Month: August 2019

Southwestern Seminary announces new leadership, faculty for Terry School of Educational Ministries

Two new faculty members have been appointed to the Terry School of Educational Ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Adam W. Greenway announced Monday, July 29. Michael S. Wilder and Chris Shirley will serve as professors of educational ministries. In addition, Wilder will serve as interim dean of the school, effective Aug. 1.

“I am excited and thankful that Michael Wilder and Chris Shirley are joining our faculty at Southwestern Seminary as part of our Terry School of Educational Ministries,” said Greenway. “I have previously served for many years with Dr. Wilder, and I know firsthand his deep love for training leaders for the diverse callings of local church ministry. I have the greatest confidence that under his leadership, our Terry School is going to experience significant growth and expand its Kingdom impact. In addition, welcoming Dr. Shirley ‘home to the Dome’ is the right move with the right man at the right time. I know that he will bring fresh perspectives to a familiar place as he serves the Terry School in both teaching and administrative responsibilities.”

Wilder comes to Southwestern Seminary with many years of vocational, administrative, and leadership experience. He most recently served as the J.M. Frost Professor of Leadership and Discipleship, and associate vice president for doctoral studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Under Wilder’s leadership, the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) and Doctor of Educational Ministry (D.Ed.Min.) programs have grown by a combined 42 percent. In particular, the D.Ed.Min. program has grown over that time from 78 graduates to an estimated 191, a 145 percent increase. Wilder has also served as the senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Floyds Knobs, Ind.

“I am excited about partnering with fellow faculty members and local churches as we seek to fulfill the vision of L.R. Scarborough and J.M. Price in the Terry School of Educational Ministries. We will equip Great Commission ministers who counsel, disciple, lead, and teach with excellence,” Wilder says. “After 30 years of serving the local church, I find myself ever more convinced that ministries marked by healthy discipleship experience greater Kingdom fruitfulness. For this reason, I am committed to equipping the next generation of men and women who will serve in the churches’ discipleship and teaching ministries.”

Prior to his role at Southern Seminary, Wilder served as a youth minister in Georgia for 12 years, pastored a Kentucky church for three years, and taught at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as an adjunct faculty member for three years.

A Georgia native, Wilder obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Clayton State College and his Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Seminary. He later earned a Ph.D. from Southern Seminary.

“I have worked with Michael Wilder for well over a decade,” says Randy L. Stinson, provost and vice president for academic administration. “He is a great leader and scholar. He understands the future of Christian education and how we can reach the nations with the Gospel through the associate roles in the local church.”

Wilder will succeed Jack Terry, who has served as interim dean since August 2018 and will continue to serve as special assistant to the president. Terry, for whom the Terry School of Educational Ministries is named, joined the Southwestern Seminary faculty in 1969 and served as dean of the School of Religious Education from 1973-1995 and then as vice president for Institutional Advancement from 1995-2005.

“I am looking forward to the coming of Dr. Michael Wilder as the dean of the Terry School of Educational Ministries,” Terry says. “Dr. Wilder brings vast experience in training and developing leadership for educational ministry in local churches. He is committed to the education of men and women who will be training to lead the plethora of multifaceted educational ministries in the local church, area associations, and state conventions.”

“His experience in the local church as an educational minister will serve him well as he takes on the challenge of leading the students in the Terry School of Educational Ministries to become local church educational leaders for the future,” Terry continues. “His local church leadership skills will be an encouragement to the faculty and the students studying for educational ministry.”

“After spending time with Dr. Wilder, you hear his passion and heart for the educational ministry of the local church,” says Kenneth Priest, director of convention relations for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. “As a Master of Arts in Christian Education graduate of Southwestern Seminary, I am excited to learn of his vision for addressing the discipleship ministries of the church by equipping future ministry leaders for Great Commission fulfillment. Dr. Greenway’s hiring of Michael Wilder positions Southwestern to reclaim its position as the leader of SBC institutions in educational ministry. I could not be more pleased with where our seminary is heading.”

For Chris Shirley, who most recently served as associate professor of discipleship at Dallas Baptist University, this appointment is a return to the seminary family, having previously served as an assistant professor here in the areas of discipleship and family ministry.

