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Dear NOBTS Friends and Family, In July 1975, Rhonda and I drove across Lake Pontchartrain and turned into the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to start the M.Div. degree as preparation for a ministry in evangelism. We planned to be in New Orleans for three years. Little did we know that three years would turn into fortythree years and that the odd, intimidating, distinctive city of New Orleans and the campus of NOBTS would become our beloved home for more than four decades. A family crisis during my work on the M.Div. turned our world inside out and upside down. What I intended to be one degree became two, and the ministry as a vocational evangelist I expected became ministry as an evangelist and a seminary professor equipping students for evangelism. It was a future we never imagined, but one we embraced and loved. When Dr. Landrum P. Leavell II concluded 20 outstanding years of service as our President, the Trustees asked me to become the eighth President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. It was an astonishing, overwhelming moment. I had to step away from the professor's life I dearly loved and adjust my evangelism ministry in light of the things a seminary president must do. Rhonda had to step away completely from her work as the first female, first non-MD head of a division at Ochsner Clinic and Hospital in order to fulfill her role as First Lady of NOBTS. To serve the Kingdom and the Seminary in these roles was a great privilege, and we determined to hold nothing back. Today, NOBTS has much to celebrate. Enrollment grew and we became the largest seminary in the SBC before the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, and still remain one of the largest seminaries in North America. The endowment rose to historic highs, funding new faculty chairs, doctoral fellowships and scholarships for ethnic minorities, students serving in smaller churches, and those studying for the preaching ministry. We weathered the greatest natural disaster in the history of the United States, and kept teaching for a year without a campus. We created a church­centered curriculum and became a national leader in innovation to make that curriculum available to anyone God calls, regardless of their location or circumstances. We took seminary education into maximum security prisons, teaching inmates how to minister to other inmates, creating a transformational effect on prison culture so profound that today prisons all over the country are seeking seminaries to do similar programs for them. We rebuilt the campus twice, once due to the extensive damage of Formosan termites and again after Hurricane Katrina. Along the way, we added more land and 49 new buildings to the campus, including new housing for students, staff, and faculty. I am especially proud of the faculty dreams we launched,

creating world class research centers and ministry points like the Haggard Center for the Textual Study of the New Testament, the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Lecture series, the Leeke Magee Center for Christian Counseling, and the Caskey Center for Church Excellence, among others. As I looked back over the 100 year history of NOBTS, my 43 years of life on this campus, 35 years as a professor of evangelism, and 22 years plus as President, I reached a conclusion: A seminary President always has a list of things left to do. However, given the length and breadth of my list of things now done, it is time for me to pass the baton to someone else to start shaping the next hundred years. I began discussing my transition plans with Trustees and auditors several years ago. Now is the time to implement those plans. I will retire effective July 31, 2019. We have a strong, healthy board well positioned to search for the next leader to begin this new chapter. Hopefully, this will allow the board enough time to have a new leader in place August 1 to begin our Seminary's second century. A major factor in the timing of my decision is the current state of evangelism in Southern Baptist life. The SBC is in an evangelistic crisis of epic proportions. Evangelism originally drew me to this seminary and city. Forty-three years later, my passion for evangelism now leads me away to allow more time for research and reflection, for speaking, writing, and teaching about the things I learn, and for stimulating SBC conversations about leading the lost to Christ. Rhonda and I are building a cottage in Alabama where I will take up anew the work of an evangelism scholar. We are told the cottage will be ready for occupancy in July. I will definitely assist the new president as needed as an ambassador-at-large lifting up NOBTS at every opportunity and do all that I can to help our present friends of the seminary connect with the new leader God will bring. Rhonda and I can be counted on to use any opportunity we have to raise students, friends, and funds for NOBTS as a part of this new chapter. My heart is filled with an inexpressible sense of gratitude for the privilege of serving this School of Providence and Prayer. The Trustees through the years have been terrific. My faculty and administrative colleagues made the journey a great joy that Rhonda and I will always cherish. The friends of the seminary who have made so many amazing things possible have been encouragers to us as well as to the Seminary. The thousands of students who have passed through our gates are an unceasing source of optimism about the future for Southern Baptists and for our school. As much as we have to celebrate and be grateful for in looking back, however, there is one absolute certainty about the future for NOBTS: the best is yet to come!

Yours and His,

Chuck Kelley President, NOBTS

CONTENTS FALL 2018 Volume 74, Number 2 DR. CHUCK KELLEY President

DR. JONATHAN KEY Vice President for Institutional Advancement

DR. DENNIS PHELPS Director of Alumni Relations




Art Director and Photographer


4 100 FOR 100 PART TWO

Staying True to God's Call [5] Grady Cothen [8] Landrum P Leavell II [9] NOBTS Extension Center system [12] Establishing a Four-Year College [13] Women's ministry program calls women to lead [14] Chuck Kelley [15] Prison extension centers changes hearts and lives [17] Hurricane Katrina: Destruction and Redemption [19] 'Different Voices' [24]

CHANDLER MCCALL Graphic Designer and Photographer

MICAH ATKINSON Graphic Designer


Writing and Editorial Intern

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 All contents © 2018 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 the publication of the VISION magazine and on the Alumni website. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry, supported by the gifts of Southern Baptists. The cover photo was taken by Boyd Guy.



TroQuell Jenkins: Pushing boundaries for Christ New NOBTS Podcast NOBTS Students Share Gospel Through Crossover Excavation Updates from the Moskau Institute NOBTS Announces Doctoral Fellowship Recipients

29 FACULTY NEWS Faculty Anniversaries


For the Heroes Among Us Class Notes



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STAYING TRUE TO GOD'S CALL by Gary D. Myers Stepping out in faith to establish the Baptist Bible Institute in New Orleans in 1917 took courage and a commitment to answer God’s call at all costs. Staying in the city for 100 years required an equally radical devotion to His call. While NOBTS enjoyed greater financial security and a larger enrollment during its second half-century, staying true to God’s call was not easy. During those years, the school navigated a shifting theological landscape; weathered Hurricane Katrina; “stood in the gap” during a nation’s moral decline; and adjusted to new paradigms in theological education. Any one of these seasons of sweeping change could have diminished the seminary’s impact in the world. The second 50 years began with H. Leo Eddleman at the helm. His 11-year presidency concluded in 1970 and Grady C. Cothen led the school until 1974. During the next 44 years the seminary enjoyed the stability of two long presidencies — first by Landrum P. Leavell II, followed by current NOBTS president Chuck Kelley. While Roland Q. Leavell brought credibility to the school, Landrum Leavell and Kelley shepherded NOBTS into the modern era of theological education.


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BUILDING AND REBUILDING The Leavell presidency included several important building projects — the most noticeable were the addition of the steeple on the chapel, the library expansion, the beautiful decorative fence and entrances at the front of campus and the purchase and renovation of the Hardin Student Center (HSC). While two of these were primarily beautification projects, the library expansion and the new student center were vital to the ongoing success of the seminary. It is difficult to imagine NOBTS without the campus enhancements completed under Leavell. Leavell went on to build a faculty to match the facilities. A large number of the faculty were moving toward retirement when Leavell arrived and he worked diligently to hire the next generation of gifted scholars, all while navigating challenging times before and during the Conservative Resurgence. Shortly after Kelley was elected as the eighth president, extensive termite damage was discovered on the campus. The trustees faced a difficult decision — relocate outside of New Orleans or rebuild and refurbish the campus. Staying true to the original call to the Crescent City, the trustees voted to remain in New Orleans. Restoring the damage required years of work, but resulted in state-of-the-art facilities. During this same period, as enrollment increased, NOBTS built multiple housing units for students and faculty. Just as the housing construction was almost complete, flooding from Hurricane Katrina inundated the campus. Faced with another difficult decision, trustees chose to keep the seminary in New Orleans, launching another round of rebuilding efforts.

Aerial photo of Gentilly from the 1980s.

A WILLINGNESS TO INNOVATE The second half-century of the seminary’s history involved decades of innovation. NOBTS launched extension centers throughout the southeast so ministers serving local churches did not have to leave the pastorate to study. This commitment to accessibility morphed into online classes and hybrid classes which combined elements of online and classroom instruction. The most unique change at NOBTS was the willingness to start a theological education program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Later, the prison ministry training program spread to men’s prisons in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, and to the women’s prison in Louisiana. Each of these efforts involved a deep commitment to follow the call of God no matter the cost.

