Trustees of SBTS elect first-ever African-American board officer, affirm strategic plan at spring board meeting

Communications Staff — April 18, 2018

Members of the Board of Trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary elected the first African-American board officer in the 159-year history of the school. By a unanimous vote during the April 16 board meeting, Alan “Keith” Daniels, a businessman from Texas and a member of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church (SBC) in Irving, became board secretary.

“The election of Keith Daniels as a board officer of the Board of Trustees of Southern Seminary is another necessary step in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention demonstrating at every level of denominational leadership the diversity to which we are called,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., who is president of Southern Seminary, in an interview immediately following last the meeting. “It’s also a celebration of the fact that the Lord is gifting Southern Baptists with leaders, church members, pastors, and congregations that are helping this denomination every day look more like America and more like the world around us.”

Daniels is the franchise owner of multiple Christian Brothers Automotive locations in the Dallas area.

In addition to the election of new board officers, trustees elected and promoted faculty members, adopted a revised and updated strategic plan, approved a budget for 2018-2019, and honored Mohler for the recent 25-year anniversary of his election as president of Southern Seminary.

The Board of Trustees voted to elect Jeremy P. Pierre as the Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling. Pierre is also the dean of students and the chair of the Department of Biblical Counseling and Family Ministry at Southern Seminary. He has served on seminary faculty since 2011, before which he taught English at Boyce College.

The board also elected to the faculty John David Trentham, associate professor of leadership and discipleship; Melissa Tucker, associate professor of elementary education; and Jarvis Williams, associate professor of New Testament interpretation. These faculty elections go into effect on August 1. The board also approved faculty sabbaticals for the 2018-2019 academic year.

At the midpoint of Southern Seminary’s 10-year re-accreditation process, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires an evaluation and update of the school’s strategic plan. Mohler presented that update during the session, informing the Board of Trustees about the process, which will continue until 2024.

The updated strategic plan represents the board’s spring 2018 review of key institutional priorities and establishment of objectives for the next five academic years, according to the document. The updated plan includes details about initiatives meant to help the school meet the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

The board also recognized outgoing chairman John Thweatt, who has served on the board since 2008 and as the board’s chair since 2016. Thweatt is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pell City, Alabama, and president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention. The board adopted a resolution in Thweatt’s honor.

“Mr. Chairman, for your service as a trustee for two full terms, and for your service as an officer for numerous years, your service for two years as chairman of the board, we are incredibly grateful,” Mohler said. “It has been a privilege to work with you, and I know this board expresses appreciation to for your service as chairman.”

To replace Thweatt, the board elected Matt Schmucker as incoming chairman. Schmucker is executive director of the Together for the Gospel biennial conference. Schmucker is a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., and his election is effective at the conclusion of the spring board meeting.

“Going back to Together for the Gospel, that would have been impossible if not for the administrative brilliance and heartfelt commitment that Matt Schmucker brings, and having him serve as chairman of this board will be very fulfilling,” Mohler said. “I definitely appreciate his willingness to do that — along with all the officers who have agreed to serve.”

In addition to Daniels and Thweatt, the board elected Clint Pressley, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, as first vice chairman after previously serving as the board’s secretary. John Montgomery, dean of spiritual life at California Baptist University in Riverside, California, was elected second vice chairman of the Board of Trustees.

In other business:

— The trustees approved an operating budget of $51,520,824 for the 2018-2019 academic year. After the presentation of the proposed budget, Mohler paused the meeting to express his gratitude to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.

— Trustees heard reports from various sub-committees of the board about the financial and student body matters at the school. The reports highlighted God’s work among the student body and the health of Southern Seminary.

— The board adopted a resolution “extending grateful appreciation” to Stanley Craig for his “service and commitment” to the seminary. For the past five years, Craig has served as a member of the board, including various committees and sub-committees. He resigned his position on the board prior to the April 16 meeting in order to relocate closer to his grandchildren in Orlando, Florida.

— Finally, Daniels, as a member of the committee on resolutions, informally recognized that this spring represents the 25th anniversary of Mohler’s election as president of the seminary. Mohler was elected on March 26, 1993. Members of the board gave Mohler a standing ovation. He commented in response: “These 25 years have been a thrill — the greatest privilege of my life, but I want you to know that I could not have possibly done this without my wife, Mary. You have to realize, when Mary gets to tell the story her way, trustee meetings in the early years were when friends finally came.”

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will take place October 8-9, 2018, in Louisville.

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