FROM THE SEMINARIES: SEBTS, SBTS

EDITOR'S NOTE: "From the Seminaries" includes news releases of interest from Southern Baptist seminaries.

Today's From the Seminaries includes items from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Southeastern hires Art Rainer as VP

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (SEBTS) -- Art Rainer, formerly administrative pastor at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., is now serving as Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s vice president for institutional advancement.

Rainer has co-authored two books, "Raising Dad" and "Simple Life," with his father, Thom Rainer of LifeWay Christian Resources.

"It is such a great honor and privilege to serve this great institution," Rainer said after being elected to the post during SEBTS trustees’ mid-October meeting. "I look forward to coming alongside the Southeastern team as we train and equip students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission."

Daniel Akin, Southeastern's president, said he has known Rainer since he was a teenager.

"I have watched him grow into the godly and gifted man that he is today," Akin said. "His addition to Southeastern is a welcomed gift from our Lord. The future is bright and hopeful with Art joining our team."

Rainer is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a master’s degree in business administration and is a candidate for a doctorate in business administration while also working toward a master of arts in biblical studies at Southeastern.

Rainer served as acting vice president for institutional advancement from August of last year until his election by trustees. He oversees Southeastern’s admissions, alumni development, communication, financial development and planned giving.

Rainer and his wife Sarah have a 3-year-old son and a newborn son.

Also during their October meeting, Southeastern's trustees:

-- were introduced to new faculty members: Edgar Aponte, director of Hispanic leadership development; Stephen Eccher, assistant professor of church history and Reformation studies; and Walter Strickland, special adviser to the president for diversity. Trustees also elected Charles Quarrels, professor of New Testament and biblical theology, to the faculty.

-- installed Akin as the first Ed Young Sr. chair of preaching. Young, a graduate of Southeastern and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston.

"I protested strongly against this because I don't feel worthy," Akin said. "I am honored. If there is a person I do look up to for a faithful pastor, it is Ed Young. I am humbled, and I am grateful. Until my last breath I will be true to the power and inerrancy of the Word of God."

Young, who leads the Houston church with more than 63,000 members in five locations, preached in conjunction with the installation. Drawing from the Book of Nehemiah, Young noted five essential characteristics of a great leader: having a vision, giving away the vision, discernment, tenacity and integrity. Young also stressed the importance of having salt, the prayer of your calling and pepper, which is passion.

“If you step out and people follow you over time, you may have the gift of leadership,” Young said. “Success is being in the center of God’s will for your life. And celebrating it.”

When asked why he hasn’t retired after 55 years in ministry, Young said: “As a servant leader, I just haven’t lost the wonder of it all.”

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Publishing exec is new VP for development at Southern

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) -- Geoffrey Dennis, a former executive with evangelical publisher Crossway, has been named vice president for development at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, school officials announced Jan. 6.

"Southern Seminary is very pleased to have Geoff Dennis joining our development team in this crucial new capacity," R. Albert Mohler Jr., Southern's president, said. "The appointment of a vice president for development to work alongside Craig Parker, our vice president for institutional advancement, represents a great step forward for Southern Seminary in our effort to serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and to meet Southern Seminary's needs in one of the most God-blessed moments of our history.

"Geoff brings great skills and deep commitments to this new task, and I am very glad to welcome him as a crucial member of the Southern Seminary leadership team," Mohler said.

Dennis, who began his new duties Jan. 1, worked for the last 23 years in various capacities at Crossway, a leading evangelical publisher based in Wheaton, Ill. He served most recently as executive vice president, chief operating officer and associate publisher with oversight of advancement, sales and marketing, digital and information technology, operations, human resources, fulfillment, finance and literature ministries.

During his tenure on Crossway's Publishing Committee, Dennis was involved in the strategic development, market positioning, production and distribution of the English Standard Version Bible, first published in 2001, and the award-winning ESV Study Bible, published in 2008.

"I could not be more pleased that God is sending Geoff Dennis to be part of the Southern Seminary leadership team," Parker said. "Geoff is a proven leader who possesses professional skills and experience that are second-to-none.

"Geoff's accomplishments are significant, but you do not have to be around him long to recognize that he is also a man of great spiritual maturity, warmth and relational gifting," Parker said. "He is going to be an exceptional ambassador for Southern."

Parker, who leads the seminary's development program, said Dennis will be an important asset to the development team as the school is experiencing a "wonderful season of growth."

"The addition of Geoff to our team will make it possible to seize new opportunities for capital gifts -- especially for renovation and expansion of the James P. Boyce Centennial Library -- planned giving that will be instrumental for growth of the endowment, and other major gifts that will enable us to contain the cost of tuition that must be borne by our students," Parker said.

Dennis said, "I have a deep passion for effective Christian ministry that serves the body of Christ, a commitment to the application of sound business practice in the ministry environment and desire for the effective use of digital technologies to extend ministry reach and impact. I have great appreciation for the mission and ministry of Southern Seminary and its remarkable history of serving God's people since 1859. It will be an honor to serve the Lord -- as well as students, faculty and staff -- through the exceptional ministry of Southern Seminary for many years to come."

Dennis holds a master of arts degree in theological studies from Wheaton College in Wheaton and a bachelor of science degree in business management from National Lewis University in Chicago.

He and his wife of more than 20 years, Allison, are parents to four children. Dennis has served in various church capacities, including as elder, worship leader and small group leader.

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Southern offers new degree in worship leadership

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) -- A new delivery method for the master of arts degree in worship leadership will allow worship pastors with substantial experience to earn a seminary degree in as few as three years without relocating from their local church ministry.

The program, offered through the department of biblical worship at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will begin enrolling students in June.

"We are thrilled to announce the new master of arts in worship leadership professional track. This new delivery model allows students to study online throughout the year and attend a two-week summer intensive for three summers," said Joseph R. Crider, professor of church music and worship and executive director of the Institute for Biblical Worship, who led in developing the program.

"We believe students are looking for the type and quality of education that Southern Seminary provides, and this delivery model will be a significant step in serving those students," Crider said.

The department of biblical worship is a part of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at Southern Seminary.

"Students enrolled in the M.A. in worship leadership professional track will enter this coming summer for the program's foundational courses and then begin supplementing their residential summer study with our online theology courses the rest of the year," Crider said. "During the two-week sessions, we will offer band lab courses, a summer worship choir, applied lessons and the other performance-based courses that are nearly impossible to deliver effectively online."

The M.A. in worship leadership requires a total of 61 credit hours. In the professional track, students earn all of their worship- and music-related credits during two-week intensive terms for three summers. Students then complete the degree's core courses online -- including biblical studies, theology and ministry -- during the standard fall and spring semesters. This new model is a part of Southern Seminary's commitment to combining strengths of online education with traditional formats.

Information about the new degree program -- including instructions on how to apply -- is available at sbts.edu/bgs.