A FOCUS ON EVANGELISM AND PRACTICAL MINISTRY Despite challenges and changes through the years, NOBTS never strayed from its original commitment to evangelism and practical ministry. Even as the seminary focused more attention on making theological education available regardless of location, the efforts to reach New Orleans never waned. In fact, in recent years involvement in the city has increased. This involvement includes weekly personal evangelism, local church ministry and participation in compassion ministry in order to share the Gospel. The curriculum, while never sacrificing academic rigor, remains focused on practical ministry. The early moto “Learning

by Doing” continues as an apt descriptor for the school. A new mentoring focus in the academic programs helps maximize the impact of a student’s time in seminary by connecting right knowledge with right ministry practice. As the seminary embarks on its second century, history warns that there will be new challenges, difficulties and opportunities in the future. But that is not the entire story. The history of the School of Providence and Prayer also tells of God’s great faithfulness to the seminary that continues to answer God’s call.

A child born of Providence and Prayer, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has watched God at work in an unlikely place for 100 years. With deep gratitude to our faithful God, here is brief look back at the people, events and traditions that define NOBTS and made it what it is today. We have selected 50 brief vignettes from the second 50 years of the seminary to tell a portion of the story. With such a rich history, many other stories could be featured if space allowed. Please enjoy Part Two of our “100 for 100” feature, covering the school’s second half-century.

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“The Year of Jubilee,” written by William L. Hooper, then dean of the NOBTS School of Church Music, commemorated the seminary’s 50th anniversary. The cantata, published and released by the Carl Fischer Company of New York, was performed at the 1968 Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Houston.


President Leo Eddleman led the seminary into a $2 million dollar Golden Anniversary fundraising campaign in commemoration of the 50th anniversary.


The first 50 years of the seminary’s history was recorded by Dr. William A. Mueller, professor of church history, in “The School of Providence and Prayer,” 1968.



NOBTS entered the world of biblical archaeology in 1968 when George Kelm joined the faculty. Trained at the prestigious New York University archaeology school, Kelm started the Institute of Biblical Archaeology at NOBTS and led excavations at Tel Malhata, Aphek-Antipatris and Timnah. The seminary reinstituted archaeology with the Center of Archaeological Research (later renamed the Moskau Institute for Archaeology) in the late 1990s and recently completed major excavation work at Tel Gezer and Zippori. In 2018, NOBTS began a new excavation at Tel Hadid in partnership with Tel Aviv University.

55 HURRICANE CAMILLE The eye of Hurricane Camille missed NOBTS by some 60 miles, Aug. 17, 1969, but left minor damage with downed trees and outages. Right: The NOBTS media staff interviews a graduate after commencement circa 1972.


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NOBTS faculty published a new academic journal, The Theological Educator, for the first time in October 1969. The journal, which continued through the late 1990s, covered numerous issues related to theology and ministry, including an important issue regarding the polarities in the SBC at the height of the Conservative Resurgence.



In 1970, the NOBTS School of Music was promoted to full membership in the National Association of Schools of Music, the accrediting agency for schools granting music degrees.


GRADY COTHEN By Marilyn Stewart

A “leader of rare capacity” is how Grady C. Cothen Sr. was described at the start of his tenure as NOBTS’ sixth president. As the turbulent ’60s gave way to the uneasy days of the ’70s, Cothen recognized that NOBTS was not immune to cultural backlash and a “rising polarization” within the denomination. In his inaugural address “For Such a Time as This,” Cothen stated, “Higher education in America has just suffered its most explosive and traumatic decade.” He then issued a warning. If the Southern Baptist Convention followed the path of other “old-line” denominations, all six seminaries would “face grave difficulties, if not disaster.” Unity became the rallying call of his administration. The first alumnus to serve as president, Cothen (Master of Christian Training, ’44) began the quest for unity by leading the school toward groundbreaking restructuring and curriculum changes. Sensing territorial instincts between the three schools — theology, education and music — Cothen oversaw the reorganization of the institution’s three schools with separate deans into five divisions under one dean. In his president’s address at the 1972 SBC convention, Cothen reported that “New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is engaged in perhaps the most vigorous reevaluation of its purposes, organization, and curricula in its history.” At the center of the curriculum changes was a basic studies core that cut across all master degree plans to provide each student the essential knowledge and skills necessary for effective ministry. The target was the local church; the end goal to produce staff members who worked together in ministry. Launched, too, during Cothen’s tenure was the professional doctorate, the doctor of ministry degree, a program that proved innovative and timely. With curriculum changes came a 15 percent increase in enrollment and the undertaking of a long-needed capital improvement of campus facilities. The following year, Cothen

reported to SBC delegates that NOBTS had entered “a new era.” Under Cothen’s leadership, the school had weathered a depleted enrollment, financial deficits and crucial faculty vacancies to begin a new day with a bright future. Chuck Kelley, president, noted the legacy of Cothen’s short three years as president. “He came to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when it was in a crisis,” Kelley said. “He brought stability and a foundation upon which our future was built.” Cothen was no stranger to NOBTS when he was elected as president. The son of alums, Rev. and Mrs. Joseph H. Cothen, (’22-23), Cothen served also as a NOBTS trustee prior to his presidential term. His younger brother, Joe Cothen, served on faculty as professor of communications. Cothen left NOBTS in 1974 to become president of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, now LifeWay Christian Resources, a position he held for the next ten years. Cothen’s lifetime service to Southern Baptists included his time as executive secretary of the Southern Baptist General Convention of California (now California Southern Baptist Convention) and president of Oklahoma Baptist University, prior to his time at NOBTS. As he neared retirement, Cothen told Baptist Press that his years at NOBTS were “perhaps the closest to my own sense of personal call” of any of his varied places of service. When Cothen announced his resignation, Vision reported it “with a genuine sense of regret” and praised him for his service and accomplishments. To the seminary family, Cothen expressed his feelings for the school while expressing confidence in God’s direction. “When I say goodbye to you, it will be with tears in my heart. But I will have the sense of freedom of walking in the purpose of God,” Cothen said. “In the tears and sorrow and agony of it all, there’s wonderful peace.”

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Dr. Landrum P. Leavell II, a noted pastor and preacher, was elected as the seventh president of New Orleans Seminary in January 1975. Leavell served in that role until his retirement on Dec. 31, 1994. Leavell, whose uncle Roland Q. Leavell led NOBTS from 1946-1958, began pastoring a church in Mississippi during his time as a student at New Orleans Seminary and spent the next 27 years in the pastorate. When trustees selected Leavell to lead the seminary he was the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas. During his 20-year tenure as president, the seminary became an innovator in theological education while continuing to emphasize evangelism, missions and local church ministry. The seminary experienced numeric growth and new land was added to the main campus. It is hard to image NOBTS without the 120,000 square foot Hardin Student Center which houses Leavell College, the bookstore and main administrative and academic offices. The building, a former Gaylord’s store, was purchased and renovated during the Leavell years. Under Leavell’s leadership, New Orleans Seminary established a small network of extension centers which would eventually spread throughout


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the Southeast. Leavell also invested in educational technology. He introduced compressed interactive video (CIV), which connected classrooms in different cities for real-time audio and video interaction. His innovations helped the seminary offer world-class theological education to even more God-called men and women regardless of their location. In 1992, NOBTS also established the first center for evangelism and church growth in the Southern Baptist Convention, connecting the resources and expertise of the seminary with needs of local churches throughout the SBC. The center was later renamed the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health, in Leavell’s honor. Leavell’s tenure was not without trying times. Serving at the height of the Conservative Resurgence, as factions developed in seminaries and churches, Leavell led the seminary redemptively, working to keep the seminary rooted in scripture, focused on training ministers and away from controversy. While some faculty members left during this time, the transition to a more conservative approach to the Bible came easier to NOBTS than at some of the other SBC seminaries. Leavell believed that the care and preparation of a minister’s family was as important as the preparation of the

minister. He enhanced the campus recreation facilities and, with his wife, Jo Ann, gave great attention to the needs of student wives. The Leavells launched many initiatives to assist student wives, including free educational programs, an endowment to buy clothes for student wives and the Leavell Lecture Series. Leavell often arranged for free childcare for campus events to enable wives to participate in seminary life. A gifted writer, Leavell authored or contributed to 14 books, including Angels, Angels, Angels and Twelve Who Followed Jesus. Despite his retirement in 1994, Leavell agreed to serve as interim president until Dec. 31, 1995, when his successor, Chuck Kelley, could assume the presidency. Friends of the Leavells created an endowed faculty chair in New Testament and Greek that bears his name. The city of New Orleans designated a portion of the campus as Leavell Lane in honor of the many contributions made by him and his uncle, Roland Q. Leavell. Landrum and Jo Ann Leavell remained connected to the seminary, making frequent visits to New Orleans until his death on Sept. 26, 2008, at age 81. Jo Ann passed away March 6, 2015, at age 83. “By any standard of measurement, Dr. Leavell is one of the greatest presidents that this seminary ever had,” current NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said about his predecessor.