“Chris Shirley is a man of integrity, deeply committed to the local church, and a Southwesterner who is administratively gifted in ways that will help the Terry School of Educational Ministries make significant advances,” says Stinson.

Shirley earned both his Master of Arts in Christian Education (1994) and Ph.D. (2002) from Southwestern Seminary. Aside from his teaching roles in higher education, Shirley also has extensive experience in the local church in the areas of education and discipleship, and he served for a time as associate director of camps at Ridgecrest in North Carolina.

“Christian Education is a 2 Timothy 2:2 ministry of the church (‘teaching others to teach others’) with a Great Commission focus (‘teaching them to obey’),” said Shirley. “The disciple-making ministry of the church depends on training disciples who know why they believe what they believe and are trained to teach that knowledge to others. This ministry must survive and thrive, and the Terry School is designed to help make that happen for the sake of Christ and the church.”

So. Baptists respond to ‘horrific’ acts of violence

EL PASO—As two mass shootings over the weekend brought the total to three such tragedies in just over a week, Baptists prayed, met needs and called for an urgent look at how white supremacy can “fuel” violence.

The shootings—all committed by young men—took the lives of 34 people across three cities. In El Paso, Texas, a 21-year-old man is in custody after a shooting in a Walmart left 22 people dead and 26 others injured on Saturday (Aug. 3). Then early Sunday morning (Aug. 4), a 24-year old gunman killed nine in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio.

Those victims were added to the three killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California by a 19-year-old gunman July 28.

Southern Baptists are responding in the aftermath of the violence to minister to those affected. In El Paso, volunteers with Texas Baptist Men set up at a local shopping center to serve first responders and families affected. And Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief is sending a group of chaplains to El Paso, the group reported Monday afternoon.

Baptist churches from around the area also gathered Aug. 4 at First Baptist Church of El Paso for a prayer service that drew more than 400 people.

“Our intent is to say our churches stand together, and we want the community to know that,” FBC Pastor Mark Rotramel said. “This is not about our churches, but the Church.”

Jim Richards, executive director of the SBTC, expressed grief over the killings and a “pervasive evil” motivating such crimes.

“Racism, however it is expressed, is a blasphemy against the one true God whose image all women and men bear,” Richards told Baptist Press. “The idea that one race is inherently superior to another, whether it is called white supremacy or some other label, is unbiblical. The apostle Peter discovered at the house of Cornelius, as described in Acts 10, that God is no respecter of persons.

“Pastors of Southern Baptists of Texas Convention affiliated churches in the El Paso area are reaching out to their neighbors in the aftermath of this tragedy,” Richards said. “The SBTC staff is mobilized to help those churches share the love and comfort of Christ.”

Steve Stiglich, associational missionary for the Greater Dayton Association of Baptists, said he has reached out to the mayor in his city to offer support in any way officials might need it.

“At this time, we’ve been praying and been on standby,” Stiglich said. “We ask for prayer for our first responders and medical staff who have been dealing with the injured, for our officials and the victims and families as they work through this.”

A prayer vigil was held Aug. 4 in downtown Dayton, and protestors also gathered there to draw attention to racist issues brought to the surface again over the weekend. After the El Paso shooting’s young white male suspect was taken into custody, law enforcement found a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe he wrote and they say has a “nexus to a potential hate crime,” CNN reported.

Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, told BP, “I think both El Paso and Dayton represent our most recent illustrations that every person in this world needs Jesus and they need Jesus now.

“And that we need to do everything we can to advance the Gospel to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations,” he said. “That’s why we’re praying for the presence of God to be with every family that has lost a loved one and been directly impacted by this tragedy. And the presence of God will be with every first responder, every technician at a hospital, to a nurse, to a doctor and to all of our pastors and churches that are serving in those areas. May God’s presence be with them and may the Lord use this in our country to call us back to God.”

Other Christian leaders also took to social media to call out racism and white supremacy. Among them was Adam W. Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, who tweeted Aug. 4 denouncing the alleged motive behind the shooting.

“As president of @SWBTS, I want to be clear that we condemn in the strongest possible form any and all ideologies of racial/ethnic superiority/inferiority that fuel the kind of hate evidently motivating the #ElPaso shooter to commit such a horrific act of violence in our state,” he wrote.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on The Briefing podcast Aug. 5, “These headlines come again and again.” He noted that repeated crises of this nature bring up a lot of worldview questions, such as how an assault can happen or who would commit such a crime.

