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Small Churches


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his may seem like a silly question, but do you know who Southern Baptists are? When asked that question, many people will think in terms of our theology and doctrine. We believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. We are people of the Book, and therefore we read it, preach it, and seek to follow its teaching as we live our lives. This means we are theologically conservative and hold to a distinctive Baptist theology and polity. We are a people who passionately believe the Bible and affirm a Baptist theological identity. Another way to address the question is to look at our mission. Who are we in terms of what we do? We answered that question at the first meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845. After voting to create the SBC, messengers also voted to create a Foreign Mission Board and a Board for Domestic Missions. The Great Commission is our DNA, literally. The glue that has always held us together and formed the basis of unprecedented levels of cooperation between completely autonomous churches is a common passion to call all the peoples of the world to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. More money is given to our mission enterprises by Southern Baptists than any other aspect of our work as a Convention. We are a people determined to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Most of us know what we believe and most of us know what we do, but how many of us know who our churches are? We have 46,000 churches. What are those churches like? If you imagine the typical Southern Baptist church is a large church with extensive ministries, you would be incorrect. One of the most amazing truths about Southern Baptists is that we are a Convention of smaller churches who work together to fund and staff large, extensive ministries operating on a state, national and global scale. For instance, approximately 90 percent of all SBC churches have 250 people or less attending worship on any given Sunday. Nearly 70 percent of all SBC churches have 100 or fewer in attendance each week. Less than 2 percent of all SBC churches have more than 1,000 people present for Sunday worship. Clearly the Southern Baptist Convention is composed of more smaller churches than larger churches. There are many important implications flowing from this truth about Southern Baptist churches. Many of our pastors are bivocational pastors. They have both a secular career and a church ministry, often because the church they serve cannot afford to pay a full-time salary. If students are serving a church during seminary, it is nearly always a small church. When students go to serve a church after seminary, that church is often a smaller church, not a large or megachurch. When we start new churches they typically begin as small churches. Research indicates churches with less than 1,000 people present on a Sunday morning give a higher percentage of their

budget to the Cooperative Program than churches with more than 1,000 people. In other words, smaller churches are the backbone of the Southern Baptist Convention. These churches are the source of our ministers, our missionaries, and much of our funding for the Cooperative Program. There is another significant implication for the smaller church and theological education. It is more difficult for these ministers to go to seminary. They usually have less financial support, both in terms of their family budgets and their church budgets. If they acquire student debt while getting theological education, it will be far more difficult for them to pay it back. Without financial assistance, a seminary education is only a dream for many, many of these ministers. The education and training that could help them reach more people and better serve their congregations is out of reach. If we do not find ways to train these ministers, most of our churches will not have a minister with a foundation of training for excellence in ministry. We are thrilled to announce God has provided a path forward for at least some of these precious Kingdom servants. A sweet Baptist family who wishes to be anonymous has given us $10 million to launch the Caskey Center for Church Excellence. The Caskey Center will provide full tuition and fees for 144 small church ministers in Louisiana and 50 small church ministers in Mississippi. Students who receive this scholarship can pick whatever certificate, undergraduate, or graduate degree they feel would help them most, and they choose any delivery system we offer: on campus, hybrid, extension center or online. In an unusual twist, the donor is giving us the full amount for the degree for each student who is accepted. If they start seminary, the money is here for them to finish. Those who lead these churches that are so important in SBC life are finally going to get some major help! The response to this new program has been overwhelming. I can tell you with great certainty the men serving these churches do want to get seminary training. They simply cannot afford it without help. One aspect of this project that means a great deal to me is the way the donor structured the gift. They are focusing on infrastructure cost as well as the actual scholarship money. Their goal is to put the infrastructure in place to support even more scholarships than they are able to give. This means you too can become a Caskey partner and add to the number of scholarships available for those leading our smaller churches, knowing your gift goes entirely for the scholarship itself. The donor will pay for the program’s infrastructure. To quote an ancient Hebrew expression: Wow! If you would like information on how to become a Caskey partner and make seminary possible for more leaders of our smaller churches, contact me or Randy Driggers. To train one pastor is to invest in every life that pastor will touch. Now that is a return on investment! Every life matters. Every church matters. Jesus taught this to us in many ways. At NOBTS we seek to apply this truth to the preparation of ministers. FALL 2014 | VISION 1

2 VISION | FALL 2014

CONTENTS FALL 2014 Volume 70, Number 2

Small Churches


DR. CHUCK KELLEY President MR. RANDY DRIGGERS Vice President for Institutional Advancement


DR. DENNIS PHELPS Director of Alumni Relations


GARY D. MYERS Editor FRANK MICHAEL MCCORMACK Assistant Editor & Lead Copy Editor



BOYD GUY Art Director & Photographer





Leavell College Student Starts Ministry at Nearby University


Trip Connects Alumnus with T T H ECuba OL TIS O His Family’s Homeland MATTHEW AL SEMI

28 : 18-20











MATTHEW 28 : 18-20



Small Churches, Kingdom Impact: Challenging the Myth that Bigger is Better



STEPHEN JENNINGS Assistant Art Director






New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry, supported by the gifts of Southern Baptists.






All contents ©2014 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. Please send address changes and Alumni Updates to the office of Alumni Relations at the above address. NOTE: Alumni Updates will be used for publication in both the Vision magazine and on the Alumni website.



VISION is published two times a year by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary 3939 Gentilly Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70126 (800) 662-8701 (504) 282-4455

• Consider NOBTS for End-of-theyear Giving • In Memory: Michael Moskau and Rose Ramsey • Providence Fund Helps Students Explore the Call to Missions • FBC Minden Blesses Single NOBTS Students with Gift Cards

• Rev. Steve Caskey: ‘Planting, Watering, Nourishing’ for God • Kelley Encourages Cuban Seminary Graduates • Lagnappe • Seminary Team Digs Deeper into Ancient Gezer Water System • Leavell College Student Starts Ministry at Nearby University





• Eight Faculty Members Honored for Service at NOBTS • Carver Completes TBRI Training at Texas Christian University • Lemke and Riley Named to ERLC Research Institute • In Memory: Dr. Ferris Jordan

• Cuba Trip Connects Alumnus with His Family’s Homeland • Class Notes • NOBTS Alumnus, Former Professor David Platt Elected to Lead IMB • Book by Alumnus Benefits NT Center

ON THE COVER: Ryan Ralston, Youth Minister at Canal Boulevard Deaf Mission. Photo by Boyd Guy. FALL 2014 | VISION 3

Small Churches


story by GARY D. MYERS photography by BOYD GUY

Exciting Days for Small Churches Americans attach great significance to the size of an institution. Whether it is a club, a university or even a seminary, bigger is often seen as better. And though the church is a much different entity – the Body of Christ ordained by God to make a Kingdom impact – people often judge churches by size. Maybe this bigger-is-better mentality is a byproduct of the incessant marketing that bombards American culture. Maybe it comes from the flawed desire to measure oneself against others. Whatever the reason, size alone is an inadequate measure of a church. Bigger is not necessarily better. And, to be fair, bigger is not necessarily worse. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is blessed with churches of all types – new and old churches; large, medium and small churches; multiethnic and homogeneous churches; rural and urban churches. God is using all types of churches – many led by students and graduates of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary – to reach people for His Kingdom. Unfortunately, common misconceptions abound regarding church size. Large churches are often viewed as more successful and mission-minded, while small churches may be stereotyped as “out of touch” or uninterested in reaching their communities. As with most stereotypes, the truth is often quite different than the perception. In fact, many small churches are highly motivated and uniquely equipped to reach their communities. And with recent developments like the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at NOBTS and the new SBC Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council launched by the convention’s Executive Committee, these are exciting days for smaller membership churches in the SBC. Finally, it seems, small churches are receiving the attention they deserve.

size alone is an inadequate measure of a church

The Caskey Center for Church Excellence When an anonymous donor gave $1.5 million to launch the Caskey Center in April, NOBTS President Chuck Kelley called it a “game changer.” The initiative doubled the scholarship dollars available to NOBTS students and made theological training a viable option for a whole new group of ministers. The Caskey Center initially offered 100 full-tuition scholarships to bivocational and smaller membership church ministers at Louisiana Baptist Convention affiliated churches. Kelley’s announcement of the scholarship drew 180 applications before the summer’s end. When Dr. Mark Tolbert, Director of the Caskey Center at NOBTS and a member of the SBC Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council, interviewed the applicants, he found 144 Louisiana ministers who qualified for the scholarship. So instead of capping the number at 100, the donor agreed to fund the entire group for the 2014-2015 school year. And the donor has kept giving. As of November, NOBTS has received a total of $10 million for the initiative and the donor recently made the decision to provide scholarships for up to 50 Mississippi ministers. “Nearly 100 years ago Southern Baptist voted to establish a seminary in a place with few churches and those few all small and struggling,” Kelley said when he announced the Mississippi scholarships. “It is fitting that today we acknowledge our largest gift ever is for the purpose of training the leaders of our smaller churches. These churches and their leaders, in cities, towns and villages, form the backbone and heart of the SBC. We are honored to make them the center of our attention.” The full-tuition scholarships are available for certificate, associate, undergraduate or master’s degree study at NOBTS in

left: Dr. Mark tolbert addresses the initial class of Caskey recipients during an evangelism training meeting. right: Larry Johnson, Pastor of Crossroads Community Church and Caskey recipient. any of the seminary’s delivery systems including the main campus, Louisiana and Mississippi extension centers, hybrid courses, workshops, conference-based courses or online programs. In many cases, these small church ministers would not have the opportunity to attend seminary without a significant scholarship like this. The Mississippi program is designed for students serving as paid staff at a smaller membership Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) church (up to 150 in worship) or serving as a bivocational minister at an MBCB church. In Louisiana, students must be serving as paid staff at a smaller membership Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) church (up to 250 in worship) or serving as a bivocational minister at an LBC church. The vision is for the Caskey Center to be a game changer for the local church. According to Tolbert, the initiative is not about making small churches into big churches. The goal instead is to make churches the best they can be regardless of size. With Caskey students focusing sharply on biblical exposition and evangelism, Tolbert hopes they will help Louisiana and Mississippi churches make a greater impact on the lostness in their communities.

Church Health More Important than Size Writing in Outreach magazine earlier this fall, Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research, noted the importance of assessing church health. Throughout the history of Christianity, a vast majority of churches have been small, he wrote. And today, most of the world’s churches are small. Stetzer cautioned against the mistake of judging churches by size. “One thing we want to avoid is using the wrong measurements, which essentially say large equals healthy,” Stetzer wrote. “I happen to believe that small churches can be healthy churches.” “The size of a church does not determine its health. But a church’s health can determine its size,” Stetzer continued. For years the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health has been studying the health and effectiveness of SBC churches.