THE CHAPEL RECEIVES ITS CROWN In 1975, shortly after the arrival of Landrum Leavell, the stately chapel was finally crowned with a beautiful spire. Damaged during Hurricane Katrina and later replaced, the steeple served as a beacon of hope for Gentilly and the seminary community in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

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61 LEAVELL TENURE CAMPUS EXPANSION The original 75 acres of land expanded to 87 with the addition of new holdings, including the 1981 purchase of the Hardin Student Center, adding 120,000 square feet, and the 54-unit Providence Guest House across Gentilly Blvd. Off campus, two apartment complexes grew student housing by 106 units. Administrative offices were moved to the Frost Building with the conversion and renaming of the DeMent Administration building to the M. E. Dodd Faculty Office building. A new library addition of 21,000 square feet was connected to Leavell Chapel by a new covered walkway. Other changes included an extension to the Preschool building, the addition of two faculty townhomes, and an expansion of campus recreational facilities.



Starting with a used radio console, a single microphone and a record player, NOBTS master’s student R. Kent Phillips watched his dream of a Christian radio station at the seminary become a reality in 1979. Operating at WBSN 89.1 FM (LifeSongs), the station’s message is “God is good, all the time.”

63 MISSIONARY HOUSE The J. D. and Lillian Grey Missionary House, with Dr. Grey’s library and two apartments for furloughing missionary families, was completed in 1980 by First Baptist New Orleans and friends of the Grey family.

Dr. Paul Gericke, left, observes a broadcast in the WBSN Control Room.

Dr. Landrum Leavell II, left, leads a groundbreaking ceremony for the J.D. and Lillian Grey Missionary Home. Pictured with Leavell are J.D. and Lillian Grey and William Hinson, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans at the time.


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With pastors across the convention serving in ministry without theological education, the need for a new pathway to the M.Div. became clear. Interrupting ministry to move to campus seemed unthinkable for pastors and staff members already at work serving churches, reaching their cities and communities for Christ, and discipling the next generation of leaders. Another way was needed. A pathway opened up in the ’80s when course offerings at off-campus sites were set up on a rotating cycle allowing any student to complete the M.Div. in four years. Monday and evening classes helped working adults manage a classroom schedule with main-campus workshops aligned to help students meet residency requirements. Beginning with the North Georgia Extension Center at Roswell Street Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga., the new delivery system proved successful. Within a decade, five other centers offering master level courses opened: Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.; Broadmoor Baptist Church of Shreveport, La.; Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss.; First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla.; and Florida Baptist Theological College in Graceville, Fla. The extension center system built on groundwork laid previously by the NOBTS School of Church Training that offered diplomas in pastoral ministries, religious education, and church music. Off-campus centers had opened in 1979 in Shreveport, La., Jackson, Miss., Marietta, Ga., Miami, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Boaz, Ala., and Puerto Rico. Making theological education accessible became one important way NOBTS reached out beyond its gates. Doors for “international missions at home” opened as classes in Creole French, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese were offered, training pastors to reach all in their community. The bold move of offering theological education at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, La., resulted in countless numbers of changed lives as graduates became missionaries and carried the Gospel to other prisons. Jimmy Dukes, longtime Extension Center System Dean, once noted the impact the program makes in the lives and ministries of off-campus students. “The Extension Center program gets people started,” Dukes said. “It helps them understand that they can do theological education.” Today, as extension center students continue to serve where they are while pursuing a degree, the Great Commission contribution they make is invaluable.

Columbia Drive Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga., hosted the seminary’s North Georgia Extension Center for many years. Later, the church deeded the property to the seminary. Following Hurricane Katrina the property was sold and the North Georgia Hub relocated to Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.

65 THE LEAVELL CENTER Southern Baptists’ first Center for Evangelism and Church Health was founded at NOBTS in 1992 and renamed three years later in honor of Landrum P. Leavell II, a specialist in evangelism and church growth.


Dr. Claude Howe Jr. authored a complete school history in 1993 titled Seventy-Five Years of Providence and Prayer.

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While a commitment to undergraduate training stretches all the way back to the early days of BBI, the seminary formally launched an accredited four-year college program in 1992. Now known as Leavell College, the seminary’s undergraduate program was called the School of Christian Training at first. From the beginning, the college prioritized adult learners seeking a basic level of ministry training. In the early years, Leavell College only accepted students 25 years of age or older. Jimmy Dukes, the first dean of the four-year college, designed the bachelor’s program with the idea that many of its graduates would continue their study in the NOBTS graduate program.

While the age restriction has been removed, Leavell College still attracts many adult learners transitioning from other careers along with traditional, college-aged students. All students who attend Leavell College are required to articulate a call to ministry and must be endorsed by a church. In 1997, the college was renamed the College of Undergraduate Studies at NOBTS to better reflect its expanded mission. In 2003, NOBTS trustees approved the Leavell College name to honor the outstanding contributions of the Leavell family — including Landrum Leavell II who was president of the seminary when the four-year college was founded and Roland Q. Leavell who

served as the seminary’s president from 1946 until 1958. Today, Leavell College offers four associate degree programs (Christian ministry, music and worship, children’s ministry, and women’s ministry) and two bachelor’s degree programs (Christian ministry and music). The college also offers diploma and certificate programs designed to enhance the ministry of the local church. Students can complete a degree by studying on the main campus, at an extension center, or online. Leavell College continues to play a vital role in the life of NOBTS. The college remains one of the top feeder colleges for NOBTS graduate students.



“Gateway to Truth,” a television program filmed and produced by NOBTS faculty, staff, and students, debuted in 1993. The program featured discussions of upcoming lessons in the Bible Book Study Series of the Baptist Sunday School Board curriculum.


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Dr. Mark Foley, left, and Dr. Rick Byargeon, participate in “The Gateway to Truth,” a seminary-produced television program which aired on the ACTS television network.

100 FOR 100 Dr. Rhonda Kelley, left, and Jo Ann Leavell were instrumental in establishing practical and academic learning opportunities for student wives and women training to serve other women in the local church.



From Kodiak Island in Alaska to Ghana, Africa and every place in-between, the NOBTS Women’s Ministry program continues to reach women at far points of the globe. As the seminary turned 100, the program marked a milestone of its own — 20 years of helping women lead other women. It was the vision of Rhonda Kelley, wife of President Chuck Kelley, that launched the academic program in 1997 bringing together theological grounding and pragmatic training for women. The program was the first of its kind among the six Southern Baptist seminaries. An early touch point for women in ministry had come earlier when Jo Ann Leavell, wife of then-president Landrum Leavell, began classes for students’ wives, providing them free training and support in their roles as the minister’s wife. Through Leavell’s efforts, the Mrs. Leonard O. Leavell lectures for women became a campus staple, the “Lord, Change Me” conferences drew crowds upwards of 1,000 women, and the notes from her most popular class, “The Minister’s Wife,” were compiled into the book Don’t Miss the Blessing. But the need for a fuller program became clear to Rhonda Kelley after her appointment in 1992 by thenSBC president Ed Young Sr. to a task force examining women’s roles in the SBC along with her work at LifeWay’s

Women’s Leadership Forum, 1996. She returned home convinced the time had come to tap into women’s full potential for leadership and learning. At the program’s 20th anniversary celebration in September 2017, Chuck Kelley called the timing of the program’s start providential because the seminary was considering at the time a new educational model — a certificate program. Combining women’s leadership training and a certificate program proved to be a fit. In the 20 years that followed, the women’s ministry program expanded to include two undergraduate certificates in women’s ministry, an associate’s degree in women’s ministry and a minor at the baccalaureate level. At the graduate level, concentrations in two master’s degrees are now offered as well as a certificate that can enhance any master’s degree. Accessible online and in workshops, women around the world are enrolled. One online student, a pastor’s wife in Ghana, wanted the on-campus experience of studying with other women and traveled across the ocean to attend. From all callings they come — a medical doctor, furloughing IMB missionaries, a professional writer, teachers, wives and mothers. Noted author Linda Gilden completed her women’s ministry degree and returned to teach in the program.

