Yesterday, the presidential search committee of the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced their candidate for the ninth president of the institution—Dr. Adam Greenway. The trustees have called a special meeting, scheduled next week (26–27 February), for the purpose on voting for his candidacy.
At present, Dr. Greenway serves as the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He is a graduate of Samford University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv), and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (PhD). Additionally, he earned a masters degree in nonprofit administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in 2016.
His friends and colleagues speak very highly of his qualification and his character.
Dr. Paul Chitwood—the newly-installed president of the International Mission Board—said, “Both Adam and Carla love the Lord and walk in integrity before Him. Should the Lord call them there, the Great Commission and the local church will be front and center at Southwestern Seminary and I will be praying, ‘Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayers and the prayers of Southern Baptists by giving us one of your best to lead us!’”
Likewise, Dr. Albert Mohler—president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—is quoted as saying, “I’ve had the joy and privilege of working with Adam Greenway for well over a decade now. He is a remarkable Christian with a demonstrated heart for ministry, a clear vision for theological education, and he represents all of the convictions and character that Southern Baptists look to in a national leader.”
In 2011, I published a series of posts expressing my reasoning for returning to seminary in general, and Southwestern in particular. My affection for Seminary Hill is well-known. I have been blessed with the opportunity to build deep friendships with many of my classmates and professors. After earning an MDiv in 2014, I completed the PhD program in 2018. Today, I have the honor of teaching on campus in an adjunct capacity.
And so, with an abiding appreciation for my alma mater and a desire to see her flourish into the future, I’d like to offer four things I think every Southern Baptist owes Dr. Adam Greenway should the trustees approve him as the ninth president of the seminary.
We owe him (and his family) our prayers.
Dr. Greenway will be taking on the responsibility of leading an institution that has faced various difficulties in recent days. Some will take that as an opportunity to cast blame upon the former president or the trustees—something I refuse to do, in part because I not find it neither warranted nor helpful. Rather than seeking to attach blame, it would be much more beneficial to offer our prayers on the new president’s behalf. Let us pray that the Lord will give him wisdom and discernment—that he will be empowered to make changes deemed necessary and prudent and that he will be strengthened to resist the throngs of those offering opinions and making demands without the requisite information.
Let us pray that the Lord will guard his heart and his family, There is not much greater responsibility than the oversight of thousands of men and women who will proclaim the gospel in churches across Texas, the United States, and the ends of the earth. And we know that those entrusted with the greatest responsibilities are the prime targets of the Enemy and enemies of that glorious gospel.
We owe him our encouragement and confidence.
As we should speak to our Father in heaven privately on Dr. Greenway’s behalf, we should also speak to Dr. Greenway (and of him) with words of encouragement. In the press release posted by the school of his candidacy, words of affirmation are offered by Mohler, Chitwood, O. S. Hawkins, and the chairman of the Presidential Search Committee, Danny Roberts. In coming days and weeks, may each of us offer our encouragement to Dr. Greenway as he takes the helm.
We owe him our availability.
It is one thing to offer encouragement. Doing so merely costs us words. But we owe the next president of Southwestern more than words. We owe him our availability—our readiness to step in and join him in the task of leading the school in whatever manner necessary. For some, that will entail an availability to send students. For others, that means helping encourage other Southern Baptists to fund the work of the seminary. For others still, it may mean special gifts or invitations to him to speak or anything else. That which is important is an availability and willingness to step into whatever gaps he identifies and needs us to fill.
We owe him our patience.
Southern Baptists have never been known to withhold our opinions. Yet, I’m reminded of James’s instruction, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19, CSB). When a young pastor asks me what changes he should make during his first year at a church, I tell him to take the first 9–12 months as an opportunity to learn about the church and understand why they’re doing things the way they are. Any changes he chooses to make during that period are made without a good understanding. And yet, many new pastors feel the pressure to change something—to make an impression—during those first months. Often (not always, but often), that pressure comes from families in the church who have a pre-existing agenda and view the pastor’s first months as an opportunity to make their move. While a seminary is not a church, it is not unlike one in that manner.
Let us offer Dr. Greenway our patience as he settles into the President’s Office. Let us offer him the time necessary to discern the state of the seminary and to search the heart of God for the best way forward. That may very well take a different path than some of us (any of us?) believe it should. When it does, we owe him our patience.
We owe the next president of Southwestern our prayers, our encouragement and support, our availability, and our patience. The Presidential Search Committee of the trustees has made a unanimous selection. The trustees will vote next week. Should the Lord call Dr. Greenway to the office of the seminary president, may every Southern Baptist be willing to extend these four things to him.
PhD in Theology.
Roast Master at Caffeinated Theology.
Just give me Jesus . . . and coffee.