Fort Worth pastor to chair Southwestern trustee board

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees elected new officers, approved a new master's degree in Islamic studies and listened to the seminary president and deans share their vision of how the school will continue to meet the challenge of preparing ministers for the 21st century.

Michael Dean, pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, was elected chairman during the board's first general session of its spring meeting March 6 at the Fort Worth seminary. Dean, who was unopposed, was unanimously elected.

David Allen of Dallas was elected vice chairman over Dean Gage of College Station, Texas. Allen is professor of expository preaching and director of the Jerry Vines Institute of Biblical Preaching at Criswell College.

Matthew McKellar of Tyler, Texas, was re-elected secretary.

When trustees approved Southwestern's master of arts in Islamic studies, they gave the school a degree program specifically designed to prepare students to minister to the growing number of Muslims in the United States and abroad.

Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill said the rapid growth in the number of Muslims in the United States means that "not only our missionaries need to be conversant with Muslims, but our pastors do too."

Trustees elected David McQuitty as dean of students, a position formerly called vice president of student services. McQuitty, who has served as director of financial aid, takes the place of Lawrence Klempnauer, who retired in December.

Hemphill said the change in title more accurately reflected the position's responsibilities and relationship to students.

McQuitty has an undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado, master's degrees from Dallas Baptist University and Southwestern, and a Ph.D. from Southwestern. He has served as minister of education at churches in Texas, Virginia and Hawaii and currently serves as minister to senior adults at Woods Chapel Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.

David Crutchley, dean of the school of theology, gave his vision of providing opportunity for every student and faculty member to have exposure to international missions. He wants the school to offer one mission study trip a year to western Asia, Africa, eastern Asia, Europe and South America. The first trip to western Asia will be this summer to Istanbul with the first trips to each of the four other regions planned for 2002.

Benjamin Harlan, dean of the school of church music, told trustees the ever-changing music scene means church musicians need to continue "to make music with everything we have and then to make music with what we have left."

He added that his school's tasks include preparing music ministers with a wide range of technical skills combined with "wisdom, heart, compassion, flexibility and common sense."

Citing a 240,000-member church in Bogota, Colombia, Daryl Eldridge, dean of the school of educational ministries, said, "I want to be a part of that movement." To do that, he continued, requires a return to first-century church practices that focused on discipleship. He said he recognizes much faith and vision are required.

"I want to know my last few years that I gave myself to a task that was bigger than I am," Eldridge said.

Challenges the school faces, he said, include helping to prepare workers to minister in discipling churches, preparing workers to minister to the current generations and teaching international students who might come to seminary with different learning styles.

Eldridge chaired the seminary's "Theological Education in the 21st Century Committee," which studied the competencies seminary graduates should have and revised the core curriculum to teach these competencies.

Implementing the seminary's core competencies of evangelism, Bible study, worship, leadership and spiritual formation was only step one, he said.

The school now must design an instrument to assess the revamped curriculum "to see if our product really is what we say it is," he added.

Hemphill told trustees the recent site visit by the Association of Theological Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and School was "a very helpful visit." He said that he is not at liberty to share details of the visit until after the associations meet in June.

Upon the recommendation of Hemphill, trustees approved the creation of the position of assistant to the president for institutional effectiveness, who will work the president's office to compile and organize information for use by groups including trustees and accrediting agencies.


(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: PASSING THE GAVEL.

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