“As a writer and a leader in women’s ministry, I had a desire to reach women in my church and all over the world with the Gospel. But in order to do that, I needed to understand exactly what the needs of women were,” Gilden said. “The women’s ministry program of NOBTS not only provided that knowledge, but also connected me with women all over our country who shared my passion for serving women and equipped me to encourage, engage, and equip others.” Jo Ann Leavell’s recognition that women hold a vital place in ministry at their husband’s side, in the church and in the home laid the groundwork for the Women’s Ministry Program. With Rhonda Kelley’s leadership, the program took shape to address a wider berth of ministry potential and education. At the fall celebration, Emily Dean praised Rhonda Kelley as “a very special champion of women’s academics.” Judi Jackson, student services director at the NOBTS North Georgia Extension Center and longtime women’s ministry leader, noted the impact the program has made. “I’m amazed at [the women’s] stories,” Jackson said. “God wouldn’t let them just sit in the church pew week after week but instead called them out to lead women. I’m so thankful they found NOBTS.”

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Dr. Charles S. (Chuck) Kelley Jr., was elected as the eighth president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996 following Landrum Leavell’s retirement. A professor of evangelism at NOBTS since August 1983, Kelley assumed the office of president March 1, 1996. Since his election, Kelley has led NOBTS through a rapidly changing academic and ecclesiastic landscape and rebuilt the campus twice — once due to extensive Formosan termite damage and a second time in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His tenure will be remembered both for innovation and for faithfulness to God’s call in the face of stiff challenges. Kelley set the tone of his presidency in 1997 by working with the faculty to identify the core competencies graduates needed to serve in a local church. They identified seven and restructured the entire curriculum around the needs of the local church ministry. Another important local church initiative serves as a bookend for his tenure. In 2014, the seminary launched the Caskey Center for Church Excellence with the help of a multi-million-dollar anonymous gift. The center offers full scholarships and other assistance for bi-vocational and small church ministers. The program which emphasizes personal evangelism has resulted in 26,359 Gospel conversations and 2,887 new believers.


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Kelley received high marks for his steady hand of leadership in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. Part of the reason for the swift recovery was the seminary’s combined use of educational technology and extension centers. Online technology and new instruction methods allowed professors to keep teaching and students to keep learning just weeks after the storm. Though enrollment declined in the initial aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it rebounded to reach an all-time high enrollment of 3,955 students in 2015. Distance learning has been another hallmark of the Kelley presidency. Through the implementation of extension centers, Internet and hybrid courses and non-residential doctoral studies, Kelley has helped the school offer Godcalled men and women the opportunity to pursue theological education that would otherwise have been unattainable. A new emphasis on mentoring is preparing the next generation of church leaders with real-world leadership opportunities in the local church. Non-traditional students have become the NOBTS tradition. Early in his tenure, Kelley was presented with a radical idea — to offer training at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Sensing God’s call, Kelley’s team launched an undergraduate program at Angola. The effort led to a churchplanting movement at the prison, with many coming to Christ

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The Baptist Community Ministries Chair of Pastoral Counseling, NOBTS’ first million-dollar chair endowment, was established in 1997 in recognition of Dr. Landrum Leavell’s long service to the private foundation.


The beloved song that has inspired many generations of NOBTS students was adapted by Dr. Ken Gabrielse, professor of music, from a 1997 song whose text was written by Claire Cloninger with music composed by Robert Sterling.


Devoted to the study of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies opened in 1998. Facsimiles of ancient texts are housed there, including the 4th-century Codex Vaticanus, the oldest known manuscript of the entire Bible. Dr. Chuck Kelley and his wife, Rhonda, early in Kelley’s tenure as president. resulting in a transformation of the prison’s culture. The idea spread quickly as NOBTS started similar programs at men’s prisons in three other states and at Louisiana’s prison for women. Other seminaries have followed the NOBTS lead by starting prison programs in their states. More recently, NOBTS weathered the challenge of a national economic downturn and a sea-change in theological education. Having overcome many postKatrina setbacks, the seminary adopted new operational and funding strategies better suited to today’s economic realities and the current generation of students. For Kelley the key focus is to provide some form of theological education for anyone God calls, even if they can’t move to a residential campus. Kelley announced his plan to retire at the end of the current academic year during Founders’ Day chapel Oct. 2. He will continue to lead the seminary as Chancellor through July 31, 2019. NOBTS will devote the Spring edition of the Vision magazine to the many contributions Kelley and his wife, Rhonda, have made at the seminary and throughout the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dr. Thomas S. Messer Sr., left, and Dr. Bill Warren read from a facsimile copy of Codex Vaticanus. Messer and his wife, Mary, donated the facsimile to the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies.

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It was a thought far “outside the box.” When former Warden Burl Cain approached NOBTS President Chuck Kelley with the idea of placing a Bible college at the “bloodiest prison” in the nation, even Cain was unsure it would work. Twenty-three years later, nearly 300 graduates have walked the graduation stage at Louisiana State Penitentiary stage to receive a bachelor of Christian ministry or an associate degree. Another unexpected change came as graduates asked to be transferred to other prisons to serve as missionaries for the lifechanging Gospel. “What God has done in and through our inmate ministry training programs defies description,” Kelley said. “It is a miracle of moral rehabilitation, demonstrating that Jesus has the power to work in any life.” Cain recognized that education is vital but that teaching an inmate to read,


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write, and learn a skill “without moral rehabilitation” would only produce a “smarter criminal.” When Cain came to T. W. Terrell, director of missions for Judson Baptist Association, now Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, for advice, Terrell suggested he approach NOBTS. With the foresight and skill of Dr. Jimmy Dukes, the longtime Extension Center System Dean, the Angola prison extension center became a reality in 1996. But it was the Gospel that brought true moral rehabilitation. “Once we started the Bible college, the Bible got real popular and the knife got real unpopular,” Cain said in an earlier interview. “The Bible became the sword. Inmates began having Bible studies within the prison, and the culture began to change from one of violence and evil to one of godliness.” Over the years, the program’s success has been featured in USA Today,

By Marilyn Stewart

Christianity Today, Baptist Press, PBS, a number of radio and television reports, a documentary titled “A New Hope,” and even a spot as the answer to a question on the television game show, “Jeopardy!” in December 2012. Four years after its launch, the first four-year graduation was held at Angola. NOBTS/Leavell College extension centers now operate at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, St. Gabriel, La.; the Mississippi State Penitentiary, Parchman, Miss.; Phillips State Prison, Buford, Ga.; and the Hardee Correctional Institute, Bowling Green, Fla. “We are seeing the cultures at those prisons changing,” Cain said in an interview prior to his retirement. “We have seen a great transformation in the entire Department of Corrections, and the best part is, we didn’t plan it. We’re not that smart. This is a God thing.”

100 FOR 100 Dr. Jerry Barlow, right, teaches students how to baptize in the pastoral ministry classroom in the Bunyan Building.


The administration and faculty developed a new competencybased curriculum with new degrees and specializations, 1999.



New student housing — the first in 30 years — broke ground on campus in 2002. At project completion two years later, the Oaks, the Courtyard, and the Manors apartments made scores of new units available. Renovations at Farnsworth Apartments were completed the following year. Staff Village provided new units for full-time staff and Hamm Hall, a new 59-room guest housing unit across Gentilly Blvd. from the main campus, expanded guest housing. A building once used by the William Carey Nursing School became home to the Leeke Magee Counseling Center, Providence Learning Center, WBSN Radio, and MissionLab. Other improvements included new faculty homes and a new family recreational park and playground.


The renovations on Bunyan, 2000, included the innovative Jim Henry Classroom for Pastoral Ministry Excellence, a classroom complete with baptistery, Lord’s Supper Table, and a funeral coffin providing students hands-on experience with practical ministry.


Since 2000, MissionLab has provided groups of all ages and sizes the opportunity to learn missions by doing. With housing available at NOBTS’ Nelson L. Price Center for Urban Ministries, a 32-room dormitory opened in 2002, participants learn hands-on missions in the laboratory of New Orleans.

