Newest Nehemiah Project directornamed by NAMB, Southwestern

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--Southern Baptists’ newest church-planting professor hopes to leverage his experience as an advocate for evangelism into the directly related field of church planting.

“In order to plant healthy churches, we need to have an intentionally evangelistic mentality,” said David Wheeler, who has been named to head Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s church-planting center as part of the North American Mission Board’s Nehemiah Project.

The Nehemiah Project ultimately will establish a church-planting center on each SBC seminary campus in the United States and Canada. The center at Southwestern is the fifth under the program, which is designed to produce church planters with both academic preparation and practical, field-based experience in church planting.

“We’re excited about NAMB’s choice of David Wheeler, a graduate of Southwestern and a church planter with an evangelist’s heart,” said Ken Hemphill, president of Southwestern Seminary.

“The Nehemiah Project is a wonderful example of the new day of cooperation between Southern Baptist agencies and institutions,” he added. “This will enable Southwestern to further enhance its already-strong church-planting program.”

Wheeler, director of evangelism and prayer for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana since 1993, said his goal at Southwestern “will be to help produce church planters with a heart for evangelism as well as evangelistic pastors with a church-planting mentality. Coming from a new-work area enhances my perception that evangelism and church planting really do coexist.”

Wheeler also has served as pastor of churches in Texas and Tennessee, and he and his family have had their personal church memberships with two church plants in Indiana.

“David Wheeler’s appointment to Southwestern as the Nehemiah church-planting director represents a strategic piece in our overall Nehemiah strategy,” said David Putman, recruitment development associate for NAMB. “David as state evangelism director for Indiana has modeled with his state director of mission counterpart Carroll Fowler the importance of bringing evangelism and church planting together into one strategic focus.”

Putman also noted Wheeler’s pioneering efforts in advocating servant evangelism among Southern Baptists. “He will serve a key role in continuing to elevate its importance in the process of evangelizing and congregationalizing North America,” he said.

Putman also noted Wheeler’s appointment “brings us one step further in having the Nehemiah Project fully implemented by the fall of 1999.”

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