the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Adam W. Greenway, BGS dean, ready for ‘best job in the world’

Adam W. Greenway, BGS dean, ready for ‘best job in the world’

Aaron Cline Hanbury

September 18, 2013

Adam W. Greenway says he has “the best job in the world.” This year, Greenway entered a new phase of his ministry when Southern Seminary president, R. Albert Mohler Jr., announced the appointment of Greenway as dean of the seminary’s newly restructured Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry.

The new Graham School, which combines the former Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism and the School of Church Ministries, serves students of both international and domestic missions, church planting, worship leadership and both local church and educational leadership.

“I am dean of the only school that Billy Graham ever endorsed with his own name,” Greenway said. “Particularly, when we are uniting all the Great Commission-related disciplines under one academic roof, with this faculty — to me, the greatest assemblage of God-called individuals in any school anywhere — and the legacy that’s gone before me, it’s a humbling thing. This is a sacred trust.”

According to Greenway, this deanship brings together his gifts and interests.

Back in June 2006, Greenway, at the time pastoring a church in Lexington, Ky., was on the campus of Southern Seminary conducting research toward his doctorate when Chuck Lawless, then the dean of the Billy Graham School, found Greenway and pulled him aside. He asked Greenway about his interest in teaching at the seminary. Somewhat surprised, Greenway agreed to send Lawless his resume and pray about the possibility.

For some time, Greenway sensed that God was preparing him and his wife for a new phase of ministry, and it became increasingly clear that teaching at the Graham School might be that new direction.

For the five years before, Greenway pastored The Baptist Church at Andover in Lexington, a role he assumed when the church was struggling with revitalization. Within three and a half years, Greenway led the church to financial sustainability; it no longer needed support from its mother church — a church pastored by Greenway’s long-time friend, Bill Henard.

“I had five of the happiest years of my life pastoring that church,” Greenway said. “I could never say anything but great things about our time in Lexington.”

Pastoring is what he wanted to do. By the time Greenway, a native of Frostproof, Fla., entered Samford University, he had already served as an interim pastor — as a 17-year-old. In Birmingham, Ala., Greenway was an active preacher in area churches, which is how he first met Henard, who, at the time, was the pastor of a small church that helped the Samford preaching ministry.

Greenway moved to Dallas in 1999 to attend Southwestern Seminary. There, he primarily studied evangelism under professor Roy Fish and apologetics with professors Malcolm McDowell and Doug Blount.

About the same time Greenway left Birmingham for seminary, Henard left to pastor a church in Lexington. In his new city, Henard's church helped to revive another small church, and he suggested Greenway as a candidate for pastor. When Henard called him about it, Greenway wasn’t interested.

He intended, after finishing a master’s degree, to pursue a doctorate at Southwestern.

About that time, Greenway told his intentions to the new provost at Southwestern, Craig Blaising, who previously was a professor and director of doctoral programs at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He suggested to Greenway that he look into the doctoral program at Southern.

Within a week, Greenway again received a call from Henard saying that, despite looking at other candidates, he was convinced that Greenway was the ideal the person to lead the small church revitalization — a church about an hour east of Southern Seminary. Henard asked, “Would you please talk with the search committee?” Greenway did.

After he met with the committee and spent some time with the church, Greenway sensed that “God [was] in this.” He accepted the call to pastor The Baptist Church at Andover.

This move came amid a productive year for Greenway: he met his future wife, Carla, on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2002; he graduated with his master of divinity from Southwestern in May; he proposed to Carla in August (she said yes); The Baptist Church at Andover called Greenway as its pastor in September; he moved to Lexington in October; Carla completed her master’s degree in December; and finally the two married in March 2003.

Less than a year after moving to Lexington, he started working on a doctorate at Southern Seminary, in January of 2004, studying both evangelism and apologetics under Timothy K. Beougher, which Greenway later described as a “great experience.”

This led to the winter of 2006, when the newly appointed dean of the Billy Graham School, Lawless, asked Greenway to consider joining the faculty. He accepted. And then in June 2007, Greenway moved into the next phase of his ministry, joining the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to teach evangelism and applied apologetics.

Since then, Greenway worked in several administrative capacities across the seminary. When he first started, he became associate director of the doctor of ministry program. For three years, he ran the school’s extension centers. He was then director of the Graham School’s research doctoral program — Greenway developed the seminary's modular doctoral program. In 2010, Lawless appointed Greenway as senior associate dean in the Graham School, a position he retained under Lawless’s successor.

When Greenway entered his current role, he said that his previous experience prepared him for it.

“I always believed that my gifts are in administration and in preaching and teaching. And this new role lets me do both,” said Greenway, who intends to promote Southern Seminary and the Graham School through preaching and speaking as often as possible.

“Under Dr. Mohler’s leadership, and under Dr. Stinson’s leadership, we’re going to work every day to provide the highest quality of rigorously theological but Great Commission-focused training because we want to see, at the end of the day, new churches planted, existing churches revitalized, those who’ve never heard to hear the gospel and, ultimately, for the glory of God to be made known amongst all people,” he said. “That’s my vision for the new Billy Graham School. This is not a job; it’s a calling.”

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