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It seemed New Orleans had escaped the worst after Hurricane Katrina tore across Louisiana and Mississippi in the early hours of Monday, Aug. 29, 2005. Initial news reports offered reassurance that the city had “dodged a bullet.” All that changed as word came that levees around the city, one by one, had failed releasing torrents of water into the city. By Tuesday morning, it was clear that the city and the seminary were facing a disaster of unprecedented proportions with flooding that would leave the future of both uncertain. Sixty percent of student housing flooded. All of the faculty homes on campus flooded. With water reaching as high as eight feet in some student apartments and two to five feet in faculty homes, the loss was extensive. Though more than 1,000 campus residents were scattered across the nation and an entire semester seemed in danger of being lost, God was already at work to redeem and restore. “God proved He is a Redeemer,” Kelley wrote in the Fall 2010 Vision marking the storm’s five-year anniversary. “Out of something ugly, He made something beautiful. The most important lesson I learned is: Do not be afraid. God is able to see you through any storm that life may bring.”


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The immediate outpouring of care from Southern Baptist churches, conventions, and entities to the NOBTS family was as unprecedented as the flooding. The long healing process began as Southern Baptists came to the seminary’s aid. Task forces of administrators, faculty and staff met three days after the storm in Atlanta to evaluate the situation. Within two weeks, the faculty convened at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to formulate a plan. Classes were moved online utilizing “threaded” Internet discussions and a restart date of Oct. 3 for the semester was slated. The first week of October brought also the first opportunity for residents to return to campus to salvage what possessions they could. The painfully slow draining water on campus had left black mold behind, upping the damage cost and forcing homes and buildings to be gutted back to the studs. But as residents returned, the Leavell Chapel steeple was the only light visible for miles. The floodlights set up to shine on Leavell Chapel by a contractor made for a welcome sight among bleak surroundings in a city without electrical power. This lone point of light shining in a sea of darkness represented the hope many had for the seminary and the city

— a hope rooted in Jesus Christ. “The sight of that steeple shining brightly touched people all over the city in the darkness of those days,” Kelley wrote. “It was a reminder that the darkness would not win. It was an affirmation that hope was alive. It was a statement that God still reigned. It was a call to come in out of the dark.” The plan hammered out by faculty and administration meant every course offered on campus during the fall semester continued. Graduation, held in Birmingham on Dec. 17, 2005, was a joyous reunion for the seminary family and a day of celebration. With the heaviest damage on campus restricted primarily to Leavell Chapel and campus housing, classes resumed on campus for commuters on Jan. 23, 2006. The front block of the campus — including the core of academic buildings — allowed class to resume while major construction continued at the rear of campus. In the city, relief came immediately as Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units arrived within hours of the storm. Tens of thousands of volunteers were mobilized to the campus and throughout the city as Southern Baptists moved seamlessly from relief to recovery, and then to rebuilding.

100 FOR 100 It was the third phase — ­ rebuilding — that wrote a new chapter in Southern Baptist Disaster Relief in groundbreaking and innovative ways as Southern Baptists rebuilt hundreds of homes and churches in the New Orleans area. As volunteers worked to rebuild homes, they shared the Gospel, and lives were changed. Kelley noted it was Southern Baptists’ finest hour. “Katrina taught us that being Southern Baptist is more than a doctrinal identity making clear what we believe,” Kelley wrote. “It is a relational identity making clear who we are. We are a family, a family far larger than any one church.” Though the disaster began with a “crushing weight of loneliness, grief and despair,” the seminary family had been “participants in a miracle of God,” Kelley noted. Hearts had been stirred by the light shining out the dark from Leavell Chapel and when the storm passed, redemption had the final word. “This is my witness to you when your world goes dark and a grief you never anticipated settles into your soul,” Kelley penned to readers. “Some of us have been to that place. We rise to tell you the light cannot be quenched. Do not be afraid. Jesus is a Redeemer. He will see you all the way home.” Top: Justin and Melinda Langford survey their flood-damaged student apartment following Hurricane Katrina. Right: A flooded car on Lipsey Street illustrates the extensive campus flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Far Right: NOBTS students share the Gospel in Gentilly on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

80 GREER-HEARD Focused on bringing together opposing viewpoints for conversation, the GreerHeard Point-Counterpoint Forum, begun in 2005, featured top biblical scholars such as N. T. Wright, Alister McGrath, Ben Witherington III, and others. Issues in philosophy, science and religion were highlighted in the 14 conference events held from 2005- 2017. N.T. Wright, left, and John Dominic Crossan dialogue about the resurrection of Jesus during the first Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint forum in 2005.

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81 CUBA PARTNERSHIP For more than 15 years, NOBTS faculty has led groups to Cuba to encourage and train Cuban Baptists. In western Cuba, NOBTS teams work near Havana, and in the east, near Santiago.

82 DEFENDING THE FAITH Top apologists from across the nation speak at DEFEND, the Institute of Christian Apologetics’ week-long conference held each January, an event focused on equipping believers to explain the Christian faith and pave the way for evangelism.


NOBTS research centers and institutes provide resources and events to strengthen the church. In addition to centers mentioned elsewhere, the Center for Discipleship and Ministry Leadership, Faith and the Public Square, Global Missions Center, and the Youth Ministry Institute integrate theology with church-based ministry targets.


In a historic moment in 2012, Fred Luter Jr. (’82-83) was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the first African American to hold the position, during its annual meeting in New Orleans. Luter served two terms as president.


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Dr. Rex Butler, left, and Dr. Bill Warren teach at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Santiago, Cuba in 2013.

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Meeting the needs of the community with a special emphasis on spiritual needs has always been a seminary focus, but with the establishment of the new academic division of Church and Community Ministries and the creation of the Leeke Magee Counseling Center, 2013, the vision became a win-win for students and community. NOBTS counseling students provide community members service and help while fulfilling required counseling practicum hours.



In 2007, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that NOBTS ranked 12th in the nation on the Academic Analytics’ Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index for Ph.D.-granting religious schools. The index, which measures scholarly publications, books, grants and honors, placed NOBTS between The Graduate Theological Union (11) and Princeton Theological Seminary (13).

Tyler Brinson (DMA ’17) was awarded the coveted Dove Award for Choral Collection of the Year (2015), with Gospel songwriter and producer Geron Davis, for the recording project “Splendor of Heaven.”



87 CASKEY CENTER Established in 2014, the Caskey Center for Church Excellence provides scholarships for bivocational and smaller membership church ministers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The full scholarship includes an evangelism practicum each semester.



From $1.54 million in 1975, the seminary’s endowment grew to $11.4 million by 1992. Today, the growing endowment tops $64 million.


NOBTS adopted a new logo and a new tagline of “Answering God’s Call,” 2015, to reflect the urgency of the Great Commission and the commitment of every Christian to go and tell.

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100 FOR 100 Families from the Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Greater New Orleans visit the Museum in 2017.



NOBTS marked its highest enrollment in school history with 3,955 students during the 2014-2015 school year. Of those, more than 2,300 were enrolled in the graduate and doctoral programs.


The Adrian Rogers Center for Expository Preaching, established in 2017, encourages and equips a new generation of expository preachers by providing helpful resources and promoting lectureships and conferences.

93 WEEKLY EVANGELISM Evangelism has always been central to the mission of NOBTS. Through class projects, church involvement, mission outreach, and the Caskey Center emphasis on personal evangelism, students carry out the Great Commission as they study.


NOBTS has a presence in each of the three Southern SEND Cities — New Orleans, Atlanta and Miami (South Florida) — that are focal points of NAMB’s SEND Network, an evangelism, church planting, and compassion ministries initiative.

95 LEGACY PLAZA A timeless legacy, the bricks placed in front of Leavell Chapel honor those whose lives and dedication to God have impacted others. As Legacy Plaza grows, the testimony to new generations continues. To purchase a brick in honor of a loved one or to learn more, visit or call 1-800-662-8701 x3252.


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From papyrus to print, the NOBTS Museum of the Bible and Archaeology, opened in 2012, chronicles the journey of the Bible from its earliest forms into the language of the common people. The museum also displays artifacts related to Biblical Lands.