“We are facing a very serious mental health crisis, and we now lack the cultural will and for that matter even the legal mechanisms to deal with many of these threats,” he said, noting that an even bigger issue is our lack of ability to read the human heart and the evil it holds.

McAllen’s Baptist Temple ministers to migrants during border crisis

McALLEN—A Rio Grande Valley multi-campus Southern Baptist church has been making a difference during the current border crisis, one weekend at a time.

When the local migrant release overnight shelter run by Catholic Charities was overwhelmed in late April as the volume of applicants requesting asylum skyrocketed, the McAllen city manager’s office approached Baptist Temple for emergency help.

BT quickly agreed to transform an otherwise busy student building on its McAllen campus into an overnight shelter from Thursday to Monday that weekend. The first group of migrants was bused to Baptist Temple by the city on May 16. The church then offered its facilities the first weekend of each month as needed.

To date, BT has welcomed migrant overflow groups for five nights in May and June and one night in July. The church stood ready to host migrants the first weekend in August also, but the Catholic Charities shelter was below capacity.

“The flow [of migrants] has definitely been reduced, at least for now,” Marshall Johnston, BT executive pastor, told the TEXAN, adding that the church will remain on standby in coming months with a team ready to minister.

“If we get the word, [the team] will have to come very quickly and set up the cots,” Johnston said. “We might see an uptick in crossings. Who knows what’s going to come? This could be a summer lull.”

From May to July, groups sheltering at BT numbered from 70-90 and changed nightly. They were welcomed, offered clean clothes and undergarments and given a chance to take a shower and get some rest, Johnston said.

In preparation for the migrants, the church converted its student building to a temporary shelter with a large room for sleeping, a kitchen/snack area for serving meals, tables for eating, a sizeable classroom for distributing clothing and other necessities and an isolation area for migrants who arrived ill.

“The whole student building is taken over,” Johnston said.

“Each night we present the gospel as well. We have seen several make decisions for Christ,” Baptist Temple pastor Chris Dupree wrote in an email to Tony Wolfe, director of pastor/church relations of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

“Every night it was new faces, new names and a new group of people that we were able to share the gospel with,” P.J. Garza, ministry assistant to Johnston, told the TEXAN.

Among those sharing Christ in Spanish were various BT pastors and shelter director Roger Astudillo, once an undocumented migrant himself who came to the U.S. as a child with his parents in the early 1980s. Roger became a citizen following Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty proclamation.

“Roger has a great story and a real heart for the migrants,” Johnston said.

A plus for the church is that BT has developed a “nice cadre” of enthusiastic volunteers ready to serve migrants, Johnston added, explaining that plans were in the works for members to offer assistance at the Catholic Charities facility even if BT is not being used as a shelter.

“We would like to go and minister and pray,” Johnston said.

The migrant ministry at Baptist Temple “has been a partnership,” Johnston stressed, explaining that when the church was asked by the city to be a shelter, the Red Cross stepped in to provide hygiene packs and 80 cots.

The organization Convoy of Hope brought pallets of supplies, including hygiene packs and diapers, to the Valley Baptist Retreat Center in Mission, and BT picked up items there. Plano’s Prestonwood Church also sent a donation to defray expenses, which have largely fallen upon BT itself, Johnston said.

The church is willing to make the sacrifice, but should the city continue to call upon BT for assistance, extra funding may prove helpful, the pastor added.

“We are doing what we think God is calling us to do,” Johnston affirmed, noting that other churches are equally or even more fully engaged than BT. “West Brownsville Baptist is basically doing what Catholic Charities does. We are more of an ancillary. They are doing more of the heavy lifting in terms of meeting the need.”

Still, BT is doing what it can, and by limiting its shelter availability to the first weekend of each month, the church is able to continue its vibrant student ministry and still serve migrants and the city.

“We knew this need was going to be ongoing. We assumed it would be indefinite, not like a flood or disaster where we might house people for a few weeks or months. We knew this could go on and on,” Johnston said, explaining that to avoid volunteer fatigue and enable the church to stay involved for “the long haul,” BT chose to pace itself.

