Vision - Spring/Summer 2020

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New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College



featuring Bible teacher & Author Jen Wilkin






VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020


Prepare Here. Serve Anywhere.

ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission. This singular mission drives everything we are doing here in New Orleans. As I write this, I have been on the job for just over one year. We’ve put our hand to so many exciting things - a new mission statement, new faculty and staff members, a new enrollment strategy, and new college initiatives just to name a few. The days have been rich with work and purpose. I am grateful for the men and women that I have the privilege of serving alongside each day at NOBTS and Leavell College. When the Dew Krewe moved to New Orleans, we relocated to a fantastic city. We had no idea, however, that we would come to love this city and her people as much as we do today. The Saints are our football team and the Pelicans have our basketball loyalties. We have visited too many restaurants to name, and enjoyed some of the best meals of our lives. The Dew Krewe went to more Mardi Gras parades in one weekend than we knew you could do in a year. The Dew Krewe has made a home in New Orleans on the campus of NOBTS and Leavell College. Our home is here with the community of students, staff, and faculty. We serve together in our churches each week and through various ministries around the city. The family of this institution is dedicated to proclaim the truth of Christ in New Orleans and beyond. We have come to recognize that you can prepare here to serve anywhere. As friends and alumni of NOBTS and Leavell College, you know this fact to be true. Preparation for ministry in New Orleans means that you can serve anywhere God calls you. The uniqueness of the culture and people of New Orleans is the perfect environment to pursue theological training and ministry preparation.

Join us in these efforts. Pray for us in the work. Send us students. Support our work financially. Come visit us to see all that God is doing at our school of Providence and Prayer as we prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission.

Dr. Jamie Dew President, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College

VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020



Volume 75, Number 2



Vice President of Enrollment


Director of Alumni Relations


Editor and Art Director Managing Editor Designer Photographer


Contributing Editor


Contributing Writer

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

All contents © 2020 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. On the cover: Our colorful city at night.


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Prepare Here • Serve Anywhere


'Boots on the Ground Training'


Running toward the Hard Places

11 The City 'Captures Your Heart' 13 A City with a Soundtrack 15 New Orleans Culture & Ministry 101 ADVANCEMENT NEWS 17 Wetzel named VP of Advancement


18 $435,000 raised for Scholarships SEMINARY NEWS 19 Year in Review 23 COVID-19 Response 23 Trustees approve $21.5 M Budget 24 Trustees approve new Degrees 24 Shaffer named Associate VP 25 'Prepare Her' to Serve Anywhere 9


FACULTY NEWS 27 Holcomb named Professor Emeritus 27 New Book by Rhyne Putman 28 Elections and Promotions ALUMNI NEWS 29 A Word from the Alumni Director 30 Couple Serving in Italy shares concern for Immigrants 31 Ministry in Boston Awaits Dentons 33 Class Notes


34 Obituaries

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VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020

To be in New Orleans is to feel its rhythm, its easy-going style, and its winsome love of celebration. Traditions are the heartbeat of the city, yet New Orleans is anything but traditional. Ministry in New Orleans - like the city - is rich and varied as God is at work in suburban church plants, in new works in “hard places,” and in congregations with an anywhere-in-America type feel. Regardless of where God’s call may lead, New Orleans is the right place to prepare.


rom the Zydeco music of the bayou to the Creole cuisine on the table and its vibrant artistic soul, New Orleans simmers with colorful, divergent cultures. Together, they are a gumbo of people, customs, and ideas. When it comes to beliefs about God, the same throwit-all-in approach often holds true. Worldviews are often scrambled. “Nobody mixes and matches like New Orleans does,” said George Ross (DMIN '18), Assistant Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism and NAMB Send Missionary. “Some worldviews will be neat and wellorganized, but many will be ‘pushed together’ with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.”

There’s no better place to come and learn apologetic ministry which is a requirement in this post-Christian context. New Orleans is where you get 'boots on the ground training.' ~ GEORGE ROSS


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Knowing how to navigate today’s culture where beliefs are pieced together is vital, Ross said, and New Orleans is the right place to learn. “There’s no better place to come and learn apologetic ministry which is a requirement in this postChristian context,” Ross said. “New Orleans is where you get boots on the ground training.” More than 70 neighborhoods make up the city, each with its own personality and style. Churches reflect their neighborhoods and may be suburban and traditional or urban and eclectic, with every variety in-between. “You won’t find this anywhere else,” Ross said. “If you come here and serve in a church, you’re going to encounter those unique situations, have handson experience, and then have the privilege of being at a conservative, Bible-believing seminary to help you navigate that.” As Ross tells church planters that are under his mentorship, “If you can plant a church in New Orleans, you can plant a church anywhere.” n


TOP LEFT: George Ross is helping train a generation of church planters in New Orleans. The unique culture of the city prepares church planters for cross-cultural experiences anywhere God may call them. TOP RIGHT: The Louis Armstrong statue in Armstrong Park pays tribute to a jazz icon who remains one of the city's best-known and most-loved native sons. BOTTOM: While a few other U.S. cities have "trolleys," this nostalgic form of transportation is called a "streetcar" in New Orleans.

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TOP: Justin Haynes serves as a church planter in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. Haynes and the members of his church are sharing the Gospel in one of the most ideologically diverse neighborhoods in the city. ABOVE: Paddleboats like the Creole Queen are a common sight along the Mississippi River which runs next to the Bywater neighborhood. RIGHT: The architecture and color palette in the heart of New Orleans reflects the French, Spanish, Caribbean and African influences in the city.


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ugging the east bank of the Mississippi River, next door to the French Quarter, the Marigny/Bywater neighborhoods are Bohemian in style and artsy in flair. There, the welcome mat is out for any worldview or belief system.

Though hostility to the Gospel is frequent, Haynes is driven by a sense of urgency. He and the volunteers he has trained have logged more than 2,500 Gospel conversations in the community. Of those, six came to faith in Christ.

Except for one.

Still, many of the Gospel conversations became springboards for relationships, a vital piece of groundwork for seeing lives changed, Haynes said.

“They are going to be offended [by the Gospel],” Justin Haynes (BACMIN '13), a NAMB Send City church planter, tells the volunteers he trains to share the Gospel in his community. “Take the time to ask questions and build the relationship first.”