97 NEW ACCESSIBILITY While NOBTS has been known for accessibility since the launch of the extension center system, recent years have brought new accessibility methods. A streamlined mentoring initiative pairs students with ministry-experienced mentors to enhance seminary training in locations across the country. Accessibility also has come to the doctor of philosophy program. The new synchronous video learning experience allows Ph.D. students to attend class via Bluejeans video conferencing regardless of location. This new learning method also facilitated NOLA2U classes in the master’s program. NOLA2U allows distance students to attend class via Blue Jeans or watch an archived version of the class within a set period of time. This provides Internet students with a much more robust learning environment.

98 ACTIVE IN THE CITY NOBTS students and alumni continue to impact the city of New Orleans through their service at local churches and church plants. However, their impact stretches beyond the churches as they are active in a wide range of ministries that bring glory to Christ and expand His Kingdom. Students and alumni are participating in foster care/adoption, serving the homeless, teaching in English as a Second Language programs, leading after-school programs, caring for sex trafficking victims and people caught in the sex industry, coaching youth sports, and many other unique ministry opportunities. And as they live, work and serve in the community and send their children to local schools, they are finding ways to impact friends and neighbors with a loving, Gospel witness.

99 'DIFFERENT VOICES' NOBTS President Chuck Kelley introduced “Different Voices,” a new multi-ethnic initiative, in 2018. The goal of the initiative is the increase in minority representation in every layer of the seminary community — students, staff, and faculty. Initial plans include workshops for minority students seeking a ministry in SBC academics and a doctoral fellowship for minority students. With other initiatives such as the Fred Luter Scholarship for African-American students and Spanish- and Korean-language programs, minority enrollment is increasing at a steady pace. “Different Voices” will help the seminary better represent these students by developing professors and staff members from diverse ethnic backgrounds.



The graduates that have passed through the seminary’s gates serve around the world in varied ministries and in countless capacities. Each alumnus — well-known in the SBC or virtually unknown outside of their own community — serves a vital role in God’s Kingdom. Whether serving in countries whose names cannot be published or in a small membership church in outof-the-way places or leading an SBC entity, God sees and knows each faithful servant. Thank you for Answering God’s Call.

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Pushing boundaries for Christ By Marilyn Stewart

She’s led a mission team to Haiti, ridden the Amazon River into isolated villages for the Gospel, and shared Christ with construction workers in Nicaragua. And she’s done it all from a wheelchair. TroQuell Jenkins, 25, says knowing Jesus is better than walking on two feet. “God’s glorified Himself so much in my life and in my testimony since I’ve gotten shot, and to me, that’s more important than walking,” Jenkins said. “God gave me new life.” The gunshots that ended Jenkins’ ability to walk at age 17 ended also an old way of life that included trouble in school, time in a gang, and eventually, rebellion against God. A friend who lived out the Gospel in front of her led Jenkins to faith in Christ two years after the incident. Today, the pretty young woman with a contagious smile pushes boundaries, but now it’s for the Gospel. Jenkin’s first mission trip was to New York with her new mom and dad who “adopted” her at age 19. “From then on, I’ve been on mission,” Jenkins beamed.


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A NEW NORMAL Co-founder of The Bible Ministry, Jenkins meets weekly with a packed room of women for Bible study, often with 100 more following on social media. The pink Bibles the ministry gives away come with a tee-shirt that reads “Blessed and Beautiful.” Sharing her testimony brings listeners to tears, a reaction Jenkins didn’t understand, at first. “I grew up thinking it was normal not to have your daddy in your life or for your mom to be on drugs, or for your grandmother to care for you,” Jenkins said. “Coming from the inner-city, I didn’t realize how powerful [my story] is.” Raised by her grandmother in New Orleans’ Central City, a neighborhood known for violence, Jenkins was a senior in high school when an ex-boyfriend shot her three times. Three months in the hospital — one in ICU — left Jenkins dependent upon family members ill-equipped to help. Battling depression, Jenkins struggled to forgive those who had walked out of her life, the boy who shot her, and even


KNOWING JESUS IS BETTER THAN WALKING ON TWO FEET. TROQUELL JENKINS Left to Right Top Row: sister Gail Chance Santamaria and parents Michael and Linda Chance. Left to Right Bottom Row: sister Grace Chance Markey, TroQuell, and brother Gabe Chance. herself for decisions she had made. New perspective came when Jenkins attended First Baptist New Orleans with a friend and came to faith in Christ. “My life instantly changed,” Jenkins said. “I met new friends who are in Christ and care for me.” Life’s new “normal” took another dramatic turn when God brought Jenkins an unexpected blessing — a new family. Michael Chance (M.R.E., ’76) met Jenkins while visiting NOBTS with his son-in-law and then-prospective student Jeff Markey (M.M.C.M ’15). On that trip, Chance joined the compassion ministry efforts at First Baptist Church of New Orleans one evening and served alongside Jenkins feeding the homeless. Chance, with wife Linda, soon knew God was calling them to make Jenkins a part of their family. “I sensed God had a plan and purpose for Quell,” Chance said. “I felt God telling me, ‘I’m going to use Quell in ministry and I want you to help her get ready.’” The couple welcomed Jenkins into their home, nursed her back to health and helped her become independent. Though any new relationship requires adjustments, Linda Chance said Jenkins was “easy to love.” While Jenkins’ “adoption” at age 19 was not a legal contract, it was full membership in the family. Michael and Linda became “Dad” and “Mom,” and their son and two daughters, her siblings. “We are all adopted,” Chance said, referencing Galatians 4. “All of us are broken … we are all in a spiritual wheelchair until God redeems us.”

GRATEFUL A longtime pastor in New Jersey and New York, Michael Chance serves as associate minister at the growing Graffiti Church in the Lower East Side of New York City. Jenkins’ testimony resonates with the urban setting, giving her many opportunities to share. Of the lessons Michael Chance has learned from watching Jenkins, gratitude is at the top of the list. “I don’t thank my heavenly Father as much as she does,” Chance said. “I’m amazed at how much gratitude she has.” No trip for Jenkins is handicapped accessible. No trip is easy. She’s gone on trips with people she didn’t know and at times has depended on strangers to carry her, wheelchair and all. People are God’s greatest gift to her, Jenkins likes to say. “At every stage, at every season, every mission trip, God always provides people,” Jenkins said. One tragic, “life-changing” moment took her ability to walk but gave Jenkins a fresh perspective on a fallen world “where bad things happen,” Jenkins said. Still, her passion for encouraging others not to give up, but to trust God and “go another lap” has earned her the nickname, “the drill sergeant.” Gratitude to God drives her passion. “My life is way better than my life before I got shot,” Jenkins said. “I’d rather be in this chair with Jesus in my life than to walk without Him any day.”

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SEMINARY NEWS NO RESTRAINTS CONFERENCE The Caskey Center at NOBTS hosts the annual “No Restraints” conference April 26-27, 2019, on the seminary campus. The event features Jim Shaddix, former NOBTS professor currently serving on the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, and Tommy Green, the executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention. The free conference is designed to encourage and support the work of bi-vocational and smaller membership church ministers. Visit for more information.

SENIOR FEST MARKS 10TH ANNIVERSARY APRIL 5 Dr. Steve Horn, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lafayette, La., is the featured speaker for the 10th annual Senior Fest, April 5, 2019. The senior choir of First Baptist Church of Covington, La., will lead worship. The one-day event, designed for adults 55+, is held on the NOBTS campus and features worship, fellowship with other believers, and insightful breakout sessions led by NOBTS faculty and friends. The registration fee of $40 covers a light breakfast and lunch. The deadline to register is March 15. Visit or call (504) 816-8106.

