New School at SBTS thriving after one year, Stinson and Mohler tell trustees

Communications Staff — April 29, 2010

It has been one year since The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary founded the School of Church Ministries and dean Randy Stinson told trustees on April 20 that the new school has gained significant strength during its first year.

In the spring of 2009, Southern merged the School of Church Music and the School of Leadership and Church Ministry to form the new school. At the spring meeting of Southern’s board of trustees, President R. Albert Mohler Jr., interviewed Stinson on the school’s first year of existence.

While some had criticized the seminary for combining the two schools as a de-emphasis on church music, Stinson pointed out that the merger actually helps Southern to serve local churches better because the school is now turning out music ministers who also have pastoral and theological training.

Southern began to rethink the mission of its music and leadership schools when it learned that more than 80 percent of music ministers in Southern Baptist churches serve in dual roles, roles such as youth or children ministry, that demand pastoral and theological expertise, Stinson said.

“What we decided to change was how we were training,” Stinson said. “In the past, the focus had been on music performance. We have had very competent musicians who have graduated from this institution, but they weren’t necessarily as pastorally qualified as they should have been.

“So, what we decided to do was not quit training musicians, but train theologically-grounded, pastorally-qualified worship leaders for the local church. That is a very different vision, but it doesn’t mean we’ve quit doing something, it means we’ve improved it.”

The school has added degree programs, including doctoral degrees, in areas of worship leadership and family ministry to serve the needs of churches more effectively, Stinson said. One of the major emphases that makes Southern’s new school unique is its Family Equipping Model, Stinson said, which seeks to train local churches how to equip families to disciple their children in the home.

“We think that discipleship is best carried out in the local church through families and that parents are the primary disciple-makers of their children and that is infused in all of our degree programs,” Stinson said.

One of the great strengths of the new school is its faculty, Stinson said. Professors in the School of Church Ministries have become leaders in the evangelical discussion about family ministry through teaching, speaking and writing books, he said.

“We have the right faculty and we can deliver what we are promising,” he said. “They have the right vision. They have the right training. They are writing books. That is a great strength for the school now.”

In other business, trustees:

  • Presented gifts to outgoing trustee chairman Mark Dever and Steve Collier, who has served on the board for 10 years. Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, has served on the board since the mid-90s and been chairman since 2008.
  • Presented a resolution honoring Mohler for his service on and leadership of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force over the past year. The GCR task force has been charged with helping the SBC to carry out the task of missions with greater effectiveness.
  • Granted tenure to two professors: Timothy Paul Jones as associate professor of leadership and church ministry and Shawn Wright associate professor of church history.
  • Elected Greg Brewton the Carolyn King Ragan Associate Professor of Church Music Care.
  • Promoted several faculty members from assistant to associate professor: Jonathan Pennington, Carl Stam, Randy Stinson and Troy Temple.
  • Extended the contracts of three faculty members: David DeKlavon, Charles Draper and Temple.

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