Dr. Bill Day, Associate Director of the Leavell Center, agrees that church health is more important than size. Unfortunately, in a 2010 study, Day found that only 6.8 percent of SBC churches can be called healthy, growing churches. SBC churches of all sizes need to find ways to impact their lost communities to become healthy, growing churches again. Incremental grow is important, even with smaller membership churches and big churches alike, he said. And while the small church gets “bigger” by adding a few members each year, a church does not need to move out of the small church category to be effective. Day acknowledged that some churches face steeper challenges to growth than others. Fast-growing communities are often more fertile fields for reaching people with the Gospel than rural areas or depressed urban areas, Day said. Population density also plays a role in a church’s ability reach people. Many communities in America have fewer people moving in than die each year. The ebb and flow of a community’s population can greatly impact a church’s ability to grow, Day said. Day also uncovered interesting data related to the decline of baptisms in the SBC. While the numbers are troublesome, the baptism rate reveals just how vital church planting has been to the SBC and will be in the future. Baptism began to plateau for Southern Baptists in 1955, but the numbers would have been much worse if not for church planting efforts of the SBC, Day said. Church plants are expensive and many fail, leading to much criticism in SBC circles. However, church plants that make it through the start-up process, even though they are often small, can be very effective in reaching the lost, Day said. The research reveals that church planting is a highly effective way to reach the lost and planting more churches would help. Day suggests the Baptists attack the problem from both sides. New plants will be a key component, but he warns against writing off existing churches. Revitalization is another effective means for stirring healthy conversion growth, he said.

FALL 2014 | VISION 7


What does a small Southern Baptist church look like today? If the image of a tiny clapboard building with faded white paint tucked in a secluded grove or isolated on a vast prairie pops into your mind, broader understanding is needed. This image of the small church in rural and frontier areas is still a reality in some places, but it is not the only reality. In fact, the vast majority of SBC churches are smaller membership churches. According to research conducted by Dr. Bill Day, Assistant Director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health at NOBTS, 89 percent of SBC churches average 250 or less in worship. Almost 40 percent of SBC churches have 50 or less in worship. In Louisiana, 92 percent of SBC churches have 250 or fewer in attendance; 83 percent have 150 or fewer. In Mississippi, 90 percent of SBC churches have 250 or fewer in attendance; 80 percent have 150 or fewer. Both states are near the national average for churches of 50 or fewer.


of SBC churches have an average worship attendance of 250 or fewer


of LBC churches have an average worship attendance of 250 or fewer


of MBCB churches have an average worship attendance of 150 or fewer


Given to the Cooperative Program in 2013 by churches averaging 250 or less in worship 77% of total CP Receipts for 2013 Source: Dr. Bill Day, Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health

8 VISION | FALL 2014

Today’s Small, Unique Churches Among these smaller membership SBC churches, there are old churches, new churches, rural churches and urban churches. Some are racially diverse. They range from traditional to innovative. Others exist to reach a specific group with the Gospel. Three small churches in the metro New Orleans area, each led by Caskey scholarship recipients, illustrate how unique and distinctive today’s small churches can be.

Metairie Church (Metairie)


Metairie Church launched two years ago as a part of a multi-site strategy initiated by First Baptist Church of Covington, La. Led by two Caskey recipients, NOBTS students Jared Stacy and Augustine Hui, the church couples powerful biblical teaching and dynamic worship with all the stunning graphics and technology one would expect from a church led by Millennials. Stacy serves as Pastor; Hui is the Worship Pastor. Hui, who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., believes that flexibility and community are the real advantages of a small church. And according to Hui, these two strengths work hand-in-hand at Metairie Church. Stacy and Hui conscientiously keep the structure of the church to a minimum so they can quickly respond to the needs of the congregation. People always come first at Metairie Church, Hui said. According to Hui, reaching Millennials starts with authentic relationships. However, he freely acknowledges that technology is important in creating an environment for Millennials to feel welcome and comfortable. So Metairie Church uses lights and graphics while Hui leads the congregation in songs with deep, powerful messages. Most of all, Metairie Church looks to engage the lost with the Gospel and see lives transformed. Two people come to mind when Hui thinks about how God is using Metairie Church to transform lives. When Hui began serving at the church, he discovered that the bass player on the praise team was not a believer. Hui began to talk with him regularly about deep matters of the Christian faith and discovered that the man had many doubts about Jesus. Hui met with the bass player often to discuss life and to wrestle with his objections to the Gospel. Over time, both the bass player and his wife came to faith in Christ. Another story of transformation involves a mother who began attending Metairie Church after she noticed dramatic changes in her son’s life. The transformation of her son at Metairie Church led to her own transformation. Though she came from a religious background, she had never encountered a church that taught her how to study the Bible. After several months of attending church and Bible study, the woman accepted Christ in early November. “God is doing things like this at Metairie Church,” Hui said. “These are the victories. That is what I love about my pastor, he always says that the victory we are looking for isn’t the numbers. Getting to share the Gospel … that’s what we’re about.”

Canal Boulevard Baptist Deaf Mission (Lakeview)


By any measure, Canal Boulevard Baptist Deaf Mission, led by Pastor John Lovas, is one of the unique churches in the New Orleans area. Launched as a mission of Lakeview Baptist Church (now Harbor Church) less than 30 years ago, the fellowship is reaching people in three states. On any given Sunday, people from as far away as Florida, Mississippi and Baton Rouge meet together at Canal Boulevard Baptist Deaf Mission — the closest deaf church to their home. Canal Boulevard is a language mission with each service presented in two languages — American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English. The congregation is racially and generationally diverse and includes both deaf and hearing worshipers. A large number of the congregants are new believers who came to Christ after Hurricane Katrina. Ryan Ralston, an NOBTS student and Caskey recipient, serves as the bivocational Youth Minister for the mission. Though Ralston is hearing, he and his wife, Shasta, have developed a deep burden for reaching people who are deaf with the Gospel. Shasta is a skilled sign language communicator and often serves as a translator for the mission and at other area churches with sign language needs. Fellowship is a top priority in the deaf community and at the mission as well. While continuing to foster the fellowship aspect of the congregation, Lovas and Ralston want to develop a more missional, evangelistic outlook. Opportunities exist to reach out to the deaf community in New Orleans. The New Orleans deaf community, both Christians and non-believers, meets regularly for fellowship at Café Du Monde in Metairie and sponsors volleyball and flag football leagues. “This is community driven, but while you are in the community you can be evangelistic,” Ralston said. Deaf ministry is currently facing a number of challenges. Chief among these is the lack of printed resources written in a way that ASL communicators understand. Though many ASL communicators can read English, Ralston said traditional Christian material, even the English Bible, is difficult for deaf people to understand. “ASL is very different than written and spoken English,” Ralston said. “They leave out articles and tense. They leave out some pronouns. So when they read the Bible, it is confusing to them and a lot of the material available is confusing.” “We are trying to figure out how to get written material in a format that makes sense to them,” he said. Ralston said another significant challenge in New Orleans is coming from Jehovah’s Witnesses. The group is making inroads in the deaf community, prompting Ralston to teach his congregation about the differences between evangelical Christian beliefs and the heretical teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses have more resources than we do,” Ralston said. “We’re combating that right now.”

FALL 2014 | VISION 9



Grace Baptist Church (Bywater)


Located in the heart of the city’s Bywater neighborhood, the 110-year-old Grace Baptist Church is working to engage its community under the leadership of Pastor Toby Brogden. A racially and culturally diverse congregation, Grace is in a unique position to impact the lostness among long-time Bywater residents as well as the Millennials who are attracted to the neighborhood’s artsy vibe. Though many current members live outside of the neighborhood, the church is committed to reaching the Bywater community it calls home. “They really want to reach the community and become a community church again,” Brogden said. “So that’s what we are trying to do.” The church recently started a small group Bible study in a Bywater home. Brogden hopes to expand the small group ministry throughout the neighborhood as the church reaches people with the Gospel. “We just want to start reaching the neighborhood, one family at a time,” he said. After Hurricane Katrina, “hip” young artists and musicians flocked to the neighborhood and in recent years the Bywater has become home to many of the young professionals working in Downtown New Orleans. Many long-time Bywater residents remain as well. It is a generationally, racially, culturally and economically diverse population. “It is a big mix of people,” Brogden said. “In all of those demographics, the commonality is that there are a lot of people who need Christ.” “Regardless of their cultural background, they need the Lord,” he continued. “The task is finding the effective way we can communicate the Gospel to them.” 10 VISION | FALL 2014

Brogden believes the relational nature of small churches is a real asset. “Some people purposely seek out small churches because they value the community and closeness that they find there,” he said. Brogden left a fully-funded pastorate in Tennessee in 2012 to become a bivocational minister at Grace and to attend NOBTS. As a new bivocational pastor, Brogden said the biggest challenge is balance. Working two other jobs in addition to his pastoral work creates a difficult juggling act for this husband, father and graduate student. Though he never feels like he has enough time to minister to his church, Brogden sees some advantages to the bivocational model. According to Brogden, it is easier for a bivocational minister to relate to church members who are working five or six days a week in a secular job. Bivocational ministers also have many opportunities to witness as they seek to be “salt and light” in the marketplace, he said.

Bivocational Ministry: An Emerging Model Ralston and Brogden are part of a growing trend toward the bivocational ministry model. Most bivocational ministers serve smaller membership churches, but the trend is growing at larger churches as well. While the evidence is still antidotal, Dr. Mark Tolbert, Director of the Caskey Center, believes that bivocational ministry will grow dramatically in the coming years. This fall, while meeting with leaders of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, Tolbert discovered a shocking statistic. Of the 2,100 MBCB church, 1,700 (70 percent) have at least one bivocational minister on staff. Tolbert did not expect a number that high in the middle of the Bible Belt. For many years, trained pastors and ministers primarily sought fully-funded church positions. Bivocational ministry rarely entered their minds. Recently, Tolbert has seen a trend toward intentional bivocational ministry, with more students expressing a specific calling to bivocational ministry. While many factors are contributing to the uptick in bivocational ministry, the phenomenon Tolbert calls “tall steeple, few people” may be the most prevalent. Many SBC churches built large buildings while their communities and congregations were

growing. As their communities declined, churches became saddled with buildings they could not afford. Now, these churches are turning to bivocational ministers to relieve the financial stress and revitalize their congregations. In fact, relieving financial stress on churches is one of the real advantages of bivocational ministry, Tolbert said. But the model also relieves financial stress for the minister. Fear of losing his income no longer hinders a bivocational minister’s ministry, he said. Bivocational ministry also provides freedom for the minister. No one can accuse the bivocational minister of “being in it for the money,” Tolbert said. “We’re going to have to get used to this idea of bivocational ministry. Not only is it here to stay, but it’s going to become the new normal,” Tolbert said. Dr. Bill Day sees the increase in bivocational ministers as a return to Baptist roots. In the 1800s, as America expanded westward, Baptists followed, planting churches on the frontier. Oftentimes these new churches were led by the bivocational ministers of the day — pastor-farmers. According to Day, Baptists used this method to become the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, not by starting a handful of large, prominent churches, but a network of small, effective churches. As people in the United States. move to urban areas, Day believes that bivocational ministry will become an essential tool Baptists use to reach American cities with the Gospel.