DEFEND, JAN. 7-11, 2019 Defending the faith and explaining the Christian worldview is vital in today’s culture. DEFEND, Jan. 7-11, 2019, helps believers provide the answers a skeptical culture demands. Top Christian apologists, including resurrection scholar Gary Habermas, Frank Turek of, and urban apologists Christopher Brooks and Lisa Fields, and others, are featured plenary speakers. Breakout sessions include dozens of noted apologists addressing topics from atheism to sexuality issues. Conference registration is free for

CASKEY GOSPEL CONVERSATIONS During the 2017-18 school year, students receiving Caskey scholarships had 8,386 Gospel conversations which resulted in 1,121 professions of faith. Since the Caskey Center’s launch in the 2014-15 school year, scholarship recipients have shared the Gospel 26,359 times and have seen 2,887 people commit their lives to Christ.


college students (a $125 value). Course

answer God’s call. Every purchase you

credit is available. Evening plenary

make at generates

sessions are free. For information, visit

a contribution to NOBTS of 0.5 percent

of the purchase price. With no added

NEW NOBTS PODCAST This fall, New Orleans Seminary launched a new podcast called “Answering the Call.” The podcast provides an opportunity for NOBTS students, faculty, staff and other ministry leaders to share how they are answering God’s call. Earlier episodes include interviews with NOBTS professors Dr. Mike Edens, Dr. Ken Taylor and Dr. Bill Warren. New episodes are released each Thursday during the semester. Check out the “Answering the Call” podcast at www.

cost to you, Amazon Smile puts your shopping dollars to work all year long. To get started, go to and select New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as your favorite charitable organization. Amazon Smile will do the rest. Enjoy shopping! Below, Left to Right: G. Ben Johnson, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce; immigration lawyer Elaine Kimbrell; Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association; and Tony Suarez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; share during the Institute for Faith and the Public Square’s forum on Immigration Sept. 25. A recording of the event is available at

SEMINARY NEWS NOBTS STUDENTS SHARE GOSPEL THROUGH CROSSOVER The 2,700 doors NOBTS students and local church members knocked on during Crossover 2018, the evangelism initiative preceding the SBC annual meeting in Dallas, saw 20 come to faith in Christ. “I’m not sure if there is a better example of church and seminary working together, said Shawn Paschal, pastor of Inglewood Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas, and NOBTS trustee. Paschal saw one church member step outside his comfort zone to go door-todoor nightly with the NOBTS team. “It was exciting,” Paschal said.

NOBTS ANNOUNCES DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS The seminary announced the first group of Research Doctoral Fellows during Convocation Sept. 6. The fellowships are merit-based scholarships that continue throughout a student’s time in the Ph.D. or D.M.A. program. The recipients are selected by the NOBTS faculty. The fellowship recipients are: Jonathan Borland, receiving the Thomas S. and Mary Wheeler Messer Fellowship in New Testament and Greek; Jamie Klemashevich, receiving the Lucille and Harold Harris Ph.D. Fellowship in Christian Counseling; Ron Lindo Jr., receiving the J. Duncan Boyd III Memorial Endowed Fellowship in Old Testament Studies and Hebrew; Jieun Yun, receiving the Lallage Feazel Fellowship in Instrumental Music; and Russell Zwerner, receiving the Milton and Charlotte Williams Fellowship in Preaching.

Led by Dr. Preston Nix, Professor of Evangelism and Evangelistic Preaching, the NOBTS team partnered with Inglewood Baptist Church members to share the Gospel in the diverse neighborhood. Though largely Hispanic, the neighborhood is home to many from Africa and Asia. Paschal pointed to the partnership as one way “NOBTS is taking the Great Commission seriously.”

EXCAVATION UPDATES FROM THE MOSKAU INSTITUTE New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Moskau Institute for Archaeology participated in three excavations in Israel in May and June. NOBTS completed the excavation of the ancient water system at Tel Gezer and the excavation of a Byzantine-era water reservoir at Zippori/Sepphoris this June. Both projects at Gezer and Zippori were excavated in partnership with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. In May the

Top Left: Jieun Yun, who received the Lallage Feazel Fellowship in Instrumental Music, is pictured with Dr. Chuck Kelley. Top Right: Russell Zwerner, who received the Milton and Charlotte Williams Fellowship in Preaching, is pictured with Dr. Kelley. Bottom: Jonathan Borland, who received the Thomas S. and Mary Wheeler Messer Fellowship in New Testament, is pictured with his wife, Elizabeth.

Moskau Institute partnered with Tel Aviv University to launch a multi-year excavation of Tel Hadid, an ancient site located southeast of Tel Aviv. Visit archaeology for updates.

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FACULTY ANNIVERSARIES Faculty members marking anniversaries of service at NOBTS were recognized during Convocation, Sept. 6.


















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Dedicated classroom teacher and noted scholar, Dr. Gerald Stevens never missed a day of class in his 30 years of service. Among Dr. Stevens’ academic contributions are his works Acts: A new Vision of the People of God and Revelation: The Past and Future of John’s Apocalypse. In honor of Dr. Stevens' service to NOBTS, he was named Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek this year. As a distinguished professor, Stevens will remain an integral part of the seminary and will continue to be engaged in teaching.



Elected to the faculty in 1983, Dr. Kelley taught evangelism, directed the NOBTS field education program, and served as director of the Center for Evangelism and Church Growth (now Leavell Center). His book Fuel the Fire: Lessons from the History of Southern Baptist Evangelism, released this year by B&H Academic, calls for rekindling evangelism fires through a focus on prayer, setting goals for evangelism, and training church members to evangelize. Dr. Kelley began his tenure as President in 1996.

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a word from our Alumni Director

FOR THE HEROES AMONG US By Dennis Phelps I grew up with several heroes in my family. Uncle Milford enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during WWII. His unit engaged in the Battle of Tarawa. It cost the lives of almost 6,400 Americans, Koreans, and Japanese. It cost my uncle one of his eyes. He was honored with a purple heart but wore a bandage over that eye for the rest of his life while he worked as a rural mail carrier. He was one of my heroes. My dad enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps (as did his two younger brothers). One of his buddies engaged in horseplay in the barracks one day. The buddy jumped off of a top bunk onto the back of my dad. It injured my dad’s back. His hopes of flying vanished. After completing his service, dad eventually launched his own business. At times he had nightmares of the war. But he shared no battle stories and earned no purple heart for his injury. Still, he was one of my heroes. You are receiving this publication because you are part of the NOBTS family. You are engaged in some type of Kingdom battle. Maybe your God-assigned duty is of the purple-heart kind. Maybe it seems mundane and uneventful. Whether you estimate your Kingdom sacrifice as “purple heart” worthy, or routine and uneventful, you are a hero in our NOBTS family. Your consistent service to Jesus in all types of circumstances and challenges deepens our gratitude to recognize you as a hero among us. We pray you will be encouraged as you read the stories in this edition about more of the heroes (past, present, and future) in service to Jesus. . . . until we hear the simple words “well done” from our eternal Commander and Lord. That will be more than enough reward.


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The Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries announced today that its board of trustees unanimously has chosen Derek Brown (MDiv ’08, ThM ’10, PhD ’14) as the agency’s next Executive Director. Brown, who currently serves as Clinical Director for the agency, will succeed David Perry, Dec. 1. The selection of Brown caps a nationwide search by a five-member search committee of board trustees. A large prospective pool of candidates was narrowed down to the top candidates who met in person with the search committee. Brown, 36, has a proven record of success in leadership and ministry to children and families. He joined ABCHomes in 2012 as Little Rock Area Director. Previously, Brown was an adjunct instructor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, La., and served on the staff of Celebration Hope Center, Metairie, La. He and his wife, Ariel, have one daughter, Lelia, 9, and two sons, Gavin, 7, and Jonas, 4. Ariel serves as a counselor with the agency. They are active members of Epoch Church of Little Rock.

DMIN PROJECT HELPS PAVE THE WAY FOR CHURCH LAUNCH, 22 BAPTISMS Twenty-two baptisms marked the Sunday morning launch of a new campus for Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Ark. this summer. The Paragould, Ark. campus — site number four for the church — drew more than 1,200 in attendance. Archie Mason (DMin ’11), senior pastor of the main campus church, directs the multi-site staff, putting into practice his doctoral project focused on developing teambuilding leadership skills in multi-staff ministers. Dr. Mark Tolbert, NOBTS Caskey Center Director and Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry, was Mason’s Senior Pastor when he answered God’s call to ministry. “Doing the D.Min. sharpened his focus and enhanced the academic and theological foundation of his ministry,” Tolbert said. “He’s always been a gifted communicator, but this broadened his foundation.”

We’re more than just another youth camp.


ALUMNI NEWS DEATHS ALFRED, MELTON (MDiv ’86) of Jennings, La., passed away April 13, 2018. He is survived by his wife Cora Lee, a daughter, brother, daughter-inlaw, four grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren.

CALDWELL, ALTON (attended ’59) of Bessemer, Ala., passed away May 24, 2018. He is survived by his sister, brother, brother-in-law and several nieces and nephews.

HORTON, DALE D. (BDiv ’67, ThMH ’68) of Longview, Texas, passed away July 13, 2018. He is survived by his wife Anna, a son, a daughter, grandchildren and other family members.