“They’re going to be mad. There’s going to be tension,” Haynes explained. “But we don’t want them someday saying, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’”

Haynes leads Refuge Nola Church, a tiny congregation that meets in a building owned by a Voodoo priestess that doubles as a grocery store and a “healing center.” Ministry there is not easy, but Haynes is not afraid of hard places. After two local pastors - on the same day - asked Haynes if he had considered starting a new work in the community known for its historic Creole cottages and street art, he went to explore the possibility. When Haynes encountered a man on his knees praying to an idol, he knew he was in the right place.

Many in the Marginy/Bywater community feel the weight of guilt. Many are seeking peace. Haynes was headed home one day when he felt prompted to return to the grocery store in the building where his church meets. A man came up to him and said, “I’ve been looking for you.” For two hours, Haynes answered the man’s spiritual questions. “Not every conversation gets to the Gospel presentation, but that should be the goal,” Haynes said. “The only way to do that is ‘die to yourself.’ When I wake up, I tell myself, I have to die today, to get rid of anything that doesn’t have to be done."

“I considered that my call to this area,” Haynes said. At a coffee shop one day, Haynes’ friendly conversation with a local turned icy when Haynes brought up the Gospel. The man announced, “This conversation is over.”

"Prayer is the key. Prayer gives you boldness and allows you to push through the fear.” n

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he church that meets in the corner slot of a strip mall just off the main artery through Metairie’s suburban sprawl is Metairie Church, a church with a contemporary yet traditional feel. Co-pastors Matt Tipton (MACE ’09) and Augustine Hui (MMCM ‘16, MDIV ’19) lead a congregation brought together in a merge three years ago to make a vibrant multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multigenerational community. Both Tipton and Hui came to the city to attend NOBTS, but stayed to serve. “You come here and the city captures your heart,” Tipton said. For Tipton, leaving could have been easy. First as a young couple and then with growing children, Tipton, and his wife Elaine, have experienced loss in Hurricane Katrina (2005), the hard task of rebuilding, more hurricane evacuations, complications of urban living, and this year’s coronavirus pandemic. Fifteen of Tipton’s 20 years of ministry and marriage have been in New Orleans. Walking alongside a congregation through trials has convinced Tipton that hardships ultimately are not drawbacks, but “priceless” gems. As example, he points to members “sent out” by the church, including eight now serving as pastors elsewhere. “Facing difficulties cultivated a ‘burning’ in their souls to see others come to faith in Christ,” Tipton explained. “The ‘scraping and clawing’ it took to


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Facing difficulties cultivated a ‘burning’ in their souls to see others come to faith in Christ. The ‘scraping and clawing’ it took to reach people is the reason they leave with a fire in their hearts to strive for excellence and Gospel impact wherever the Lord sent them. ~ MATT TIPTON

reach people is the reason they leave with a fire in their hearts to strive for excellence and Gospel impact wherever the Lord sent them.” Hui, a Chinese American from Brooklyn, N. Y., and son of a church planter/pastor, knows the influence it has on a child to watch parents devote their lives to the Gospel in unreached places. “It made it very obvious for me - either you trust Christ or not,” Hui said. “It was real to me.”

PREPARE HERE • SERVE ANYWHERE LEFT: Matt Tipton co-pastors Metairie Church, a diverse congregation in suburban New Orleans. CENTER: George Rodrigue's iconic sculpture in the median of Veteran's Boulevard in Metairie greets visitors of Lakeside Mall. Metairie bears some resemblance to the suburban landscapes of other U.S. cities, but the tale-tell signs of New Orleans culture bleed into Metairie, Kenner and beyond. BOTTOM: Augustine Hui co-pastors Metairie Church. Hui is a Chinese American transplant from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Growing up, Hui was the only Christian in his circle of friends in junior high and high school, and in the classroom. One of Hui’s close friends from junior high came to faith in Christ as an adult. At Hui’s wedding, the friend expressed his thanks to Hui and his family. “If it weren’t for the fact that I watched you and your family live consistently for ten years, I wouldn’t have come to know Christ. You exemplified what it means to follow Christ,” Hui related his friend’s words. While New Orleans is a gumbo of cultures and worldviews, Hui sees it as a reminder of the early church. When values and customs of differing groups are brought together “under the submission of scripture,” each contributes to the life of the church, Hui explained. “When that happens, the beauty of the Church is enhanced,” Hui said. “It is a picture of heaven.” n

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he very first moment I set foot in New Orleans I heard music. It was the breathy sound of a steam calliope atop a paddleboat on the Mississippi River. The sounds of the city (one that I would later call home) made a great first impression. New Orleans is a city with a soundtrack, and this is just one of the many beautiful things I love about my adopted home. One afternoon in the summer of 1992, I drove into New Orleans for the first time. I really didn't know what to expect, but I brought with me a number of misconceptions. I knew about Bourbon Street and wanted to avoid it. I had heard about the crime and the poverty. To some extent, I equated the whole city with these incomplete caricatures. As I made my way into the city that first time, I noticed the dramatic juxtaposition of rich and poor; old and new. I was captured by the fading beauty and the preserved historic architecture of the most unique city in the United States. I was still processing all that I had seen on my drive when I arrived in the French Quarter. The moment I opened my door, I heard music. The riverboat calliope was only the opening act of an outdoor concert that stretched from the Mississippi River near Canal Street to Jackson Square.


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I heard the music of teenagers with bottle caps on their shoes tap dancing for tips to the beat of a bucket drum. Further down Decatur Street, I heard random bursts of jazz wafting from the restaurants and shops along our way (some live, some recorded). We encountered several jazz musicians playing in and around the Square. After a brief time in the Quarter and the requisite visit to CafÊ du Monde, I left. I didn’t visit New Orleans again until 2001, but the music stuck with me. In 2001 when I started seminary, I began spending time in the city. Though I lived in Mississippi, I came to the city for classes and evangelism projects in the French Quarter. With time, the caricatures of New Orleans faded. Slowly, I began to understand and love this place. I gradually opened my heart to the beauty here. A few years later I moved to the city, and for the past seventeen years I have embraced New Orleans as home. I discovered that the people of the city were the most beautiful part. And the music they create is a glimpse into their souls. Music flows freely on every block of this city. Kids who grow up in New Orleans have music flowing through their veins. Jazz was born in a melting pot of cultures. As jazz musicians coax unbelievable sounds from brass and