Wyoming: Small Churches with Big Vision Another way NOBTS students are learning the value of smaller membership churches is through the church planting partnership between the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention (WSBC) and Brandon Baptist Church in Brandon, Miss. More than 35 NOBTS students have participated in a short-term mission and evangelism projects working alongside WSBC church planters. Twenty-one of those students have spent an entire summer as a church planting apprentice learning the ins and outs of planting churches in a pioneer area. The lostness in Wyoming is shocking. In this least populous U.S. state, only about 5 percent of the people have a relationship with Christ. In most areas, conversion growth is the only type of growth possible. Church plants in Wyoming must reach people with the Gospel or fail. Most churches in Wyoming have little hope of surpassing 150 people in worship attendance. Planters and pastors there say numbers are never the goal. The desire is to impact the pervasive lostness in the small towns and rural areas of the state. And they are confronting this lostness one person at a time. God is moving through the work. The NOBTS students who have witnessed door-to-door in the communities across Wyoming are reaching people for Christ. The summer apprentices have personally led hundreds to faith in Christ. The churches in Wyoming are still small; only five churches have more 150 in worship. However, these churches are working tirelessly to make a significant impact on the lostness in their state.

Small Churches: A Significant Legacy


In 1925, Southern Baptists launched the Cooperative Program (CP) in order to fund mission, evangelism and ministerial education efforts in the United States and around the world. The strategy ensured that every church, no matter the size of its membership or budget, could contribute to the Great Commission activities of the convention. Today, small churches are contributing significant amounts to CP. In 2013, Day’s Leavell Center research revealed that churches with 250 or less in worship attendance contributed just over $195 million to CP (70 percent of all CP giving). The churches with more than 250 gave just over $253 million to CP. Day found that churches with 250 and less gave an average of 6.22 percent of their undesignated gifts to the CP. That number dropped by two percentage points for churches with 1,000 and more in attendance. “Our smaller churches are contributing far more [CP] money as a group than others,” Day said. “These churches serve as a ‘backbone’ to the Cooperative Program and what we are doing in missions, evangelism and church planting.” “Small churches are a very vital group for what we are doing as Southern Baptists,” Day continued. “I think we need to plant new churches, but I also think we need to help these churches that are serving as the backbone to the Cooperative Program. We need to be careful that we don’t forget them.” Tolbert agrees that the SBC needs to take notice of smaller membership churches. “There are [pastors] out there, they know God hasn’t forgotten them, but they are pretty sure everyone else has,” Tolbert said. “They feel insignificant. We’re going to try help them understand that their church may not be a large church, but it is a significant church.”

FALL 2014 | VISION 11


Consider NOBTS for End-of-the-year Giving BY RANDY DRIGGERS


here has this year gone? This is a question we often ask ourselves this time of the year. Despite the busyness that surrounds the holiday season, this is the time of the year when many people give significant charitable gifts. Many people are reviewing their anticipated tax situation and trying to determine what they will give to NOBTS as a charitable gift before December 31.

Year-End Giving Ideas 1. Gifts of Stock or Other Securities 2. Gifts of Real Estate 3. Life Income Gifts: a. Charitable Remainder Trust b. Charitable Gift Annuity c. Life Estate Reserved: Give your home now, continue to live in it and maintain it and at death it becomes the ultimate gift.

Stories of Faithfulness I have a personal friend who is a missionary in Honduras and an alumnus of NOBTS. He left NOBTS for the mission field in the late 1990s. He tells me that, almost every night as his family lay in their beds, they hear gunfire in the distance. He has been robbed on multiple occasions. Yet he and his family persevere. Why? Because God called him to minister to the Honduran people and his NOBTS education prepared him to minister in this foreign field. There are hundreds of stories like this from our seminary graduates. They plant churches in the Northeast in places like New York City or out West in Wyoming, and everywhere in between. They go overseas to spread the Gospel. They pastor a bivocational church while working another full-time job to support their families. They minister at a church with a weekly attendance of less than 250 people. They go where God leads them. And it is your faithfulness in giving that makes their training possible and affordable.

Thank You for Partnering with Us I want to thank all of New Orleans Seminary’s faithful partners in ministry. You have been faithful in supporting NOBTS with your prayers as well as your financial gifts. For the several hundred who made your first gift this year to our Providence Fund, I say, “Welcome to the NOBTS family.” You are the men and women that help NOBTS to provide affordable seminary training for students who will enter various fields of ministry. They go from New Orleans literally to the ends of the earth, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Without your faithfulness, tomorrow’s missionaries, pastors, counselors, Christian educators, worship leaders, and other ministry leaders might not be able to afford the seminary education they need.

4. IRA Rollover*

If you are age 70 or older, you may transfer direct from your financial advisors, up to $100,000 without having to declare it as income first. This is perfect for those with RMD income issues.

*The IRA Rollover provision of the tax code is presently in Congress waiting for it to be sent to the President for his signature. All indications are that this will be either extended for two years or made a permanent part of the tax code.

Remember to Support the Providence Fund this Christmas Season In this season of celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, please pray for the faculty, staff and students at NOBTS. Pray that God will continue to provide the financial resources needed to offer a quality and affordable seminary education. This is a time of year when giving is front-and-center. With two grandsons, ages 8 and 11, my wife and I are rapidly being educated on the latest gift ideas in the marketplace. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I am talking about! But in this season of gift giving, remember to make time for your endof-the-year charitable giving as well. I hope you will consider making a gift to NOBTS. God has been faithful to His Word and supplied for our needs this past year. And we are currently working to reach a lofty Providence Fund goal of $1.5 million by July 2015. Every dollar given to the Providence Fund helps NOBTS keep tuition as low as possible. It benefits every student. Please consider making a year-end gift to the Providence Fund. For more information, contact me at 504-816-8002 or email

12 VISION | FALL 2014




Michael Earl Moskau

Feb. 1, 1957–July 21, 2014


eminary contractor and donor Michael Earl Moskau, 57, passed away on July 21, 2014, after a lengthy illness. To New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Moskau was much more than a contractor and donor. He was a friend, committed partner in ministry and the man who rebuilt the campus twice. In the late 1990s, when the seminary discovered extensive damage from Formosian termites, the administration turned to Moskau’s MGM Construction for help. The campus required significant work to mitigate the termite damage, and through Moskau’s hard work, the campus never looked better. Following Hurricane Katrina, NOBTS turned to Moskau again to rebuild the campus. During the early days of the recovery efforts, Moskau had to commute daily from Florida to oversee the rebuild. Without Moskau’s tireless work and extensive network for securing building materials, the seminary could not have reopened in New Orleans by April 2006. The campus, lovingly and beautifully restored by Moskau and MGM Construction, was the talk of town in the early days of the recovery. The campus restoration buoyed recovery efforts in the entire Gentilly neighborhood.



Rose Barbara Ramsey May 6, 1917–Oct. 14, 2014


ose Barbara Ramsey, 97, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and aunt, passed away peacefully at her home in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 14, 2014. She was a strong and generous woman who will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by family and friends. Rose was born on May 6, 1917, in Goodlettsville, Tenn., the daughter of Elroy and Katherine Diatikar. Rose was raised in Old Hickory, Tenn., and graduated from DuPont High School. Following high school she attended Peabody College and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education. Rose taught elementary students until her marriage to James Ramsey in July, 1941. For the next 67 years, through wars and peace, she shared his life and his work, and together they raised two sons, James and Scott. Rose and Jim retired to Austin, Texas, in 1981, after Jim’s long and successful career with Shell Oil.

During their fall meeting in October, the NOBTS Board of Trustees voted to establish the Michael E. Moskau Award for Outstanding Kingdom Service. The award will be given each year during the meeting of the NOBTS Foundation Board to recognize the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the mission of NOBTS. Moskau was born on February 1, 1957, in New Orleans to Margaret Pouncey Moskau and the late Merwin J. Moskau. He was the beloved husband of Sara V. “Ginger” Moskau, his true love, for 36 years. He was the devoted father of Christy Moskau Hudson (Jason) of Hattiesburg, Miss., Andrew Moskau of Birmingham, Ala., and Emily Moskau (Casey Perez) of Metairie, La. His family remembers him as a visionary, philanthropist, mischief-maker and a friend to all. Moskau was a lifelong resident of Metairie and graduated from East Jefferson High School in 1975. He served as president of Moskau Acoustics, Inc. from 1982 to 2003, president of MGM Construction Co., Inc. since 1983, president of Magnum Farms, Inc. since 2009, and was a partner in cglm, Inc. (La-Z-Boy Furniture Stores) for 25 years. Moskau gave his time and money to help train ministers for Gospel service. He served as a member of The Foundation Board at Mississippi College, the NOBTS Foundation Board, Providence Housing Corporation and Providence Education Foundation. Moskau also gave a major gift to launch the Moskau Institute of Archaeology at NOBTS, which sponsors the seminary’s archaeological work in Gezer, Israel.

During retirement Rose continued to skillfully manage her family and her investments. She continued to act on her faith by her involvement at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, where at 95 she finally finished a Sunday School teaching career which had lasted over 60 years. She cherished her spiritual family at Hyde Park and at NOBTS, an institution which she and Jim supported and loved. The Ramseys began supporting NOBTS when Landrum P. Leavell II was president. In February 2012, Ramsey and her son, Scott, returned to the seminary campus to deliver the Ramseys’ largest gift — $416,880 — to establish the James D. and Rose Ramsey Chair of Psychology and Counseling. The money was placed in the New Orleans Baptist Seminary Foundation, and the interest generated by the gift pays the salary of a counseling professor. Rose is survived by her sons, James Ramsey of Morristown, New Jersey, and Scott Ramsey and his wife, Cindy, of Houston; her grandchildren, Kelly Ramsey, James M. Ramsey, Benjamin Ramsey, and Joshua Ramsey; great step-grandchildren, Paula and Samuel Henson, and Sarah Pavlock, and their parents; as well as a host of nieces and nephews, from Texas to Tennessee and England, including the youngest, Logan and Scarlett Rose. She is also survived by many friends who enriched her life and whom she deeply loved. FALL 2014 | VISION 13


Providence Fund Helps Students Explore the Call to Missions in Remote Places “We have been waiting for someone to come and tell us about God. We want to know the whole story.” These were the joyous and grateful words of the village leader of an unreached people group deep in the Amazon jungle. Earlier this year, a team consisting of three NOBTS students, one NOBTS alum, and two local church members traveled to that remote location to work alongside a team of missionaries in Peru. They would be the first outside group to bring with them the story of the Gospel. Justin Frederick, an NOBTS student, was on that team. We joined a team of IMB (International Mission Board) missionaries who are working in a small town in the Amazon jungle. They are using well digging and health education as an access point for sharing the Gospel with remote villages scattered up and down the Amazon River. Early in the week, our team came into contact with the patriarch of this small village, and after sharing a story from the Bible with him, he told us that he believed our team was sent by God and was eager to find out why. Later that week, my wife had the opportunity to go house to house sharing about the Bible and God’s demand to love our neighbor. After this, the village leader told us that he felt like he now knew why God had sent us there. He wanted the missionaries to come back and teach him the whole Bible from cover to cover. As the leader of his village, this man could have an incredible influence in his community if he chooses to embrace Jesus. We planted the seed, and we pray that it continues to grow. Because of the relationships formed on this trip, the IMB plans to send missionaries to this same village for the purpose of teaching the village leader the story of the Bible from “creation to Christ.” Seeds have been planted in fertile soil. NOBTS students and many others are bringing the story of God’s love to people who have never heard it. This is where you come in. With private gifts of support, NOBTS students receive the training and equipping to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. You play an important role, not only in what God is doing in students’ lives here at NOBTS, but in how He is using them to reach people in the most remote areas of the world.