ALLEN, GEORGE D. (MRE ’84) of Mobile, Ala., passed away April 26, 2018. He is survived by his children, six grandchildren four great-grandchildren.

COATES, ARDITH W. (MRE ’82) of Alexandria, Ala., passed away June 9, 2018. She is survived by her siblings, nieces, great-niece and nephews and other family members.

HYATT, ELIZABETH M. (MRE ’51) of Alexandria, La., passed away July 4, 2018. She is survived by her husband Leon, three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

ANSELL, GEORGE C. SR. (DPCH ’71) of Nags Head, N.C., passed away Dec. 20, 2016. He is survived by his wife Mary, three children, a sister and a brother.

DAY, STELLA R. (attended ’69) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away July 13, 2018. She is survived by her husband Jeff, a brother and other family members.

JONES, BEATRICE G. (attended ’41) of Hazlehurst, Miss., passed away May 2, 2018. She is survived by three sons, six grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a sister.

BAILEY, BEAUX A. (attended ’13) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away June 10, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Jana, five children, his sister, nephews, grandparents and many other family members.

ELLIS, JO ANN M. (attended ’49) of Texas City, Texas, passed away April 18, 2018. He is survived by a daughter, grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, a great-great-grandchild and other family members.

BEASLEY, DEWEY E. (BDiv ’60) of Tifton, Ga., passed away June 30, 2018. He is survived by his wife Cleo, son, daughterin-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. BOBO, KENNETH N. (MRE ’61) of Plantation, Fl., passed away May 26, 2018. He is survived by his daughter, granddaughters, great-grandchildren and a brother. BRITT, W. JIM (MDiv ’78) of Sycamore, Ga., passed away July 3, 2018. He is survived by his wife Judith, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and sisters. BRYAN, MAGGIE H. (DIPM ’42) of Sulphur, La., passed away Aug. 25, 2017. She is survived by her daughter, five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, a sister and other family members. BRYON, GEORGE T. (MDiv ’63) of Copperas Cove, Texas, passed away April 17, 2018. He is survived by his wife Martha, a son and his wife, a sister and his nieces and nephews. CAIN, PAUL (ThM ’71) of Kosciusko, Miss., passed away July 1, 2018. He is survived by his wife Polly, their daughters, five grandchildren and many other family members.


VISION Fall 2018

FLOWERS, JOHN W. (BDiv ’53, MRE ’54, DRE ’62) of Senatobia, Miss., passed away April 12, 2018. He is survived by his wife Jessie, three daughters, six grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren. FREEMAN, BILLY G. (MDiv ’81) of Pickens, S.C., passed away May 4, 2018. He is survived by his wife Carolyn, several nieces and nephews and his sister. GANEY, PAUL DANIEL (ADRE ’92) of Anniston, Al., passed away Sept. 2, 2018. He is survived by his wife Rebecca, one daughter, two grandchildren, one greatgrandson, and other family members. GANTT, JAMES M. JR. (BDiv ’66) of Gastonia, N.C., passed away July 6, 2018. He is survived by his wife Jeanette, a daughter, sons, stepsons, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and other family members. HIGGINS, KENNETH G. (ADPM ’80) of Henagar, Ala., passed away March 25, 2018. He is survived by his wife Jo Ann, two sons, a daughter, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and a sister. HINTON, JOE W. (BDiv ’59) of Pickens, S.C., passed away April 5, 2018. He is survived by a son, daughter, four grandsons and eight great-grandchildren.

JONES, JAMES S. (BRE ’56) of Centre, Ala., passed away Dec. 22, 2017. He is survived by his daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and siblings. JONES, MACK P. (BDiv ’55, ThMH ’55) of Purvis, Miss., passed away July 19, 2018. He is survived by his wife Marie and many nieces and nephews. JOYNTON, HARRY D. JR. (MRE ’71) of Colorado Springs, Co., passed away Dec. 27, 2017. He is survived by his sons, eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and other family members. KANNON, LAURANCE H. (MRE ’69) of Sumter, S.C., passed away July 5, 2018. He is survived by his wife Emily, five children, 19 grandchildren, a sister and other family members. KICKER, ELDRED R. (MRE ’64) of Marshfield, Mo., passed away June 26, 2018. He is survived by his daughter, three sons, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. KNOX, JIMMIE E. (ThM ’72, DMin ’76) of Kenner, La., passed away July 23, 2018. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and other family members. LAND, JACK A. SR. (DPCH ’53) of Memphis, TN passed away June 5, 2018. He is survived by five children, 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.


LEWIS, ROY F. (DPCH ’58) of Springfield, Mo., passed away April 7, 2018. He is survived by his wife Betty, a son, six grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren. MASON, MELTON JR. (EDS ’72) of Paducah, Ky., passed away May 14, 2018. He is survived by his wife Delores, five children, 14 grandchildren, a brother and two sisters. MCGILL, RALPH E. (attended ’49) of Dawson, Ga., passed away July 4, 2018. He is survived by many family members. MONTGOMERY, PAUL JR. (MRE ’69) of Snellville, Ga., passed away Nov. 27, 2018. He is survived by many family members. NEWELL, LUTHER C. JR. (ThM ’71) of Biloxi, Miss., passed away April 7, 2018. He is survived by his mother, three children, nine grandchildren and his siblings. OLIVE, AARON B. (DCT ’71) of Fayette, Ala., passed away June 4, 2018. He is survived by his wife Carol, a daughter, two sons and three grandchildren. PARTIN, WANDA M. (attended ’57) of Magnolia, Miss., passed away Feb. 23, 2018. She is survived by her husband David, three children, 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. PRUITT, NEVELYN E. (attended ’14) of Lebanon, Mo., passed away May 11, 2018. She is survived by her sons, three grandchildren, siblings and other family members. RANDELS, JAMES R. (MDiv ’54) of New Orleans, La., passed away April 29, 2018. He is survived by his wife Eloise, five children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. ROBERTS, OLYN F. (BDiv ’57) of Koscuisko, Miss., passed away June 7, 2018. He is survived by his daughter, four grandchildren and two sisters-in-law. ROBERTSON, FRED E. (MDiv ’72) Rayville, La., passed away Aug. 29, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Aline Adams Robertson (BRE ’59), a son, daughter, four grandchildren and 11 greatgrandchildren.

ROCKETT, TELA D. (BRE ’53) of Leesville, La., passed away March 17, 2018. She is survived by her husband Arthur, two children, six grandchildren, a greatgranddaughter and other family members. RUDD, JOHN W. (DMin ’81) of Spicewood, Texas, passed away May 1, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Thelma, three sons, two grandchildren, seven greatgrandchildren and a brother.

WALLACE, WILLIAM H. (BDiv ’60) of Foley, Ala., passed away July 6, 2018. He is survived by two children, three grandchildren and other family members. WIERICK, GLEN E. (MRE ’56) of Tyler, Texas, passed away May 28, 2018. He is survived by his wife Sylvia, five children, ten grandchildren and 11 greatgrandchildren.

SAMPLE, JAMES A. (BDiv ’65, MDiv ’74, DMin ’85) of Ball, La., passed away June 12, 2018. He is survived by his wife Betty Jo, his daughter, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other family members. SHORROSH, ANIS A. (BDiv ’59) of Mobile, Ala., passed away May 13, 2018. He is survived by his wife Nell, two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. SIMPSON, VICTOR L. (MDiv ’89) of Prince Frederick, Md., passed away June 4, 2018. He is survived by his children, a sister and other family members. SMITH, FORREST W. (BDiv ’61) of Corpus Christi, Texas, passed away June 28, 2018. He is survived by his wife Betty, three daughters, four grandchildren and a sister. SNOW, HAMILTON H. JR. (MRE ’75) of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., passed away April 19, 2018. He is survived by his wife Cassie, two sons, two daughters and other family members. STIRMAN, ELLA M. (MRE ’59) of Martinsburg, W.V., passed away May 18, 2018. She is survived by her son, daughter and other family members. TRAVIS, LUCILLE W. (BRE ’52) of Blue Mountain, Miss., passed away Dec. 28, 2017. She is survived by her children, 12 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a sister. WALLACE, PERRY S. (attended ’57) of Rockwall, Texas, passed away Sept. 13, 2018. He is survived by four children, ten grandchildren and nine greatgrandchildren.

VISION Fall 2018


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