A year ago yesterday (August 18, 2013), I announced to the congregation of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS my intention to accept the call of Reformed Theological Seminary to become the 5th chancellor of the institution (thanks for the kind reminder Barbara Wellborn). On September 1, 2013 I assumed the office and January 1, 2014 I began to devote myself full time to the work. Today, I am welcoming the incoming class of students to Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson – a group twice the size of last year’s incoming class here. Overall, RTS enrollment is up 12.5%. This is a huge blessing from God when many evangelical seminaries are experiencing stagnation, decline and severe financial hardships.
Over this last year, I have had the joy of representing the seminary on every continent but Africa and Antarctica (but I’ll be in Africa this coming January!). I attended the general assemblies of five different Presbyterian denominations: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.); the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod (Bonclarken, NC); the Presbyterian Church in America (Houston); the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Knoxville, Tenn.) and the Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil in Natal, Brazil.
In September, I lectured at the Presbyterian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia and served as the Assembly Expositor of the triennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in Sydney, Australia. RTS has long, deep ties with Australian Presbyterianism.
In February, I spoke at an international conference in Busan, South Korea and met with seminary leaders from all over that country. We have a significant number of RTS graduates serving in Korean churches, seminaries and universities.
I delivered a plenary address at the Matthew Henry Symposium in July at the University of Chester in Chester, UK. This event commemorated the tercentenary of his death and was co-sponsored by the University of Manchester and the Chester Cathedral Library. I will be back in England in October for the London Presbyterian Conference, and also in Berlin, Germany and Edinburgh, Scotland (speaking at the Edinburgh Theological Seminary).
Also in July, I had the enormous privilege of addressing the Supreme Council of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil in Natal, Brazil, as well as meeting just about every major Presbyterian leader in South and Central America (who were guests of the IPB). Our partnership with the Jumper Graduate School of Theology at MacKenzie University in São Paulo serves this denomination providing a Doctor of Ministry program for their pastors.
In addition to teaching my regular load of classes in the fall and spring semesters (2013-2014) in Jackson, I was able to speak at the Orlando, Washington and Houston campuses, and to visit all of our campuses throughout the year and see firsthand the Lord at work at each of our locations.
This fall, I will be teaching Systematic Theology I (God, Man, Sin) and Doctrine of Scripture here in Jackson, and Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Studies at Orlando. Next summer, I will teach the Worship course for RTS Charlotte. I am committed to leading the institution through (not simply while) but through teaching. The chancellor is about the same calling and mission as the rest of the faculty.
If you are considering theological education, I hope you will visit RTS at one of our seven campuses (or through the Global program). Times are exciting here.