Josh Browning, left, and Courtney Frederick teach Peruvian children a lesson on the importance of hand washing. Later Browning and Frederick shared a Bible story with the children.

Jeremy Wicker, an alumus of NOBTS who also went on the mission trip, recognizes the importance that his theological training had in equipping him to share the Gospel. I felt called to come to NOBTS for several reasons—a heart for the city, a seminary in a city with so much need, a practical learning environment, professors that want to be involved in your life, faculty that are seasoned ministers still doing ministry, professors who would not necessarily give us all of the answers but instead the tools to find them, a desire to grow in my walk with Christ and in ministry, and a heart to be trained and equipped to serve. [...] Going to South America was a wonderful experience. I am so thankful to the Lord for the opportunity. It gave me new perspective and helped me to better understand God’s heart for the nations. It also helped me to see His sovereignty. Whether ministering where the story of the Gospel is familiar or foreign, the theological training NOBTS students receive prepares them for practical ministry in all contexts. God has called us to make disciples of every nation. He may not be calling you to far away jungle villages, but He may be asking you to help others fulfill their calling. As NOBTS trains and equips students to go out and make disciples, your support helps make theological training affordable and attainable for all God-called men and women.

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First Baptist Church Minden Blesses Single NOBTS Students with Gift Cards BY CHASE ROGERS


n October, single students on the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary campus were showered with gift cards from members of First Baptist Church of Minden, La. Students received gift cards ranging anywhere from $15 to 50 in value for use at the new Walmart located next to the seminary campus. “Our faith family has fallen in love with New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary students and we just wanted to show our love with these small gifts,” said Rose Crawford, wife of FBC Minden Pastor Leland Crawford. “Our hearts go out to all of the students, because we know what it’s like to be seminary students … we’ve been there.” Crawford, a daughter of a pastor and former seminary student, knows the needs of seminary students. She also remembers raising three girls while her husband attended school at NOBTS. “I know what its like to be in ministry and see the people of God be a blessing for students studying for vocational ministry,” she said. “We just wanted to be that same kind of blessing for students at NOBTS.” Crawford was first burdened for the needs of students at NOBTS during a Trustee Wives’ visit to the campus. While she was being shown the campus by Dr. Rhonda Kelley, wife of NOBTS President Chuck Kelley, she knew that she and her church wanted to reach out to the students. “After viewing the campus, my first instinct was to ask ‘What are the needs of those living on the campus?,’” she said. Crawford understood that families on campus were in need. In response, she and her church gathered nearly fifty meals to give to student families on campus. “A meal could be a blessing to that family who, in return, could be a blessing to someone else,” she said. The gift of meals by First Baptist Minden was only the beginning. Crawford asked that members of her church provide 100 gift cards for students on campus. “There was no

Rose Crawford, second from left, presents a basket of gift cards to the Office of Student Services staff, including Dr. Judi Jackson and Holly Allen.

“OUR FAITH FAMILY HAS FALLEN IN LOVE WITH NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY STUDENTS AND WE JUST WANTED TO SHOW OUR LOVE WITH THESE SMALL GIFTS.” ROSE CRAWFORD set value of gift card to be given, we just wanted people to give what they could. We had people say ‘All I can give is $15,’ but $15 makes a difference,” she said. “My goal was to call Dr. [Rhonda] Kelley when we had 87 cards, but it didn’t take long for us to get over100 cards to give out to the students.” The members of First Baptist Minden gave over 160 gift cards to single students living in campus housing at NOBTS. “This was a way for our people to be a blessing to the students of NOBTS . . . and our people really came through for us,” said Crawford. Those who gave from First Baptist Minden wanted to give more than just a monetary gift. They wanted to remind the students at NOBTS about God’s love for them in a time of need. “I can remember that seminary was a tough time for my family,” said Crawford, “but it was also the time when my

husband was called to be a pastor and this calling came during a time of need.” She reflected on God’s faithfulness during their time in seminary and wanted to remind current students of God’s continued faithfulness. “God knows your needs and hasn’t forgotten you, “ she said. “This is part of your calling and God will take care of you and He will meet your needs no matter how long you spend walking through a dark valley.” “Even when you leave seminary and have times of struggle in ministry, God will always be there,” Crawford said. “My family and I are thankful to serve in a place that desires to help those who are preparing for ministry and show them God’s love.” Gifts from First Baptist Minden totaled over $4,100 dollars and demonstrated that even small gifts are a blessing. FALL 2014 | VISION 15

Rev. Steve Caskey: ‘Planting, Watering, Nourishing’ for God BY GARY D. MYERS


lanting, watering and nourishing. These three words describe the life and ministry of Rev. Steve Caskey (1916-1972), namesake of the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Born to a farming family in rural Allen Parish, La., Caskey came to Christ at Palestine Baptist Church and was baptized in a nearby creek. By all accounts, his father was a hard man who was against the church. He was not pleased to hear his son had embraced Christianity. Later, Caskey dropped out school after the 8th grade at his father’s urging. Though only a young teenager, Caskey was needed to work the farm. Then one day while plowing a field, Caskey experienced a call to ministry he could not shake. Though he had no formal education and felt inadequate, Caskey committed himself to God’s calling on his life. Again, his father was not pleased and strongly encouraged him not to become a pastor. At the time, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, so Caskey joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and went out West where he found himself planting again — this time he planted trees. A large portion of the CCC money he earned went home to keep food on his family’s table. All the while, Caskey held on to the call of God on his life. When Caskey returned home from the CCC, he married his sweetheart, Vicie, and began preaching and serving the Lord. Quickly, though, he realized his need to study and prepare for ministry, so Caskey enrolled in Acadia Baptist Academy in Eunice, La., a Christian high school sponsored by the Louisiana Baptist Convention from 1917 to 1973. During his time there, Caskey and his wife welcomed the first of their three children, a baby girl. Caskey graduated from the academy in 1947 as the class salutatorian. Shortly thereafter, Caskey was called to his first fulltime pastorate at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Coushatta, La. Ministry education and personal study were both very important to Caskey. According to family members, Caskey got up early each morning to study his Bible and prepare sermons. He also read other books to learn as much as he could about the Bible and about ministry. Later, seeking more formal study, Caskey enrolled at Louisiana College (LC), where he studied for two years. However, as a busy pastor, husband and father of three with little money, Caskey could not continue at LC. Throughout the rest of his life, Caskey studied on his own in order to faithfully preach and teach God’s Word. Caskey had a deep sense of calling to smaller churches. According to family members, he was not looking to “work his way up” to a big church. He loved ministering in the rural setting, reaching rural people. In the small churches of rural Louisiana, Caskey found the “field” God had given him to “plant, water and nourish.” The calling was not always easy for the Caskeys, but they embraced it as a family.

“They were given tasks to do to build up God’s Kingdom,” a family member wrote in a letter to Caskey’s grandchildren. “It was not possible for them to do what they did out of their own strength. They allowed God to work through them and He accomplished what He willed. Their task in the Kingdom was to ‘be’ like Christ, to let their ‘light’ shine before others and to ‘go’ where they were sent.” As a small church pastor, Caskey often took on many additional roles at each church. In many of the churches he served, he was also the custodian and facility caretaker. The hard work took a toll on his life. At age 56, while serving as the pastor of Union Hall Baptist Church in Coushatta, Caskey died of a heart attack. “They gave the best years of their lives to the most important work there is,” a family member wrote about the Caskeys. “They accepted the responsibility and difficulties of being Jesus’ representative to people who needed Him. No one will ever know the totality of what their lives meant to others; they didn’t expect to know themselves. They gave their lives to plant, water and nourish.” Though he pastored small churches, Caskey had a significant impact on his family and the members of the churches he served. His love of learning and his desire to improve his ministry skills made an impact on those who knew him. As a result of that impact, an anonymous donor established the Caskey Center at NOBTS in his honor. The goal of the scholarship program is to remove the financial barrier that often prevents pastors of smaller churches and bivocational ministers from getting high-quality ministerial education. Through the Caskey Center, smaller church ministers in Louisiana and Mississippi now have the opportunity to get the training that Caskey desired but was unable to get through formal channels. The donor hopes that, with the Caskey Center’s focus on biblical exposition and evangelism, smaller church pastors and bivocational ministers will inject new life in the churches they serve. In essence, the plan is to raise up a new generation who will plant, water and nourish through the work of smaller churches in Louisiana and Mississippi.

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New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Chuck Kelley preaches during the graduation service at Western Cuba Baptist Theological Seminary in Havana, Cuba.


A seminary graduate receives a congratulatory hug following the ceremony.