ABOVE: The Eagle Saloon, located at the corner of Perdido and South Rampart in the Central Business District (CBD), was one of the clubs where jazz was born in the late 1800s and early 1900s. RIGHT: The 150-foot tall clarinet portrait adoring the Holiday Inn near the Eagle Saloon illustrates the importance of music to the city's culture and economy. FACING PAGE: Buddy "King" Bolden and his band were early jazz practitioners who helped create the genre. No recording exist of the enigmatic early jazz group.

wood and ivory, they also poignantly capture emotion. Jazz is used to celebrate birth, death, and even rebirth. It is also used to mourn and lament. The second line at a New Orleans funeral remembers and celebrates the deceased and also acknowledges the possibility of life with God after death. These powerful traditions of the jazz funeral and second line parade, which combine mourning, lament, celebration and hope, offer a prime opportunity for believers to speak of what Jesus has done on our behalf and the hope we have in Him. And when we engage people from New Orleans around music, we are speaking their heart language. God gave us music to praise Him. He gave it to us because it is beautiful. Music helps us express and wrestle with the wide range of emotions that we experience as human beings - New Orleans does this well. The soundtrack of this city and the songs of its people have helped me to better appreciate the beauty of the gift God has given us. Music is gift from God and so is the city of New Orleans. n

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ew Orleans is filled with many different cultures. And, in many ways, it does for ministry experience and contextualization what seminary does for ministry education. Students who come here are able to take a deep dive and learn to do ministry in the kinds of culture only found in the United States in a place like New Orleans. Learning to do ministry here really does prepare students to do ministry anywhere else in the world. Rather than having one specific, unified culture, New Orleans is an intersection of diverse cultures. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities, incomes, creeds, and careers. And likewise, various ministries have grown up to reach this varied culture. To one not familiar with the city, gaining a proper understanding of it can be a daunting task. But a great place to start is by following the river. The Mississippi River runs through the heart of the city and the region. On the eastern edge of the metro area is Chalmette. Chalmette is home to the historic Chalmette Battlefield — the last major battle in the War of 1812. Just west of Chalmette one will find the Domino Sugar Plant and the historic Jackson Barracks, headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard. Moving west, the river touches the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods, the French Quarter and snakes its way by the Garden District, Uptown and the Audubon Zoo. Following the river provides a great entry point to understanding the city and finding unique ministry opportunities.


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Historic Jackson Square in the French Quarter serves as the city's front door.

JACKSON SQUARE Jackson Square is a modern-day Mars Hill. The exchange of ideas here is creative, cultural and relational rather than academic. Case in point, when David Platt was a student at NOBTS, this is exactly how he used it. He brought a fold-up table and set it up right next to rows of fortune tellers in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in order to have Gospel conversations. Not only is Jackson Square iconic and located in the heart of the French Quarter, but foot traffic is always high. It’s a great entry point for New Orleans.

PREPARE HERE • SERVE ANYWHERE closely, and often, when driving on it, large shipping cranes can be seen, looming over the port wall. Leaving Global Maritime and driving all the way up the other end of Tchoupitoulas, there is a small international shipping company. It’s been around since 1955, when its founder came to faith in Christ at First Baptist New Orleans. Missionary Expediters is its name, and it ships missionary cargo and humanitarian aid all over the world. But what’s most interesting about Missionary Expediters is that its warehouse is also the site of a church plant.

NOLA BAPTIST CHURCH Global Maritime Ministries shares the Gospel with workers at the busy Port of New Orleans and the foreign sailors working on cargo and cruise ships that visit New Orleans. The maritime industry is a major economic engine throughout the region.

Walking through the French Quarter, one encounters a mix of workers, tourists and residents. While the French Quarter is not a quiet place, there’s a certain laid back quality to it. And while walking those streets, and meeting the people, it becomes clear why it’s called the Big Easy. People are easy to talk to and most of them are not in a hurry. That means, it is easy to strike up a conversation. Traveling farther up river, the landscape transitions into the Garden District, Irish Channel and Uptown. These areas have fewer tourists and are generally quieter than the French Quarter. Uptown is home to Global Maritime Ministries.

GLOBAL MARITIME MINISTRIES As a cruise ship destination — and a stop that has been growing in recent years — and a busy shipping port, New Orleans has a regular flow of international workers. Global Maritime Ministries, directed by Philip Vandercook, ministers to international and American mariners. When cruise ships dock at port, the Global Maritime Ministry center gives seafarers a place to rest and relax while providing them phone and computer access so they can stay in contact with family members far away. As Global Maritime Ministries builds relationships with seafarers from around the world, they show them the love of Christ and find many opportunities to share the Gospel. Global Maritime is located on Tchoupitoulas Street (the first T is silent). Tchoupitoulas follows the river

Each Sunday Morning, several dozen gather in the warehouse of Missionary Expediters to be the salt and light to both the world and their neighborhood. Their pastor is Kyle Jagers, a transplant himself. And as he has said, God simply put New Orleans in his heart. So he and his wife moved their two little ones to New Orleans to help spread the gospel. The established, more traditional churches are working equally hard to understand their context and provide a bold, Gospel witness to their neighbors. They are led by people who live in the same neighborhoods they do ministry in. And taking the time to walk with them and learn from them can be some of the most invaluable training for reaching cultures for Christ.

MORE This quick look has been only a brief glimpse into the culture around New Orleans that sprang up around the river. But there are so many more unique cultural expressions and ministry opportunities. At the Orleans Parish/Jefferson Parish line, the culture becomes less urban and more suburban. The same can be said for the other side of the river - the West Bank. Following the river on the West Bank, one will encounter Algiers Point which mirrors the urban landscape of the city. But moving west, the landscape becomes suburban. Throughout the region, the map is dotted with SBC churches engaging the culture with the Gospel. Since New Orleans is one of the North American Mission Board’s SEND Cities, the NAMB website ( has a full listing of SBC churches, plants, and prospects in New Orleans. The city is both a treasure trove of culture and Gospel ministry opportunities. n

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amie Dew appointed long-time Florida pastor Mike Wetzel to serve as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Wetzel began serving in December 2019. Wetzel, who earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from NOBTS, joined the administrative team at his alma mater after 27 years as pastor of The Island Chapel in Tierra Verde, Fla. He planted the church in 1991 while serving as a church planter apprentice with the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board). Wetzel had been tasked with starting a new church every six months. He had already planted two other churches before planting The Island Chapel. Instead of moving on to plant another church, Wetzel was able to stay on as the pastor. He and his wife, Maria, planted their lives in Tierra Verde and God blessed them with a vibrant church family.

