparation.
I couldn’t be happier about the prospect of moving back to Louisville to lead Boyce College. Boyce is poised to be a leading evangelical institution for training undergraduates for Christian ministry, and I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be joining the team at Southern Seminary.
A word about where I’m leaving
As I reflect on my years at Criswell College, I am reminded of the lines from the old hymn, “count your many blessings, name them one by one.” The blessings at Criswell College have indeed been abundant, and I could hardly list them all. It has been a blessing to teach God’s word and to prepare students for their future ministries. It has been a blessing to forge some lifelong friendships with the faculty and staff at the college. It has been a blessing to serve with such a collegial faculty and to learn from and to be sharpened by them. Among other things, I will miss our regular lunches together in the faculty lounge where we were often chewing the theological fat. It is difficult to imagine a happier place to serve the Lord in academic ministry.
It has been a great blessing to serve under the current President of Criswell College, Dr. Jerry Johnson. In an academic career, the hardest job to get is the first one. Dr. Johnson took a chance in hiring me when he did, and for that I will always be grateful. Moreover, Dr. Johnson has led the College well and has an outstanding vision for its future. I pray the Lord to bless Criswell College and Dr. Johnson’s vision for it in the coming years.