Kelley Encourages Cuban Seminary Graduates BY FRANK MICHAEL McCORMACK


hey arrived in personal cars, public buses, retrofitted cattle trucks or on foot, traveling anywhere from a few blocks to a few hours away. Students in caps and gowns, along with family, faculty and friends, gathered July 4 in historic Calvary Baptist Church — a domed former circus building in Old Havana, Cuba — to celebrate their graduation from the Western Cuba Baptist Theological Seminary. They received degrees in counseling, theology, pastoral ministry, youth ministry and worship — and made incredible sacrifices along the way. In Cuba, where a meager government salary of $20 to $30 a month is guaranteed for most professions, choosing a life of ministry means forfeiting that income and looking to the church for support. But in the words of Philippians 3:8, the students — and those who have gone before them — have considered “everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus” and making him known. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has long partnered with the seminary in Havana. NOBTS faculty members Ed and Kathy Steele, Mike Sharp, Darryl Ferrington and others have been instrumental in helping the Havana seminary launch its worship and counseling programs. As a symbol of that partnership — and as part of an exploratory trip to further develop that collaborative effort — NOBTS President Chuck Kelley delivered the commencement speech at the graduation ceremony. Kelley shared a challenge from Philippians 3:13-14: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

“WE CELEBRATE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, BUT WE LOOK FORWARD TO WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO.” DR. CHUCK KELLEY “We celebrate what you have done, but we look forward to what you are going to do,” Kelley said. “Paul encourages us to learn two important skills: He said to forget everything that lies behind and stretch out to what lies ahead.” Kelley described how Paul started churches all across the Roman empire, was arrested and spent significant time in prison, was shipwrecked, was plotted against — yet in every circumstance used mightily by God. In freedom and captivity, he wrote the letters, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that would become over half the New Testament. Paul’s life of faithfulness offers a powerful example for the graduates, Kelley said. “No matter what your circumstances, God has something more for you,” Kelley said. “And my encouragement to you graduates is simply this: Celebrate this moment. Enjoy what you have done. But get ready, because God has something more for you. You are the people God intends to use to change the world. Never forget. God always has something more for you.” To learn more about the ongoing work in Cuba, contact Drs. Ed and Kathy Steele at or ksteele@

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Christians should defend religious liberty for all people, not just for themselves, Russell Moore said in a packed room on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In doing so, he said, believers can help insure that the church can go about its mission without government intrusion. Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, made the comments during the “Challenges to Religious Liberty” conference Sept. 30 – an event sponsored by New Orleans Seminary’s Institute for Faith and the Public Square. Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, and Carol Swain, Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University, also spoke about issues affecting religious liberty. “We must fight for religious liberty for all people, because if we have the sort of society where consciences can be paved over by state action, that not only treats human persons as things and objects, that is a danger and a repudiation to the Gospel,” Moore said. Planning is underway for the next IFPS event, “Baptist Voices on Religious Liberty,” set for Sept. 29, 2015, at NOBTS.

For the second consecutive year, NOBTS Ph.D. students have swept the field in receiving the top Southern Baptist Reasearch Fellowship research awards. Ji Eun Yoo (Christian education) has been named the Southern Baptist Research Fellowship (SBRF) Researcher of the Year for 2014 for her dissertation, “An Investigation into the Relationship between Ministerial Satisfaction and Spiritual Well-Being among Women in Ministerial Positions in Korean Baptist Churches,” guided by Drs. Donna Peavey, Judi Jackson, and Bill Day. Ji Eun is pictured above during the May graduation. Ji Eun and her husband, Min Seok Jang, are the first Korean couple to both earn Ph.D. degrees from NOBTS. Receiving the runner-up SBRF award is Kelly Rinehart for her dissertation, “Spirituality as a Moderator of PostTraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Military Personnel: A Meta-Analysis,” guided by Drs. Kristyn Carver, Kathy Steele, and Bill Day. Kelly defended her dissertation at 2:00 a.m. from her Army chaplaincy post in Parwan, Afganistan. She recently was accepted to the Texas A&M University School of Law. NOBTS also swept the top SBRF awards in 2013. Albert Hung (Psychology and Counseling, May 2013) was named Researcher of the Year for 2013. Stephanie Edge (Christian Education) received second place.

For years Johnny Hunt has taken time from his busy pastoral schedule to encourage ministers across the country through Timothy+Barnabas conferences. On Sept. 4, Hunt led a special, one-day Timothy+Barnabas event for the next generation of pastors at New Orleans Seminary. Hunt, longtime Pastor of Woodstock Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, began the daylong event at NOBTS by preaching to a packed house at Leavell Chapel. The message, which Hunt called “Jesus Overcoming Me,” focused on the sanctification God wants to bring in the lives of believers. During two afternoon sessions, Hunt focused on “Stewardship of Influence.” Hunt posed a series of questions dealing with godly influence. In the first session, Hunt encouraged his listeners to build influence with intentionality. Teaching from Exodus 18 in the second session, Hunt pointed to the leadership training Moses received from his father-in-law, Jethro. The Timothy+Barnabas organization provided the conference to students and local pastors free-of-charge. The North American Mission Board’s Pastors for Pastors initiative co-sponsored the event.

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Event Highlights Bible Translation Needs for Unreached Groups

I CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON DISCIPESHIP Dr. Chuck Kelley was one of the keynote speakers at the Xcelerate Conference Oct. 16 and 17. The event, sponsored by the seminary’s Center for Discipleship and Spiritual Formation, is a new annual event designed to foster enhanced discipleship and Christian edcuation efforts on the local church level. Other speakers included NOBTS professors Dr. Allen Jackson and Dr. Hal Stewart, along with author and discipleship practitionor Dr. Steve Parr.

For More Detailed Reports on These Events and Additional News visit:

n the world today, 180 million people have no Scripture in their language. Not the New Testament. Not one of the Gospels. Not one word. Billions more have a written text of Scripture in their language, but cannot read. All of those people need the Bible translated, whether into a written text or into stories which can be transmitted orally. With that global need in mind, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) hosted the “Bible Translation as Missions” colloquium Oct. 20. The one-day event featured presentations and question-and-answer sessions with eight scholars who represented organizations engaged in Bible translation for the sake of Christian missions. “One goal of the colloquium was to educate people about the nature and status of Bible translation work globally,” said Dr. Adam Harwood, Professor of Theology at NOBTS and Director of the school’s Baptist Center for Theological and Mission, which co-sponsored the event. “We also wanted to connect individuals interested in translating

the Bible for the purpose of Christian missions with experts in the field.” The colloquium was the first of its kind at NOBTS and was sponsored by three of the seminary’s research centers: the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry, the Global Missions Center, and the Center for New Testament Textual Studies. Harwood said he hopes NOBTS will host another similar event sometime during the fall of 2016.



Providence Fund New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary


giving changes lives

Every dollar you give to the Providence Fund is a dollar that does not have to come out of a student’s pocket. In other words, every gift, no matter how large or how small, makes a difference. We count on your partnership and your ongoing support to help keep tuition affordable for those called to pursue a theological education. For more information please contact Randy Driggers in The Office for Institutional Advancement.

Randy Driggers Vice President for Institutional Advancement Toll-free 1-800-662-8701, ext. 3252 Email: 3939 Gentilly Boulevard New Orleans, LA 70126




fter the Israelites entered the Promised Land of Canaan following 400 years of bondage in Egypt, the ancient city of Gezer was memorialized in Scripture, but not in a positive way. Gezer is forever connected with the failure of God’s people to fully possess the land He had given them. Gezer – where New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is engaged in archaeological discovery – was allotted to the tribe of Ephraim, as recorded in Joshua 16:3 and 16:10, and it became one of the Levitical cities, according to Joshua 21:21. At that time, the Bible offers a blunt assessment of what did not happen at Gezer:

But, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. So the Canaanites live in Ephraim to this day, but they are forced laborers. (Joshua 16:10, HCSB) In the biblical record, Gezer also is connected to the Israelites’ conquest of the land. In Joshua 10:33 and again in 12:12, Scripture records an account of the Battle of Makkedah in the Aijalon Valley. When

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POTTERY FOUND IN THE SYSTEM PRIMARILY DATES TO THE LATE BRONZE AGE. Much of the pottery discovered during the 2014 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary dig in Gezer dated to the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500 B.C.). This piece was imported from Cyprus to Israel in the Late Bronze Age.

Volunteers discover a large piece of pottery in the basin area of the ancient Gezer water system in Israel. the king of Gezer led his army south to help defend the Canaanite stronghold of Lachish, Israel prevailed, capturing Lachish and killing the king of Gezer. The monumental Canaanite ruins at Gezer still bear witness to their strength and their devotion to false gods. Because the Israelites failed to drive out the Canaanites in cities such as Gezer, the worship of idols became a trap for God’s people. For the past five years, a team of archaeologists and volunteers from New Orleans Seminary’s Moskau Institute of Archaeology has excavated at Gezer with the goal of determining who constructed the ancient water system and when it was constructed. The Gezer excavation is a joint project of the Moskau Institute and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA). The dig is co-directed by NOBTS Professor Dan Warner and INPA Chief Archaeologist Tsvika Tsuk. Jim Parker, NOBTS Professor and Executive Director of the Moskau ISnstitute, and NOBTS Professor Dennis Cole, Chairman of the Division of Biblical Studies, also provide leadership for the dig. In conjunction with the dig, NOBTS has launched an academic program in archaeology, offering a Master of Arts in Biblical Archaeology. By Warner’s estimate, the Canaanites likely built the water system between 2000-1800 B.C. during the height of Gezer’s prominence as a Canaanite citystate. Though this would place construction 500-700 years before the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the water system can shed light on the Canaanite people and their culture — a culture which plays such a significant role in the Old Testament. The Canaanites experienced a time of cultural decline in the years before the conquest but they were still a formidable foe with heavily fortified cities. The water system, along with the massive defensive walls and gate, illustrate an advanced society with great technical know-how, significant engineering skills and a desire to build things on a large scale. “This is an unbelievable water system. It’s monumental. There is nothing like it in the world,” said Warner, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Archaeology at NOBTS. “It is one of the oldest and largest [water systems] in the world.” The system, which provided a water source inside the walls of Gezer, consists of four parts: a keyhole-shaped entrance, a long diagonal shaft, a basin to collect CONTINUED I FALL 2014 | VISION 21

water and a cavern located just beyond the basin. The massive water system, at its opening, measures 12 feet wide and 24 feet high, stretching 130 feet into the ground at a 38-degree slope. Irish archaeologist R.A.S. Macalister excavated the system from 1906 to 1908. He and French archaeologist Peré Vincent, who visited the site, produced detailed drawings and accounts of the system’s features. Shortly after the excavation, a retaining wall collapsed and refilled the water system. It remained untouched for 102 years. Macalister dated the system to the Middle Bronze Age. However, many modern archaeologists attribute its construction to the Iron Age Israelites under King Ahab (c. 870 B.C.). These are the two most logical options since the other monumental building projects at Gezer also were completed during these distinct periods.

GEZER: A BRIEF HISTORY In the Middle Bronze Age, Gezer grew from a small village into a heavily fortified city-state. The Canaanites built high stone walls, massive towers and a mud-brick gate system to protect the city. King Solomon started another construction boom in the Iron Age. He rebuilt and fortified Gezer and strengthened the defenses at Hazor, Jerusalem and Megiddo (1 Kings 9:15-17). Some archaeologists believe that water systems around the time of King Ahab were built at Hazor and Megiddo, leading them to date the Gezer system to the same period. Recent evidence may date Megiddo to the earlier Middle Bronze Age, providing additional evidence for Gezer’s early dating. During his dig, Macalister cleared the shaft and cut probes into the cavern but he did not excavate the basin area. Instead, he laid a “causeway” of stones across the muddy basin to reach the cavern. While the causeway helped Macalister’s team reach the cavern, it also protected materials resting in the basin from contamination following the retaining wall’s 1908 collapse. The NOBTS/INPA team discovered Macalister’s causeway during the 2012 dig season. The 2014 excavation plan called for clearing the entire width of the basin and exposing the bottom of the basin. The 22 VISION | FALL 2014

A large crane lifts a bag from the Gezer water system. The dirt and ancient material are placed in bags at the bottom of the system and pulled up to opening with a winch. Then the bags are lifted out and placed near the sifting table using a crane.