Mike is a perfect match for this and he has a proven track record in advancement. ~ JAMIE DEW

When Dew contacted Wetzel about the position, he agreed to pray about the opportunity. In the past, when job offers came Wetzel's way, God answered quickly and he continued to lead The Island Chapel, a role which gave him great joy. This time was different. According to Wetzel, God did not give him an immediate "yes" or an immediate "no." The Wetzels committed the opportunity to prayer and slowly walked through the interview process. Before long, God's answer was "yes" and the Wetzels decided to answer His call. "We are thrilled to have Dr. Mike Wetzel joining the team as Vice President for Institutional Advancement," Dew said. "In our search, we looked for someone who not only


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knew the NOBTS family well, but could also tell the story with clarity and passion, cultivate close relationships with our donors, and could execute our advancement strategy. Mike is a perfect match for this and he has a proven track record in advancement." Wetzel leads the seminary's fundraising efforts and oversees donor relations. And as a long-time pastor, Wetzel practices pastoral care and concern as he connects with donors who are passionate about building God's kingdom. At NOBTS and Leavell College, the key focus of fund-raising efforts remains on student scholarship. Wetzel knows the financial challenges facing seminary students and is passionate about helping men and women prepare for ministry. Wetzel is no stranger to the fund-raising efforts at NOBTS. He and his wife are long-time seminary donors and members of the Foundation Board. The relationships they have developed in the seminary donor community will be a great asset to his leadership. Wetzel, who led the seminary's degree program at the Hardee Correctional Center from 2015 to 2019, gained critical advancement experience as he helped secure funding for the prison program. In April, the trustees added Wetzel to the NOBTS faculty as Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry.



hen NOBTS leaders asked alumni and donors to help create summer scholarships, the initial response was overwhelming. The generous seminary donors gave more than $300,000 in the first week of the scholarship campaign. To date, donors have given $435,000 toward the “Bridge Campaign” for summer scholarships. Normally, scholarships are only offered at NOBTS/ Leavell College during the spring and fall semesters. Due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, NOBTS/Leavell College President Jamie Dew sought donor help so students could continue their ministry training. The funds generated would be used to provide summer tuition scholarships during this difficult time for students. “Our donors stepped up in a major way over the past few weeks to provide a significant amount of financial aid for summer classes,” said Dew. “Because of their generosity,

students who enroll in our Red Carpet Week workshops in May or our June and July summer classes and apply for financial aid will receive a 50 percent tuition scholarship for each course.” Those who gave to the Bridge Scholarship Campaign include regular NOBTS donors, alumni, seminary administrators, and members of the seminary and Leavell College faculty. Dew added that many of those who gave are pastors and ministers serving the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. “On behalf of NOBTS and Leavell College we would like to express our gratitude at what God has done, and thank the generous donors that have made the Bridge Campaign such a success,” said Mike Wetzel, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “We had a few donors step up to offer $150,000 towards a matching goal of $300,000. We surpassed that goal within the first week of giving.” “I am humbled at how quick the response has been during this global pandemic,” he said. “The giving is a small testimony that we still know that God is in charge, and we want the students to continue their education.”

I am humbled at how quick the response has been during this global pandemic. ~ MIKE WETZEL

Wetzel said that the response from the campus family was especially touching. According to Wetzel, 25 administrators, professors and staff members contributed. For the many students who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 or have seen their employment hours reduced, the aid could not have come at a better time. The scholarships allowed many students to continue their preparation for gospel ministry, even in a time of great uncertainty. To receive the aid, students had to enroll in at least one summer course and apply through the school’s financial aid office. More than 400 students received the scholarships which funded 50 percent of their summer tuition.

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Year in Review



Dr. James K. “Jamie” Dew Jr., was elected as the ninth president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College on June 5, 2019. Before coming to NOBTS, Dew served as Vice President for Undergraduate Studies and Distance Learning at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Dew family quickly embraced their new home - both the campus and the city. Their love for their new city has made a lasting impact on the NOBTS/Leavell College students, faculty and staff.

DEW SET FIRST-YEAR PRIORITIES Following his election, Dew outlined a four-pronged vision for NOBTS and Leavell College. Leavell College would be “priority number one,” Dew said, noting that NOBTS and Leavell College were “dripping in potential.” His other three priorities were enrollment, marketing/ communications and building denominational relationships.


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ENROLLMENT DEPARTMENT CREATED During the trustee meeting following his election, Dew asked the trustees to create a cabinet-level leadership position to oversee enrollment. The trustees created the position and Larry W.Lyon was selected to serve as the Vice President for Enrollment. Lyon serves as chief strategist and catalyst for all enrollment-related matters, admissions and communications.

NEW MISSION STATEMENT Trustees approved a new mission statement in the fall which reads, “New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission.”

NEW LOGO AND OFFICE SPACE FOR LEAVELL COLLEGE To help Leavell College better fulfill its mission, Dew authorized the creation of a new Leavell College logo and renovated the former LifeWay Campus Store location for the college's office.

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INAUGURAT Dr. James K. “Jamie” Dew Jr., ninth president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College, gives his inaugural address Jan. 30 in Leavell Chapel. During the sermon he challenged the seminary family to “take up the towel and basin” and to serve like Jesus served.

Gary Shows, Chairman of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College Board of Trustees, presents the presidential medallion to Dr. James K. Dew Jr. during the inauguration.

Dr. Charles E. Lawless, Vice President of Spiritual Formation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers a prayer of dedication for the Dew family during the presidential inauguration of Dr. James K. Dew Jr.


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INAUGURATION UPHOLDS SERVANTHOOD, HUMILITY The Jan. 30 inauguration of Jamie Dew, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College, reflected the tone that is the mark of Dew’s new presidency — humility and service like Jesus. His challenge to the seminary family, and all who would join him, is to take up the towel and the basin and follow Jesus’ example of serving others. Two days before the inauguration ceremony, Dew and his family led the seminary in a missions and evangelism day in New Orleans. As students and faculty shared the Gospel in the city, at least four people trusted Christ for salvation.

TARA DEW LEADS FIRST ABIDE WOMEN'S CONFERENCE Abiding in Christ, the source of godliness and effective ministry, was the focus of the Abide Women’s Conference Feb. 7-8. More than 300 women — from teenagers to women in their 90s — attended the inaugural event under the direction of Tara Dew, NOBTS president’s wife.

