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My Inauguration at B. H. Carroll

On Friday evening, February 28, I was inaugurated as the second President of B. H. Carroll Theological Institute. Even as I type the sentence it does not seem real. Those sorts of things are for people who excel in their profession and have a string of accomplishments that those in the organization honor and want in those who lead them. I have neither of those things, but here I am: humbled, thrilled, strangely confident, and certain I am where God wants me for this season of growth for the Institute and for my life.

While I hold the academic credentials for the position, my time of service has been spent in the trenches of local church ministry not in an institution of higher learning. Those two realities may appear disconnected for most who would serve as a President of a seminary like I do, but for Carroll Institute, they are a perfect fit.

Let me explain. Carroll Institute is not a typical model of seminary training. Actually, my academic training and my pastoral/teaching ministry while at Legacy Church, Plano, TX are exactly the credentials necessary to embody the vision of the Institute. 

See, at Carroll we want to return theological training back to the local church where such training began. Our classrooms are not located on a campus somewhere to which faculty and students must pull up stakes of family and ministry move to that place in order to be trained. Local churches, our Teaching Churches like Legacy Church, are our classrooms and partners in ministry.

We also want to elevate the value of the Pastor as Scholar and Teacher, a model which has been devalued in some circles with the rise of such models as Pastor as CEO and Pastor as Entrepreneur. My Ph.D. in New Testament studies, while not valued by all with whom I served, provided a discipline and depth of learning that I could pass on to those who desired to be trained at a certificate, diploma, masters or doctoral level. Our Resident Fellows are mostly local church servant leaders who hold accredited, academic credentials and who equip those on ministry with them.

We also believe that theological training is most effective when it is "both biblically based and praxis oriented." I believe this is best done by a appropriately credentialed teacher who is actively involved in local church ministry. Academic excellence and effective ministry practice are essential to train church leaders in the intricacies of ministry in the 21st Century. As Carroll, we do this where those we teach live, learn, serve, and play.

These all are values I embraced as a Resident Fellow and as a Governor while serving as Senior Pastor of Legacy. So, the apparent abyss between my local church ministry and my new ministry with Carroll is not as deep and wide as it may seem when aligned with the vision and values of Carroll.

Machens, Sterlings, Kim and me
The evening was filled with significance and meaning for me. Everyone who participated in the program were friends or co-laborers with Christ. When Dr. Leach, our Chairman of the Board of Governors, installed me and I knelt while he and the Senior Fellows placed their hands on me and Henry Webb, the LifeWay editor who asked me to write Jesus On Leadership, prayed a prayer of dedication, I could think of very few more meaningful and Spirit-filled moments in my life

The music led by Bruce and Nancy Muskrat, co-laborers at Carroll, James Worsham, Legacy's Worship Leader, Robert Sterling, a friend from FBC, Richardson days, and Chris and Diane Machen, friends from youth ministry and Baylor days, moved those they led and me deeply. Joan Trew has been a supporter of Carroll and a Governor since our inception. Dr. Daniel Tran is a partner in our work in Vietnam. Ben McPhaull is a DMin. candidate who shared a seminar with me, and I have served twice in Cuba with Dr. Adlin Cotto and her husband, Robert. 

With my parents, family, friends, fellow Carroll staff and Fellows in the congregation I was blown away with the honor they bestowed upon me. Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support.

I am indebted to Dr. Bruce Corley, our first President and my Ph.D. supervisor at SWBTS, and the Senior Fellows and Board of Governors who believed I could do this. 

So, now that the formalities are out of the way, let's GROW!

Click on this link to the service if you would like to view it.  You can download the Program here.