HOW THE CANAANITES COULD BUILD SUCH A SYSTEM REMAINS A MYSTERY. dirt sealed below the causeway would be sifted for pottery to help establish a date for the system’s construction. The first goal proved too large for one season. The team cleared half the width from the bottom step of the water shaft to the cavern entrance but failed to find the lowest point of the basin (which is believed to be the source for the water). The bottom is still sloping at a steep angle, so far, reaching nine feet below the causeway. The lowest point of the bottom must be well inside the cavern. This enormity was unexpected. The second goal, collecting finds and pottery to help determine a date for the system, proved more attainable. The team

discovered thousands of broken pottery pieces sealed under Macalister’s causeway, most dating to the Late Bronze Age (c. 1550-1200 B.C.). Since these finds date the last use of the system, the wear on the steps indicate a construction date for the tunnel much earlier, likely the Middle Bronze Age. The Bible provides additional dating clues. David’s men utilized a “water shaft” to invade and conquer the fortress of Zion/ Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:6-8). Archaeological evidence found there confirms that rockhewn systems were present in the land long before the time of Ahab. Based on all the available data, Warner believes the Gezer system was carved very close to


“IF THE CANAANITES DID NOT DEVELOP THE TECHNIQUES, I THINK MAYBE THEY WERE SPREADING THE TECHNOLOGY TO OTHERS.” DR. DAN WARNER the time of the water system in Jerusalem dating around 2000 B.C. How the Canaanites could build such a system remains a mystery. Many have attributed the system to outside influences such as the Minoans, Egyptians or Mesopotamians. But the Middle Bronze Age dating removes that option. Warner maintains the possibility that the Canaanites developed the technology. “I think the Canaanites, by this time period, have reached a level of engineering ability to do this,” Warner said. “If the Canaanites did not develop the techniques, I think maybe they were spreading the technology to others.”

Dig volunteer Emily Canada clears layers of dirt from “Macalister’s Causeway” in the Gezer Water System.

Join NOBTS for the 2015 Dig Season; Gezer Draws More Media Attention The 2014 season marked the conclusion of the Moskau Institute’s original commitment at Gezer. However, with more work to do, NOBTS renewed its commitment for several additional years and will continue to excavate the water system. With the extra time, the crew will be able to clear the entire basin, explore and study the cavern and investigate how the system functioned. After the completion of the NOBTS/INPA dig, the Israeli government plans to equip the tunnel with stairs and open portions of the system to the public. Next year’s dig at Gezer will run from May 24 to June 11. For information about Gezer or for details regarding participation in the 2015 dig, contact Dr. Dan Warner ( or Dr. Dennis Cole ( at NOBTS. Those interested in the Master of Arts degree in Biblical Archaeology may contact Warner or Cole for more information.

Gezer featured in German Catholic magazine

Tsvika Tsuk, Chief Archaeologist for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, left, and volunteer Larry Canada sort and mark pottery pieces at the dig tent.

The Gezer dig continues to garner attention in archaeology and biblical studies circles. Reports about the dig have been common in American and Israeli media (radio, television, magazines and newspapers). Now the dig has caught the attention of Welt and Umwelt der Bibel (World and Environment of the Bible), a biblical archaeology, art and history magazine published by the Catholic Bible Society of Germany. FALL 2014 | VISION 23




eavell College student Joy Pigg enjoys a ministry challenge. The Conyers, Ga., native jumped at the opportunity to help launch a new Baptist Collegiate Ministries group at Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO). As challenging as it is to start a new ministry group on a college campus, Pigg’s vision stretches far beyond SUNO to even bigger ministry challenges. The deep burden on her heart is to see Baptist campus ministry groups launched or reestablished at historically black colleges/universities (HBCU) across the country. For now, her attention is on SUNO. Just two miles north of the NOBTS campus, SUNO received severe damage during Hurricane Katrina. Caught between the recovery red tape and historic state budget cuts to higher education, SUNO has struggled to rebuild and revitalize its campus after the storm. On top of the challenges posed by the slow recovery, the school has a large commuter population, making it more difficult for ministry groups to reach students. But Pigg took up the challenge with the goal of establishing a strong Gospel witness on the campus. Pigg, working with NOBTS alumnus Jason Thomas and NOBTS student DeAron Washington, is slowly meeting students, faculty and administrators. So far, the campus has welcomed the new ministry with open arms. They have launched a Bible study and plan to start a worship experience in the spring. “We have so many new students [at SUNO] who are interested in BCM,” Pigg said. “I am so excited about that. Last year we had about seven or eight students in Bible study and now there are 15 to 20 people talking about it.” Pigg said that SUNO is beginning to make recovery strides and she believes that BCM has an important role to play in the campus renewal. BCM is becoming a foundational part of the new SUNO, she said. Pigg hopes the work at SUNO will inspire others to lead ministries at HBCUs. “That’s where my heart is – the HBCU,” Pigg said. “There are 105 HBCUs in the country, only 19 have BCMs (or BSUs). I

think that’s a little bit tragic. I hope to be influential in bringing campus ministry back to these campuses.” The burden for black colleges began while Pigg was attending Tennessee State University, an HBCU in Nashville. With her focus on ministry, Pigg decided to transfer to the NOBTS/Leavell College extension center in Marietta, Ga. In 2013, she moved to the main campus in New Orleans to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry degree at Leavell College.

“THAT’S WHERE MY HEART IS – THE HBCU. THERE ARE 105 HBCUs IN THE COUNTRY, ONLY 19 HAVE BCMs (OR BSUs). I THINK THAT’S A LITTLE BIT TRAGIC. I HOPE TO BE INFLUENTIAL IN BRINGING CAMPUS MINISTRY BACK TO THESE CAMPUSES.” JOY PIGG “Joy has been a great addition to our ministry at SUNO,” said Thomas. “She has an insight into historically black colleges that has helped us to navigate programming and networking. This assists in her ability to reach students for Christ. ”

NAAF SCHOLARSHIP BCM leaders in New Orleans are not the only ones to notice Pigg’s giftedness as a minister. This summer, Pigg was one of the first recipients of the National African American

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Leavell College student Joy Pigg, left, meets students at Southern University of New Orleans. Pigg serves as an intern with Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the historically black university just north of the NOBTS campus.

“NEW ORLEANS IS A BIG ‘GUMBO POT’ ANYWAY. I BELIEVE THAT THE SEMINARY IS STARTING THE REFLECT THAT, BUT MORE STUDENTS NEED TO GET INVOLVED IN MAKING THAT HAPPEN.” JOY PIGG Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention (NAAF) Scholarship which was given during the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference at Ridgecrest. NAAF created the scholarship fund to assist and encourage black students who are studying for ministry. “It is a tremendous honor,” Pigg said. “I take it humbly and I hope that it is the first of many, because there are a lot more African American students coming through the SBC schools.” The black student population at NOBTS, which stands at 310 students, has been growing in recent years, thanks in part to initiatives such as the African American Student Scholarship launched in 2011. This year alone, NOBTS awarded 73 African American Scholarship. In addition, a number of Louisiana-based African American pastors and bivocational ministers were awarded full-tuition scholarship by the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at NOBTS. Pigg said she is excited to see the growing number of black

students in seminary and believes scholarships like the one she received and the NOBTS-based scholarships will help additional students receive theological training. Pigg is also looking for ways to help with the process. “I have been talking to Dr. Walter Strickland at Southeastern [Seminary], who is the chair of the diversity initiative there. In some of our exchanges we have been talking about what Kingdom diversity will look like at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary,” Pigg said. “I am hoping to aid in that by bringing back the Black Seminarians [student club] and starting a gospel choir.” “New Orleans is a big ‘gumbo pot’ anyway,” she said. “I believe that the seminary is starting the reflect that, but more students need to get involved in making that happen.” FALL 2014 | VISION 25


Eight Faculty Members Honored for Service at NOBTS New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley recognized faculty members were honored for anniversaries of 10, 15, 20, 30 and 35 years at the school during the annual convocation service in Leavell Chapel Sept. 2.

35 Years Dr. Dan Holcomb

30 Years Dr. Jimmy Dukes

20 Years Dr. Darryl Ferrington

Senior Professor of Church History

Senior Professor of New Testament and Greek and Director of Prison Programs

15 Years Dr. Philip Pinckard

10 Years Dr. Jeff Griffin

10 Years Dr. Jeff Nave

10 Years Dr. Bob Hall

Professor of Missions and Director of the Global Missions Center

Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and Dean of Libraries

Professor of Psychology and Counseling and Director of Testing and Counseling

Ministry-based Faculty and Director of the Birmingham Extension

Professor of Music Education

20 Years Dr. Allen Jackson Professor of Youth Education and Director of the Youth Ministry Institute

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Carver Completes TBRI Training at TCU


r. Kristyn Carver has completed training in Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI) at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development. TBRI is an emerging intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavioral problems. It has been applied successfully in a variety of contexts and with many children for whom numerous other interventions have failed. Dr. Carver is the only person in the State of Louisiana certified to teach TBRI.



Dr. Clifford Ferris Jordan Jan. 2, 1934–Nov. 10, 2014


r. Clifford Ferris Jordan passed away on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. He was a minister to churches in Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee, and Professor Emeritus at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he taught from 1978 until his retirement in 1998. Jordan was also an Adult Consultant at the Baptist Sunday School Board. He loved teaching, writing and preaching, and he devoted his life to the Lord. He was a member of Istrouma Baptist Church where he served in many capacities through the years. Jordan is survived by his wife, June Jordan; daughter, Teri Amedee; and his three grandchildren, Hunter, Christian, and Archer Amedee. He was preceded in death by his father, Clifford Jordan, and his mother, Addie Kinchen Jordan. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to the Ferris and June Jordan Scholarship Fund in Christian Education.

Sympathy cards may be sent to: Mrs. June Jordan 1819 Myrtle Ridge Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70816



Lemke and Riley Named to ERLC Research Institute


he Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced the launch of a new Research Institute under the direction of its president, Russell Moore, and the appointment of an array of new scholars and professionals as research fellows. Dr. Steve Lemke, Provost and Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at NOBTS, was named a Research Fellow. Dr. Jeffrey Riley, Professor of Ethics and Chairman of the Division of Theological and Historical Studies at NOBTS, was named a Research Fellow in Christian Ethics.

IN PRINT The New Prophecy and ‘New Visions’: Evidence of Montanism in ‘The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas’ BorderStone Press, 2014 By Dr. Rex Butler, Professor of Church History and Patristics at NOBTS

Modern English Version Bible Passio, 2014 Dr. Archie England, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, provided translations of 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. FALL 2014 | VISION 27



Alex Gonzalez, Youth Minister at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., and a 1990 graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, tours the San Pedro de la Roca Castle outside Santiago de Cuba. Gonzalez, whose parents came to the United States from Cuba in 1950, was in Cuba for the first time as part of a mission team Oct. 11-18.