SEMINARY CREATES ONLINE STORE For years, students and alumni alike have asked for a way to purchase officially branded items online. In May, the seminary family received the good news regarding the launch of the NOBTS and Leavell College online store. Now students and alumni can shop for custom t-shirts, cups, and coffee at


As Jamie Dew learned about the city and seminary, he and his cabinet began to use the phrase "Prepare Here. Serve Anywhere." The words and the meaning behind them resonated with students, faculty, alumni, and members of the churches in the New Orleans area.

In January, NOBTS launched the "Towel and Basin" podcast featuring Dr. Jamie Dew. The podcast touches on a variety of topics including pastoral ministry, philosophy and parenting. Listen at

In June, the seminary premiered a video that expounds on the concept of "Prepare Here. Serve Anywhere." Visit to see this video and other videos about Jamie Dew's first year as President of NOBTS and Leavell College.

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afety and academic success were the top concerns addressed in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College’s initial response to COVID-19. The school moved all classes to alternative delivery methods after Spring Break. All but the most essential campus offices were closed starting March 23 and most employees began working from home. After initial hope that the suspension of face-to-face classes would be temporary, state and local officials began calling for stricter social distancing measures. As a result, NOBTS and Leavell College leaders began looking for ways to foster community and growth while maintaining physical separation. Students and faculty members have responded with their own grass-roots efforts to maintain connections via social media platforms. After two months following the state and city's work-fromhome mandates, campus offices reopened with a limited schedule on May 25. Currently, the school intends to return to in-person classes for the fall semester.

DEW UPDATES The most vital connection point for the seminary family has been the daily video updates featuring Jamie Dew, NOBTS and Leavell College president. Early on, Dew recorded daily video updates to keep the seminary family informed. In addition to providing vital updates, Dew has used the videos to encourage the NOBTS family with scripture readings and devotions.

OTHER INITIATIVES RELOCATING STUDENTS LIVING IN HIGH DENSITY UNITS – On March 13, the school began moving students from highdensity dorm units to apartments which allow for greater physical distancing. Despite the moves, rent was frozen for the students at their current dormitory rates. LIBRARY RESOURCES TO GO – On March 20, the library moved to a “take-out” order format. Students can submit their resource requests which are gathered by the library staff and made available for student pick-up.


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Trustees Approve



he executive committee of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees approved the 20202021 budget during their regularly scheduled meeting on June 2. Trustees voted to delay their budget approval until June allowing the administrative team to gather better data regarding the pandemic’s impact on the school. NOBTS President Jamie Dew and his cabinet used the time to find cost savings that reflected the realities brought on by COVID-19 while maintaining a strategic position during the recovery. As a result of the extra time and study, the trustees approved a $21,551,221 balanced budget.

SUMMER FINANCIAL AID – Donors came to the aid of students by providing $435,000 for summer scholarships. Each student who registered for a class and applied for the funds received a scholarship worth 50 percent of their tuition and fees. As a result, the seminary experienced its largest summer enrollment in years. RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS – With many out of work during this time, Dew used some of his updates to students to let them know of employment opportunities in the city. The Campus Life Facebook page also served as a resource for those seeking employment. COMMENCEMENT VIDEO AND VIRTUAL RECEPTION – While in-person graduation activities were canceled, Dr. Dew filmed a message to graduates as the graduates' names scrolled on the screen. Jamie and Tara also hosted a virtual reception for graduates via BlueJeans conferencing software. May graduates are invited to participate in the December 2020 commencement ceremony. SOCIAL DISTANCING PICNICS – Thursday nights during the pandemic were special on campus. Each week in April and most of May, NOBTS hosted a social distancing picnic. Families would pick up food at the cafeteria and spread out on campus green spaces to eat. It was a way for families to remain connected while observing social distancing rules. ENCOURAGEMENT – Though it came from a distance and via digital communication, concerted efforts were made to encourage the NOBTS family. The Women's Life team shared frequent encouraging videos and scheduled chapel speakers sent recorded devotions each week.


Trustees Approve New Academic Programs FOR LEAVELL COLLEGE AND NOBTS


aking steps to further Jamie Dew’s plans to expand and enhance Leavell College, the executive committee of the board of trustees approved three new majors in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) program. The new majors are Pastoral Ministry, Worldview and Apologetics, and Worship Ministry. The three new disciplines added as majors are also available as minors for students in other BA majors. With the additions, Leavell College now offers seven majors in the Bachelor of Arts program. The other four

majors are: Biblical Studies, Christian Ministry, Music with an Emphasis in Worship, and Psychology and Counseling.

MA (PHILOSOPHY) APPROVED In June, the trustee executive committee approved a new, 50-hour advanced Master of Arts (Philosophy) degree. Provost Norris Grubbs said the philosophy emphasis will address an area of interest among current and prospective students and offers the seminary the opportunity to utilize Dew’s specialization in the classroom along with other gifted philosophers and ethicists on the faculty.


hris Shaffer, Assistant to the President since 2017, began the newly-created role of Associate Vice President for Institutional Strategy in January following his graduation with the Doctor of Philosophy degree in theology from NOBTS in December 2019. In the new role, Shaffer will serve as a presidential liaison and oversee alumni relations, denominational relations, and strategic initiatives. Shaffer will also manage the agenda for meetings of the president's cabinet. In many of the tasks, Shaffer will serve as a relationship builder and facilitator. Shaffer said that he is excited about serving the 26,000 alumni who serve around the world as pastors, counselors, missionaries, ministers and denominational leaders. He also expressed his eagerness to foster deeper relationships with SBC churches, entities, and ministries and partner with them to do gospel-centered work.

will provide much-needed support and direction to our efforts in alumni and denominational relations," Dew continued.

"Dr. Chris Shaffer has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to NOBTS and Leavell College," Dew said. "His administrative and relational giftings perfectly suit him for his new role."

Shaffer is uniquely prepared for the role due to his training and job experience before he surrendered to ministry. After completing bachelor of science and master of science degrees in political science, Shaffer worked for eight years as a staff member for the Florida state legislature. The job involved relationship building and learning to treat those with different ideas with dignity and respect. Since surrendering to God's call to ministry, those same skills have helped him become a better minister and Christian academic.

"While he has already accomplished so much for the institution, this new position maximizes his abilities and

Shaffer and his wife, Vanessa, have a son named Thaddeus and a daughter named Adeline.

VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020



omen make up half the population and half the church congregation. And, with their unique, God-given gifts and callings, women are a force for God’s Kingdom. Around the globe, NOBTS and Leavell College women graduates are found on the mission field, in convention offices, writing and speaking for the Gospel, as pastors’ wives leading women in the congregation, and contributing in ways that build up the church. In New Orleans, women graduates and students lead and serve at the Baptist Friendship House, in counseling centers, at the port ministry Global Maritime Ministries, on faculty at NOBTS and Leavell College, on church staffs, and in vibrant compassion and evangelistic and outreach ministries across the city. “Women who prepare here are doing amazing things,” said Tara Dew, Adjunct Professor for Ministry to Women and wife of President Jamie Dew. “If you come here, we are going to train you to glorify God with all your mind and equip you to use your gifts in whatever way God has called you.” While women pursue degrees at every academic level and program, those called specifically to lead women’s ministries find the training they need. Degrees,

If you come here, we are going to train you to glorify God with all your mind and equip you to use your gifts in whatever way God has called you. ~ TARA DEW


VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020

PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT: Tara Dew, Stephanie Lyon and Emily Dean lead the women's initiatives at NOBTS and Leavell College.

coursework, and specializations in women’s ministry leadership are available from the certificate level to the Ph.D. Under the new name “Prepare Her,” multi-faceted initiatives serve students, student wives, women staff and faculty members, and wives of staff and faculty members, and provide fellowship and support for every woman in her God-given calling.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS Women leading women is biblical, and reaching women for Christ is a component of the church’s mission. “Women have a valuable place in ministry leadership because God has given us a unique role in the church, in our roles as wives and mothers, and in all the different spaces we fill in life,” said Emily Dean, Assistant Professor of Ministry to Women and Director of Women's Academic Programs that equip women to lead ministries to women. In a culture that devalues absolute truth, women’s ministry must be grounded in biblical truth and theologically sound, Dean said. “We have to be ready to give the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15),” Dean said. “We have to be ready to explain what we believe, and why.” For women considering theological education, Dean advises them, first and foremost, to follow God’s call and reminds them ministry takes place whether a paid staff position is available, or not.


God has given women influence in different realms and we want to leverage that influence in rock solid biblical theology. ~STEPHANIE LYON

“Seek the Lord and determine, ‘Is He calling me to this?’” Dean said. “If yes, then the Lord certainly has a purpose in mind.” All believers are called to minister and serve, Dew said in agreement. As Dew counsels women considering academic studies, she asks, “Is God calling you to learn more about Him? If that’s ‘yes,’ then you come to seminary and prepare, and then you pray, ‘God, how can I use this to glorify you and lead others to know you?’”

“We desire to train and equip the whole family for ministry, so this includes both the pastors and their wives,” Dew said.

WOMEN’S LIFE Stephanie Lyon, Women’s Life Coordinator, pointed out that a well-grounded theology and a vibrant walk with God are necessary for ministry and service. “God has given women influence in different realms and we want to leverage that influence in rock solid biblical theology,” Lyon said. Lyon directs Women’s Life events that promote biblical growth, fellowship, and provide support and encouragement to all NOBTS and Leavell College women. Single or married, with children or without, all Christian women are called to impact their communities and the next generation, Lyon explained. “When we say all women, we really mean no matter where you’re from, or your background, no matter what your first language is, there’s a place for you here,” Lyon said.

TOGETHER “Together,” is more than the name of the initiative to include all women, on campus and in the local church, in ministry. It is the heart of the women’s programs. “We are more beautiful together, stronger together. We can do more for the Gospel together,” Dew explained.

THRIVE Being a pastor’s wife is about stewarding God’s gifts rather than fitting into some “formula,” said Dew, director of Thrive, the Ministry Wife Certificate program. “You take how God has gifted you and what He has passioned you to do and then use that wherever God takes you,” Dew explained. Designed as a cohort system—women stay together for classes throughout the program—Thrive’s rotating system of eight courses allows for completion in two years as it builds friendships and a support system that women carry with them as they step into the role of pastor’s wife. Classes are free for on-campus student wives and offered online for a small fee.

Abide, the annual two-day conference inaugurated last year, brings focused biblical teaching to women with a featured plenary speaker and break sessions with women’s leaders. Jen Wilkin, LifeWay Bible study author and speaker, headlines the Feb. 19-20, 2021 Abide conference with the theme “Women of the Word.” To learn more, visit www. “Jen Wilkin is one of my favorite Bible teachers,” Dew said. “She encourages women to love God not only with their hearts but also with their minds. I am thrilled to welcome her to our campus next year for our Abide conference as her passion lines up so clearly with our mission for women here at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.”

The courses range from how to teach and study the Bible to the basics of Christian counseling to understanding worldview and Christian doctrine. VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020


Holcomb honored as PROFESSOR EMERITUS Dr. Dan Holcomb was named Professor Emeritus of Church History during the spring trustee meeting at NOBTS. Holcomb has served the institution since 1979. For many years Holcomb served as the chair for the Theological and Historical Studies Division.

Vision Magazine Spring/Summer 2020


Holcomb's “Christian Devotional Classics” course became legendary during his 41-year tenure at NOBTS. Through the class, Holcomb inspired generations of seminarians to cultivate their spiritual life by reading deeply from important Christian works from the past.

Crossway Books publishes NEW BOOK BY RHYNE PUTMAN Evangelicals desire to be “biblical” — they want their doctrine to be rooted in the Bible, their lives to be guided by the Bible, and their disagreements to be resolved by the Bible. This is not an easy task. The Bible itself is a unified story composed of 66 diverse books — each book having countless interpretations. Perceived correct interpretations and deeply held convictions can put Christians at odds with their peers.

When Doctrine Divides the People of God: An Evangelical Approach to Theological Diversity By Rhyne Putman Crossway Books, 2020

In When Doctrine Divides the People of God, Rhyne Putman reflects on how Christians can hold to the inerrancy of Scripture and still arrive at different interpretations, and what to do when those disagreements stand between them and the biblical call for unity. This thorough analysis of theological diversity in the church provides essential biblical application — grace in disagreement, firmness in truth, and unity in diversity. RHYNE R. PUTMAN (MDIV '08, THM '09, PHD '12) is Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he has served since 2010. He is the pastor of preaching and vision at First Baptist Church in Kenner, La., and the author of In Defense of Doctrine. Putman and his wife, Micah, currently reside in New Orleans together with their two children.


