Sexton helps students stay physically, spiritually fit

Communications Staff — November 14, 2005

Athletics run in Lee Sexton’s blood.

His father was a celebrated coach and athlete in Alabama, and his brother Billy has been an assistant to legendary Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden for the past 30 years. Following in the family mold, Sexton himself coached high school baseball and middle school football for four years.

So when The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary approached Sexton about serving as the seminary’s supervisor of recreation and student activities, it was a natural fit.

“I have an extensive background in athletics, and that’s actually going to help,” said Sexton, who began his job at Southern in July 2005. “It’s kind of amazing how the Lord does things.”

As supervisor of recreation and student activities, Sexton oversees Southern’s health and recreation center and coordinates recreational programming such as fitness classes and intramural athletics. His vision is to help students take care of their bodies so that they can minister and study more effectively.

“My vision is that the health and rec center would serve the King’s children and serve the King’s servants by providing a place where they can just be good stewards of what God has given them physically,” he said.

“Since God has made us so that the physical impacts the emotional and the spiritual, we need to take care of every aspect of our being and not just think that one component is really necessary.”

Sexton will lead Southern to offer fitness programs for men and women, as well as children’s activities coordinated with the schedule of adult activities. Such programming will “minister to individuals both physically and socially,” he said.

Sexton is well equipped to help meet the needs of ministers because he has firsthand knowledge of what it takes to succeed in ministry. After graduating from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., in 1996 with a master of divinity, he pastored a church in Michigan for three years.

“One of the reasons I think the Lord has fitted me for this is that I do have a fitness background in the sense that I‘ve strived to be fit,” he said. “At the same time, I also have a theological background. I have been to seminary, and I know the pressures of a seminary student. I know the stress. That’s going to help me think through our programming and initiatives that will help the seminary student not neglect certain areas of his life while he’s there.”

In 2001, God led Sexton to Louisville through some advice from a men’s accountability group in which Sexton participated. Some of the men told Sexton he would be a great coach and teacher, so he did an Internet search for Bible teaching and baseball coaching positions in Louisville. From that search, Sexton discovered a position at a Christian school where he worked until 2005.

When Sexton moved from teaching and coaching back to the seminary environment, he did so because of his love for the theological education and a need to spend more time with his family.

At Southern, Sexton seeks to help students by sharing his experiences as a pastor and encouraging young ministers to persevere in their work.

“As the Lord brings people my way, I relish these divine conversations about my experience as a pastor,” he said. “So I think that’s one of the reasons the Lord has brought me here. I‘m definitely very passionate about the seminary enterprise, preparing young men for future ministry. And that’s always been a passion of mine.”

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