Cuba Trip Connects Alumnus with His Family’s Homeland BY FRANK MICHAEL McCORMACK


alking down the street in Santiago de Cuba, Alex Gonzalez could pass as a local. He has the looks and the vernacular. In conversation, he moves from intense seriousness to the infectious laughter so often heard there around dinner tables and from inside packed cars. Gonzalez (M.Div. 1990 and Youth Minister at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina, N.C.) traveled to Santiago Oct. 11-18, as part of a mission team led by Dr. Bill Warren, Pastor of Jacob’s Well Church in Pass Christian, Miss., Professor of New Testament and Greek at NOBTS, and a former missionary to Colombia.

While in Santiago, Gonzalez was a key translator for the group, interpreting sermons, house visits and class lectures at the Eastern Cuba Baptist Theological Seminary where NOBTS Missions Professor Philip Pinckard was a guest teacher. He also had the opportunity to preach. And yet Gonzalez’s trip to Santiago also served a dual purpose: It was his first time to visit his ancestral homeland and connect family stories to a historical place. Gonzalez was born in 1960 in the Washington D.C. area to Cuban parents who had immigrated to the United States in 1950. His late father, Carlos, was from Antilla, a small town located on the northeastern coast, and his mother, Ofelia, was born in San Luis, a city of close to 100,000 just 12 miles north of Santiago.

28 VISION | FALL 2014

ALUMNI NEWS “They came over in 1950, my dad first and then my mom,” “I felt like I was at home in a lot of ways. They just felt like Gonzalez said. “For my dad, a lot of his family had already moved relatives. In other places I’ve been, I haven’t really felt that,” he over. A lot of his brothers had already made the move and were said. “Spanish is a common theme as far as language, but the living in Florida. Then my dad decided to make the jump.” camaraderie and that feeling of family had never come across Not long after, the couple moved to Washington D.C., where the same way as when I was there.” Gonzalez’s father began working at the Statler Hilton (now the Gonzalez also said the language in Cuba was more like what Capital Hilton). he’d hear in a family setting than in other countries. The couple traveled back to Cuba in 1954 after Gonzalez’s “They would say words I’d never heard except from my older brother was born. They visited again in 1959 when his parents and relatives, like ‘fulano,’” he said. “It’s just a joking older sister was a baby. word to call people when you can’t think of their name. It just “I think my mom wanted to go back and show my sister means ‘whoever.’ When I heard that, I was like, ‘Gee, I haven’t off,” Gonzalez said. “Mom was pregnant with me when she heard that [in other places].’” went the second time. But after the revolution, they never went back.” BECOMING BAPTIST As he grew up, Gonzalez said his family kept in touch with friends and relatives back in Cuba, which gave him some Though Gonzalez and his siblings grew up in the Catholic connection to current affairs on the island. church, they each connected to a Baptist community near “They were writing back and forth their home during their teenage years. and calling at that time to relatives, so His brother started dating a girl at the they were getting lots of information Baptist church. Then his sister started about how bad things were getting,” he working at the Baptist church’s daycare. recalled. “The youth minister started spending He said his father, an avid storyteller, a lot of time with me, taking me out. My would tell tales about growing up near parents got to know him pretty well, Fidel Castro, even playing baseball with and a couple other people,” he said. “I him. His dad also loved telling stories came to Christ, and my parents fought about what life in Antilla was like. my baptism like crazy. I was the baby, “My dad was a big joker, and and they thought that was their last sometimes it was hard to tell if he was link. They finally agreed to let me get telling the truth. My parents would baptized. always tell stories about living by the “They remained Catholic, so they water and that my dad would always go would go to the Catholic church and fishing. And they’d tell shark stories,” we would go to the Baptist church,” he Gonzalez said. “We just never knew, added. “It was less than a quarter mile Gonzalez Family Portrait, 1960s. because the stories were told so from our house, and usually we’d walk. outlandishly — especially the ones about I’d be there almost every day.” sharks.” Gonzalez was saved at 16 and felt called to ministry at During one of the class sessions at the seminary in Santiago, 17. He graduated high school, then went to Columbia Bible Gonzalez discovered that one of the students was pastor of College (now Columbia International University). Later, he a church in Antilla. Gonzalez finally had an opportunity for moved to New Orleans to earn a Master of Divinity from New independent verification. Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1990. “He described it to me, and I was like, ‘That’s exactly what In the New Orleans area, he served at First Baptist Church of my dad used to tell me’ and ‘Oh, so that was all true,’” Gonzalez Marrero. He’s also served churches in Texas, Florida, Georgia, said. “That just kind of brought it all together. It was like a South Carolina and now North Carolina for the last six years. revelation to me.” Gonzalez said he’d tried on several other occasions to visit Gonzalez said just walking the streets in and around Cuba, but it had never worked out. Then last spring, he received Santiago and spending time with Cubans was like a New Orleans Seminary’s biannual alumni magazine, “Vision.” homecoming. The cover story described the work in Santiago de Cuba “Everything there had family significance just knowing that and a group that went there with Warren in October 2013. everything is basically the same as what it was when they were He promptly called Warren, and “el resto es historia.” Now there,” he said. “The streets are the same, the buildings are the Gonzalez’s family history is part of his present and future. same. Just being there and walking down the same streets gave me a flair.” Editor’s note: Warren has been traveling to the Santiago area about Gonzalez was able to travel to the church where his twice a year for the past dozen years. His groups partner with the mother, a lifelong Catholic, was baptized. On a subsequent Eastern Cuba Baptist Theological Seminary in Santiago and local trip, Gonzalez hopes to locate his mother’s childhood congregations. To learn more about the work in Santiago or to home, he said. Gonzalez said he’s been in several other support the work there, contact Warren at To Latin American countries but that Cuba felt totally read a past Vision story about Santiago, go online to www.nobts. different for him. edu/publications/Vision.html. FALL 2014 | VISION 29


1970s Bass, Jerry (MDiv ’73) published a book, “Katrina and the Need for Revival in the American Church,” in May 2014. Roberts, M. Wesley (MCM ‘76) is coauthor of Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire, 4th ed. (Indiana University Press), along with Maurice Hinson. Roberts received the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award from Campbellsville University, where he has taught for 32 years.

1980s Hamilton, Keith A. (MRE ‘84) became the Program Director at The Salvation Army, Gainesville Center of Hope, in July 2012. Hamilton and his wife, Nanette, have served Southern Baptist churches in Florida, Alabama and Georgia since 1979. They are members of Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church in Gainesville, Ga. The Hamiltons may be contacted at Post Office Box 529, Gainesville, GA 30503. Scott, Jeff (MDiv ‘83, MRE ‘84) recently published a new book, Fortified Kids: 4 Keys To Raising Children of Distinction, which highlights traditional techniques for raising children. Stacey, John W. (MDIV ‘81) has retired from the pastorate and is now available for supply or interim service at Southern Baptist churches in the Pensacola, Fla., area. Stacey may be contacted via email at

1990s Graves, Rev. Michael Kirk (MDIV ‘95) was called to be Bivocational/Bilingual Pastor of Smith Point Community Church in Anahuac, Texas, in August 2014. He also serves as a classroom teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas. He has served the Goose Creek school district for the last 16 years.

Smith, Tommy W. (MDIV ’80, MAMF ’98) published his first book, The War of the Lords (Tate Publishing). The book presents a Christian world view for young teenage readers while exploring the history of creation, the fall, Satan, Satan’s work on earth, the Gospel, and the final judgment of Evil.

2000s Rankin, Dr. Jeffrey (MDIV ’99, THM ’03, PHD ‘06), Associate Professor of Christian Studies at North Greenville University in South Carolina, recently translated 1 Chronicles for the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Bible. Riordan, Tim (DMIN ’03), Senior Pastor of Sonrise Baptist Church in Newnan, Ga., recently published Immovable Standing Firm in the Last Days. Immovable is a call to all Christians to prepare for the spiritual battles believers are currently facing around the world and to prepare for the return of Christ. Riordan has also authored a devotional/study guide, Songs From The Heart - Meeting with God in the Psalms, and a novel, The Long Way Home, under the pen name Judah Knight.

2010s Davis, Michael (MTS ’87, D.Ed.Min. ’11) recently defended his Ed.D. dissertation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and will graduate in December. Davis serves as an adjunct professor at Tennessee Temple University and NOBTS. Next spring, Davis’ peer-reviewed article on spiritual formation will be published in the Journal of Religious Leadership. Ausbun, Daniel (MDIV ‘03, THM ‘05) and his wife, Sherri, adopted Esther Ausbun from Dongguan, China, on August 7, 2014. They live in Moreland, Ga., where Daniel serves as pastor of First Baptist Church.

Arredondo, Dr. Arnold (MDIV ‘02, THM ’05, PHD ‘09) is now the Vice President for Student Services at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn. Arredondo and his wife, Joy Winkles Arredondo (MACE ‘04), have four girls.

DEATHS Abney, Debra K. (Attended ‘01) of Sarasota, Fla., passed away on July 16, 2006. Allen, Chadwick J. (ThM ‘69) of Selma, N.C., passed away on July 22, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Sarah, and other family members. Anderson, William A. Jr. (MDiv ‘91) of Ohatchee, Ala., passed away on April, 9, 2006. Bannister, Harry E. (DPRE ‘72) of Ellerslie, Ga., passed away on June 28, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia, and other family members. Barnard, Joseph S. (BGS ‘99) of Ethel, Miss., passed away on Sept. 23, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Cheri, and other family members. Barnett, Warren H. (Attended ‘95) of Carriere, Miss., passed away on March 22, 1999. Barrington, Herschel P. (BDiv ‘53) of Clinton, Tenn., passed away on June 19, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife, Zannie. He is survived by his children and other family members. Berry, Thomas A. (MRE ‘66) of Redfield, Ark., passed away Aug. 5, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and other family members. Bilbo, Jack L. (BDiv ‘53) passed away on Jan. 19, 1999. Chin-Bing, Sylvia C. (Attended, ‘93) of Metairie, La., passed away on March 21, 2007.