NOBTS board of trustees



he New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees elected four professors during their spring meeting Alan Bandy, Emily Dean, Mark Johnson and Mike Wetzel - to the faculty.

A prolific writer, Bandy joins the NOBTS faculty as Professor of New Testament and Greek after teaching stints at Louisiana College, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and most recently, Oklahoma Baptist University. He earned the Bachelor of Arts degree at Clear Creek Bible College in Pineville, Ky., the Master of Divinity degree at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Germantown, Tenn., and the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Southeastern Seminary. Bandy has extensive ministry experience serving as a senior pastor, interim pastor and in other ministerial roles. Dean, Director of Women’s Academic Programs at NOBTS, has taught as an adjunct at the school since 2010. She will join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Ministry to Women (Ministry-based). Dean earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and three degrees (Master of Divinity, Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy) from NOBTS. Johnson’s position as Assistant Professor of Evangelism and Pastoral Ministry is a new position at NOBTS. Funding for a minority faculty member was given by an anonymous donor to help NOBTS better serve the needs of the growing minority population on campus. Johnson, who is African American, serves as the pastor of Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans and is a Ph.D. resident at NOBTS. He holds the Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., the Master of Divinity and Master


Dr. Alan Bandy

Dr. Emily Dean

Dr. Mark Johnson

Dr. Mike Wetzel

of Theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Ministry from NOBTS. Wetzel, who was elected as Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry, joined the NOBTS administration as Vice President for Institutional Advancement in December 2019. Before joining the presidential cabinet, Wetzel served 27 years as the founding pastor of The Island Chapel in Tierra Verde, Fla. He earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at NOBTS.

Dr. Hal Stewart, Professor of Discipleship (Ministry-based)

Dr. Gregory Woodward, Professor of Conducting and Worship

VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020




Vision Magazine Spring/Summer 2020

BY DENNIS PHELPS amily reunions were an annual event when I was growing up. My brother and I would grab our baseball gear and football. Mom would cook special recipes. Dad would drive us about 30 miles away to mowed pasture where a flatbed trailer was partly covered with large tablecloths, looking like a giant coat of many colors. Slowly, homemade salads, vegetables, entrees, and (of course) desserts were grouped on the flatbed. Families brought their own folding tables and chairs. The only time I would see many cousins was at our family reunion. There were other relatives I would recognize but could not remember their names. We would listen closely to see if someone else would say their name, or we would ask our parents.

DENNIS PHELPS is Director of Alumni Relations and ChurchMinister Relations and Professor of Preaching, occupying the J. D. Grey Chair of Preaching.

We would play baseball, football, and | other games. Adults caught up on life events with each other. There could be singing, praying, grieving and celebrating. We would remember those who had passed on, welcome new people who had married into the family, and meet those born into the family since our last gathering. The fellowship was encouraging and fun. It deepened our identities through the relationships of a common heritage. Each time we left the gathering looking forward to the next one. Our alma mater provides NOBTS and Leavell College family reunions. Often we travel to get there. We welcome new family members. Often we remember those who have finished their journeys and preceded us to heaven. Sometimes we meet those considering joining the family. There is praying, laughing, celebrating and ... food! Check your email and regional chapter’s Facebook page for an upcoming reunion. There is much to celebrate. Hear firsthand and directly the news and current status of our alma mater. Bring someone with you - a prospective NOBTS or Leavell College student, a friend, or another alum. Family reunions can be a lot of work. But we leave each time looking forward to our next gathering.


Couple serving in Italy


t their small apartment in a hard-hit COVID-19 area of Italy, Steve and Amy Morgan are aware that life around them has changed. They wonder what life will be like now that the strict quarantine is finally easing. Who of their friends and neighbors is still there? NOBTS graduates Steve (BACMIN '12, MDIV '17, MATheology '18) and Amy (MDIV '11, THM '14, PHD '17) Morgan work with a compassion ministry food program serving immigrants in need. Before COVID-19, poverty impacted many immigrants who came there seeking a fresh start, but finding their dreams unfulfilled. “People come here and think they will have money because Italy is on the Euro system,” Steve said. “But they learn there are no jobs or money.” Travel restrictions on immigrants make it worse for those who came to Italy seeking a fresh start. “They’re stuck,” Steve explained. “Once they arrive in Italy and declare their status, they are not allowed to leave to go to any other country.” Though COVID-19 restrictions are easing, uncertainty remains. Steve and Amy worry about immigrant friends they have not seen in more than two months. During the shutdown, only trips to the doctor, pharmacy, the grocery store, or to walk a dog were allowed. Tight quarantine restrictions required that adults, including husbands and wives, appear in public alone. In an economy that was lean before the quarantine, the job market may be worse after all restrictions are lifted, the couple said. Many businesses are family-run, and small, and jobs often went to Italians first, making job opportunities for immigrants before the mandated shutdown slim. Discrimination was a factor before COVID-19 and many locals shared their feelings openly about immigrants living in their country, Amy pointed out. The couple told of one immigrant friend, a computer specialist who is fluent in three languages, but works as a carpenter and lives with 18 other men in a house without

indoor plumbing. Another well-educated immigrant friend has been rejected for a position in her profession three times. How discrimination will impact their immigrant friends after the COVID-19 shut down remains to be seen. Spending weeks isolated from those they came to serve was discouraging, Steve said. “You move into this country to work, to do something. You have plans and goals. You don’t expect to be locked inside since mid-February. It eats at you.” As life slowly returns to normal and they seek to reconnect with friends in need, prayers are appreciated. “There is a good bit of caution in the air. No one wants a further outbreak and no one is really sure what measures are far enough,” Amy said. While the virus has taken a physical toll on the nation, there will be an emotional toll as well, Amy explained. Amy noted two factors that cause events to be traumatic — not being able to escape the event and not being able to make sense of it. The situation is worse for doctors and medical personnel who were forced to make decisions as to who was placed on a ventilator. “We are grateful for the prayers,” Amy said. “We are praying God will just lay the opportunities in our laps.” VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020


Ministry in Boston awaits Dentons BY MILLY HOLDER


VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020



PREPARES FAMILY FOR C H U R C H P L A NT I N G How does a school assignment to interview one of your pastors turn into an opportunity to move across the country and become church planters? For Hoyt and Ashley Denton, prayer and providence charted an unexpected course. While in college, Hoyt (MA-Theology ‘19) decided that if he ever went to seminary, it would be NOBTS. After graduation, Hoyt and his wife, Ashley (Student, NOBTS counseling program) served at a church in Arkansas and sensed a need to learn more about how to build a healthy church. They pulled out the seminary application that had been put to the side when a new baby came along, and applied. In New Orleans, the couple received a quick introduction to what church planting looks like in an urban context. Long-time Southern Baptists, the couple was familiar with the name North American Mission Board (NAMB), but living in a “NAMB SEND City” gave them a quick primer on how NAMB functions. As a Send City, New Orleans is a focal point for church planting because of the region's significance. The couple’s time in New Orleans gave them opportunities to be a part of something their hometown did not have — being a part of a church plant. Through this experience, they were able to evaluate what a church is and what kind of communities God expects his people to live in. While the first church plant they served closed, Ashley described the biggest lesson learned as the church going out rather than pulling people in — not expecting unchurched people to just show up at church, but going out into neighborhoods and communities and introducing individuals to Christians who can lead them to Jesus. Now serving at Lakeshore Church as Life Group coordinators, Hoyt is part of Equip Residency, a NAMB pipeline project that partners with the seminary and in which students can earn up to 19 credit hours while serving in the local church. The Equip Ministry Residency is designed for individuals to serve in the church, gain first-hand ministry experience, acquire a missional mindset and participate in leadership coaching. The goal of the residency is to discover leaders, develop them into multiplying leaders, and deploy them as ministry leaders, church planters and church planting team members.

Hoyt began to realize that all of their experiences inform church planting and the couple began to talk about becoming church planters. “We did not know what it would look like in the end, but we had peace about the general direction,” Ashley confirmed. With this realization, they started to get some clarity on where they might land. They knew they were called to lead and shepherd, but in a different context than they had seen so far. They already knew the difficulty of moving to a new city alone. They prayed God would not send them alone. A few months later, one of Hoyt’s residency assignments was to interview one of their pastors. He had a class with Noah Madden (MDIV ‘19) and thought that would be convenient. So mentioning it to him, and throwing in that he wanted to talk to him about church planting, Hoyt and Ashley and their kids found themselves at Sunday lunch with Noah and his wife, Tarin (MA-Counseling, ‘19). At this lunch, the Maddens pitched them an idea: They were headed to Boston in 2020 to be church planters and the Dentons had already been on their minds to be their teammates. From there, the families started having weekly meetings together. As time went on, they found a friendship that began to feel like family. They discovered that there were already many connections in Boston, and doors continued to open. Soon, they took a vision trip to Boston that left them fairly certain this was the direction God was pointing them. The team began to feel homesick for a place in which they had never lived. As the Dentons prepared to go, Ashley and Hoyt have had meaningful conversations about the move with the oldest of their three daughters. Using a NAMB activity book that explains the role of missionaries and church planters, Hoyt and Ashley have been able to talk to their daughter about their new roles in church planting in Boston. Hoyt will work full-time at a church in Boston that will also function as a sending church for them. This church and other church planters in Boston have already been a huge help to them from figuring out the school system to helping them find a place to live. For Hoyt and Ashley, the local church was the biggest influence in discovering their calling. Hoyt said, “Seminaries are great, but they really work in conjunction with churches to raise up missionaries and church planters to send out.” Contact George Ross ( to find out more about the NAMB L1 Pipeline residency.

VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020





HUBERT ADDLETON (BDIV ’54) recently celebrated his 90th birthday with a tandem skydive in north Georgia, arranged by one of his six grandchildren who is in the U.S. military. He also marked his 90th birthday by publishing his memoir Memories of Ben Hill Drive: A Southern Story (Doorlight Publications, 2019) in which NOBTS figures quite prominently. Addleton served for 35 years as a Baptist missionary in Pakistan. In addition, he pastored several churches in Mississippi and Georgia. Addleton and his wife celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary in June.

TOMMY SMOTHERS (MDIV '79) retired from Christian ministry in 2019 after 51 years of service. Smothers served as pastor of New Friendship Baptist Church, Somerville, Ala., for 35 of those years.

MARILYN STEWART (MA-CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS ’19) Vision managing editor and assistant director for news and information of the Office of Communications, received a writing award during the 2020 Baptist Communicators Association Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition. The article “’You Are Not Special’ – Apologetic Tips for Exposing Worldviews that Cannot Satisfy,” won third place in the Feature Writing Division, Blog, Single Entry.

CHRIS MACHEN (MCM 80) and his wife, Diane, founders of The Master’s Music Company, were inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame. JASON McNAUGHTEN (DMIN ’11) has published two books: Confessions of a Depressed Christian: How a Pastor Survived Depression and How You Can Too and Panic to Peace: 31 Biblical Solutions to Anxiety.

JASON THOMAS (MDIV '12) recently joined the International Mission Board's partner relations team as African American church mobilization strategist. In this capacity, Thomas will work with nearly 4,000 African American churches across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to mobilize pastors and church members to pray, give, go and send.

MARIO MELENDEZ (PHD '19) has accepted the position of Auguie Henry Chair of Bible, Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Studies at Oklahoma Baptist University.

CASEY HOUGH (PHD '19) has been elected Assistant Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Ga. MICHAEL STEINMETZ (PHD '20) has been elected Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga.








JOSEPH HERBERT COTHEN JR., (BDIV ‘52, THD ‘55) passed away Dec. 26, 2019. Born Sept. 8, 1926, at Red Hill, Miss., Cothen married Willie Hazel Moulder Cothen on June 11, 1946. They were married for 58 years until her death. They had three children: Joseph Herbert Cothen III (Teresa), Cynthia Karen Cothen Morgan (Keith), and Nathan Harold Cothen (Vicki). Cothen was a combat veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II and a graduate of Mississippi College, NOBTS and the University of Southern Mississippi. From 1968-1971, Cothen served as Professor of Communications at NOBTS and returned as Professor of Pastoral Work and Preaching (1977-1992). During his second stint at NOBTS, Cothen served as the school's Academic Dean. A pastor and prolific writer, Cothen served churches in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana and wrote numerous books. Cothen married Vivian Weimer in 2005. They lived together in Mississippi until his death. He is survived by all three children, Vivian, and her two sons: Chuck Weimer (Sue); Randy Weimer (Ginger); and their families.



VISION MAGAZINE Spring/Summer 2020


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is a podcast that looks at the unique way the church is answering God’s call to ministry.

is a brand new podcast by Jamie Dew, president of NOBTS and Leavell College.