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NOBTS Alumnus, Former Professor David Platt Elected to Lead IMB BY ERIC BRIDGES | BAPTIST PRESS


avid Platt, one of the most passionate and influential voices for missions among evangelicals, was elected President of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board Aug. 27 by board trustees, meeting at the IMB’s International Learning Center in Rockville, Virginia. Platt, 36, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a Southern Baptist congregation in Birmingham, Alabama, will take office effective immediately as president of the 169-year-old organization, the largest denominational missionary-sending body among American evangelicals. More than 4,800 Southern Baptist international missionaries serve worldwide. The author of the bestselling books Radical and Follow Me, among others, Platt has been Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, which counts about 4,500 members, since 2006. He also founded and leads Radical, a ministry that exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ. Radical provides resources that support disciple-making in local churches worldwide, organizing events and facilitating opportunities through multiple avenues, all aimed at encouraging followers of Christ in God’s global purposes. Platt has traveled extensively to teach the Bible alongside church leaders and missionaries throughout the United States and around the world. He and his wife, Heather, have four children: Caleb, Joshua, Mara Ruth and Isaiah. Platt’s passion for people lost without Christ — and his calling to reach them — inspired members of the IMB trustee search committee, according to trustee and search committee chairman David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla.

Bland, Gerrald D. (Attended ‘60) of Lenoir City, Tenn., passed away on Dec. 25, 2012. Chandler, Marvin R. (BDiv ‘62) of Orland Park, Ill., passed away on June 8, 2010. Clement, Kenneth, R. (ThM ‘71) of Rainsville, Ala., passed away on Aug. 1, 2014. He is survived by many family members. Cole, Betty H. (MRE ‘56) of Birmingham, Ala., passed away on Sept. 6, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Roger, and other family members. Cruce, Susan A. (DPCT ‘55) of Perry, Fla., passed away on July 5, 1999.

International Mission Board President David Platt and his wife, Heather, are seen with their four children (from left): Joshua, Isaiah, Mara Ruth and Caleb. The Platts are natives of Atlanta. He received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Georgia in Athens and Master of Divinity, Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Before becoming Pastor at Brook Hills, he served as an Assistant Professor of Expository Preaching and Apologetics at New Orleans Seminary and as Staff Evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans.

Darrow, Elbert W. (BDiv ’66, exchanged for MDiv ‘72) of Shreveport, La., passed away on Aug. 1, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jean, and other family members. Deese, Carol (MRE ‘62) of Jonesboro, La., passed away on July 20, 2007. Downing, John D. Sr. (BDiv ‘59) of Sherman, Texas, passed away on Sept. 26, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and other family members. Dunnevant, Emmett D. (ThM ‘68) of Richmond, Va., passed away on June 16, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty. He is survived by his children and other family members.

Dyster, Myrtle I. (Attended ‘42) of Pensacola, Fla., passed away on June 26, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, David. She is survived by her children and other family members. Edge, Robert C. Jr. (THB ‘60) of Alabaster, Ala., passed away on Sept. 21, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sue. He is survived by his children and other family members. Emmons, Dorothy E. (MRE ‘59) of Bogalusa, La., passed away on Aug. 24. 2005. Freeman, Carroll B. (EDS ‘66, EDD ‘72) of Anniston, Ala., passed away on Sept. 25, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Hellon, and other family members. FALL 2014 | VISION 31


Book by Alumnus Benefits NT Center


Kelly, George (Dip. CT ‘59), and his x


or the past several decades studies on the internal workings of the evangelical church have reflected a movement away from solid theological teaching from the pulpit. Too often, sound biblical preaching has been replaced with prosperity sermons, business models, and self-help remedies that have produced a generation of believers that have become progressively ignorant of the Bible and Christian doctrines. Grounded: Anchoring the Evangelical Sermon in Theological Doctrine calls pastors back to their primary task of feeding the sheep. Author and pastor, David Brown examines 20 passages and builds an interpretation based upon historical, literary and grammatical methodologies, then provides a sermon outline for each passage. Both pastors and Sunday school teachers alike will find this book helpful in preparing sermons and teaching outlines that are anchored in theological doctrine. Brown, Pastor at Roseland Park Baptist Church in Picayune, Miss., earned three degrees at NOBTS (MDiv ‘02, ThM ’05, Ph.D. ’09). During his time in seminary, Brown worked with the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies at NOBTS. All the proceeds from his book go directly from JEM publishing to the Haggard Center.

Gell, David A. (Attended ‘67) of Santa Barbara, Calif., passed away on March 2, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and other family members.

Jeffers, Lester M. (ADPM ‘88) of Philipp, Miss., passed away on June 10, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Bobbie, and other family members.

Girling, Robert G. (BDiv ‘54) of Austin, Texas, passed away on Dec. 14, 2013.

Jones, James Ralph (Attended ‘70) of Enterprise, Ala., passed away on Aug. 14, 2013.

Hackney, James W. (BDiv ‘53, exchanged for MDiv ‘73) of Cape Girardeau, Mo., passed away on July 2, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marjorie, and other family members. Hackney served as an NOBTS Trustee from 1956 to 1961.

Jones, Yvonne E. (Attended ‘85) of Jasper, Ala., passed away on Aug. 26, 2004. Kanipe, Joe C. (Attended ‘64) of Moorseboro, N.C., passed away on Oct. 19, 2010.

Hall, Jeffery A. (Attended ‘93) of Apopka, Fla., passed away on Sept. 12, 2008.

Keen, James W. (DPCH ‘55) passed away on June 14, 1992.

Hanna, Eugene W. Jr. (Attended ‘69) of Grenada, Miss., passed away on Jan. 29, 2014. He is survived by cousins and other family members.

Kendrick, Gary R. (BDiv ‘65) of Calera, Ala., passed away on Aug. 1, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Elizabeth, and other family members.

Herrin, Rubin C. Jr. (Attended ‘90) of Carriere, Miss., passed away on Feb. 8, 2004.

Ketcherside, Jeffrey A. (Attended ‘89) of Warrensburg, Mo., passed away on July 11, 2005.

Huebner, Priscilla (Attended ‘88) of Acworth, Ga., passed away on Dec. 3, 2010.

Key, William O. (BDiv ‘56) of Augusta, Ga., passed away on July 13, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nell, and other family members.

Jackson, Shirley L. (MRE’52) passed away on Sept. 27, 2013.

Kilgore, James G. (MDiv ‘80) of Robertsdale, Ala., passed away on July 29, 2014. He is survived by many family members.

Kinkeade, Henry H. (Attended ‘47) of Irving, Texas, passed away on Sept. 2, 2005. Lowe, Robert F. (Attended ‘50) of Madison, Miss., passed away on March 31, 2013. Mallette, William L. (Attended ‘72) of Meridian, Miss., passed away on Jan. 26, 2003. Marshall, Charles E. Jr. (MDiv ‘94) of Mableton, Ga., passed away on Feb. 11, 2013. McCullar, Robert S. Sr. (BDiv ’63 exchanged for MDiv ’74) of Selmer, Tenn., passed away on Feb. 1, 2010. McVay, Ace J. (BDiv ‘60) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away on Dec. 24, 2013. Miller, Emmett D. (MRE ‘76) of Deridder, La., passed away on Sept. 11, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Sonja, and other family members. Millsap, Walter D. (Attended ‘85) of Palm Bay, Fla., passed away on Nov. 13, 2012. Moreno, Niberto A. (ADPM ‘87) of Miami, Fla., passed away on July 26, 2010.

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ALUMNI NEWS Mullinax, Gary G. (Attended ‘72) of Waynesville, N.C., passed away on Sept. 28, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Renee, and other family members. Murrell, Irvin H. Jr. (DMA ‘84) of Graceville, Fla., passed away on May 31, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Phoebe, and other family members.

Rayfield, Winston B. (Attended 1992) passed away on July 17, 1995. Rice, R. C. (Attended ‘89) of Star, Miss., passed away on July 14, 2013. Rucker, Howard (BRE ‘57, BSM ‘58) passed away on Sept. 1, 1984.

Myers, Tom (Attended ‘81) of Prentiss, Miss., passed away on Oct. 15, 2004.

Rushton, Calvin R. (BDiv ‘63) of Montgomery, Ala., passed away on May 21, 2003.

Olive, James H. (DMin ‘75) of Birmingham, Ala., passed away on July 31, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Alice, and other family members.

Senterfitt, Sarah S. (Attended ‘44) of Defuniak Springs, Fla., passed away on July 14, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband. She is survived by her children and other family members.

Peer, Ruth E. (MRE ‘57) of Birmingham, Ala., passed away on Aug. 7, 2014. She is survived by many family members.

Smith, Laura (Attended ‘97) of Hackettstown, N.J., passed away on Sept. 29, 2010.

Poole, Robert W. (Attended ‘48) of Winston Salem, N.C., passed away on Sept. 26, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Pearl. He is survived by his children and other family members.

Strebeck, Joe A. (MDiv ‘88) of Texarkana, Ark., passed away on July 28, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Oda, and other family members.

Powell, Gerald (CBT ‘09) of Dallas, Texas, passed away on Sept. 8, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Suzette, and other family members. Powell, Harry (DPCH ‘58) of Marianna, Fla., passed away on Sept. 29, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, and other family members.

Thigpen, Linda O. (Attended ‘63) of Shreveport, La., passed away on May 13, 2013. Walker, Howard Jr. (Attended ‘65) of Abilene, Texas, passed away on July 21, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and other family members.

Walters, W. Scott (MACE ‘04) of Taylorsville, Miss., passed away on Sept. 26, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Mary, and other family members. Ward, William A. (BDiv ‘53, MRE ‘54) of Semmes, Ala., passed away on Aug. 30. 2014. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Ward, and other family members. Wells, Thelma E. (Attended ‘41) of Bogart, Ga., passed away on March 12, 2012. Winters, Raymond A. (CMU ‘01) of Ethelsville, Ala., passed away on Oct. 10, 2013. Woods, Isado H. of Kilmichael, Miss., passed away on Jan. 17, 2011 Spouse of Dorothy Woods (CBT ’11, CPM ’11) Woodward, Charles A. (ThD ‘79) passed away on Aug. 20, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Frances, and other family members. Zook, Garry B. (ADPM ‘90) of Springville, Tenn., passed away on July 12, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and other family members.

HELP US TELL THE STORY OF OUR FIRST 100 YEARS In the fall of 2017, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will begin a year-long celebration to mark the school’s centennial. The NOBTS Centennial Committee is currently collecting photographs, written accounts of seminary life and seminary-related items in order to create a celebration experience like no other. Will you help us tell the story of The School of Providence and Prayer?


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Have you ever thought about what happens when your Will doesn’t follow your will? Too often, a lifetime of hard work and commitment to God results in our most precious gifts and possessions being redirected by some stranger. Tax laws change. Perhaps you’ve moved to another state or your assets have changed in nature or value. All require you to revisit your Estate Planning or Will documents. And if you’ve yet to begin planning, every day you wait is another day of uncertainty about what happens to your possessions when you enter God’s Kingdom. Don’t let a probate judge determine the destiny of your estate. Call Susan at PhilanthroCorp at 800-876-7958. She will set a time for you to speak with one of the PhilanthroCorp estate specialists who will help you create or update your will.

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Vision Fall 2014  

Small Churches, Kingdom Impact: Challenging the Myth that Bigger is Better

Vision Fall 2014  

Small Churches, Kingdom Impact: Challenging the Myth that Bigger is Better