“Our motives are to help our neighbor, to be good citizens and good neighbors and to share the gospel,” Johnston said.

BT is doing that, one long weekend at a time.

“BT has an incredible testimony reaching the migrants in the Rio Grande Valley,” Scottie Stice, SBTC director of disaster relief, said. “We are so pleased to hear about this. SBTC DR stands by ready to help when they need it.”

REVIEW: “Hobbs & Shaw” is all about family ¦ and punching people in the face

Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are two muscular men who never have gotten along.

They argue. They bicker. Most of all, they mock and dare one another to take the first punch.

In other words, they’re the last two men you’d want teaming up to save the world from a deadly virus.

Yet that’s exactly what the CIA has in mind. After all, Hobbs and Shaw are verygood at what they do: beating up bad guys and fighting crime.

At first, Hobbs and Shaw refuse the proposal. But then Shaw discovers his sister’s life is in danger. And then the two men learn the virus has a 100 percent mortality rate. And then they realize a brilliant mastermind wants the virus so he can wipe out Earth’s population and repopulate the planet with a human-robotic hybrid race.

Perhaps these two men aren’t the ideal duo, but with the world in peril, they’ll have to do.

The film Hobbs & Shaw(PG-13) opens this weekend, giving us a spinoff of the Fast & Furiousseries with all the things those popular movies delivered: high-speed car chases, more fisticuffs than you can count, and over-the-top action that could happen only in a Hollywood film. (My personal favorites: the car driving through the skyscraper and the tow truck battling a helicopter.)

Like the Fast and Furiousmovies, Hobbs & Shaw also gives us a family-centric plot with a great message. But that doesn’t mean it’s family-friendly. It has a ton of language and violence. And it has more jokes about the male anatomy than I’ve ever heard in a film.

It stars Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs, Jason Statham as Shaw, Vanessa Kirby as Hattie (Shaw’s sister) and Idris Elba as Brixton, a human-robot hybrid who wants to spread the virus.

Warning: minor/moderate spoilers!

(Scale key: none, minimal, moderate, extreme)


Extreme. The film is wall-to-wall punches to the face, punches to the stomach, and kicks to the groin. People get thrown out windows and beaten up with metal chairs. Gunshots are prominent, and we see people fall down, presumably dead. Cars explode. We see three torture scenes: two mild ones and a third that includes men being shocked with jumper cables and a car battery. The film doesn’t have excessive bloodshed, but it more than makes up for it in other areas.


Moderate. The film includes no nudity or bedroom scenes, but we briefly see scantily clad women at a party (some in underwear-type apparel). We see a man and a woman kiss twice. Shaw tells Hobbs not to mess with his sister in the romance realm. Hobbs replies with an implicit reference to sex. The film is full of innuendo about the male anatomy.  We see Hobbs and other men shirtless.

Coarse Language

Moderate/extreme. S–t (11), h-ll (8), a– (6), SOB (4), GD (3), d–n (2), misuse of “Jesus” (2) and f-word (1 or 2)

Other Positive Elements

For all its testosterone, Hobbs & Shawis a movie about family, regret and redemption. Hobbs would do anything for his nine-year-old daughter, although he is estranged from his mother and brothers. Likewise, Shaw doesn’t have a good relationship with his sister. I won’t spoil the plot for you, but the film has a redemptive ending. 

Other Stuff You Might Want To Know

We see people drink alcohol.

Life Lessons

Family is essential. It’s fun watching a tough guy like Hobbs spend quality time with his daughter. It reminded me of the old saying, “Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad. “

It’s never too late to go home and make amends. Hobbs proves that’s the case.

Optimism is always needed. Shaw, despite his faults, is a positive person. This trait comes in handy when his sister nearly dies.

Mothers should be honored.One major character gives us a good example of this.


The Fast and Furiousseries always has delivered conflicting messages about women. On the one hand, the series objectifies women. On the other hand, it holds up marriage and the family unit as a priceless ideal.

“I spent my whole life running away,” Hobbs says. “… My own daughter doesn’t even know her own family.”

“You can change that,” Hattie responds.

No, Hobbs & Shaw isn’t a pro-family movie in the realm of the faith-based move Courageous. But it’s nice to see a family-affirming message in a PG-13 action flick.  

What Works

The pro-family, redemptive message. The action. I’m a sucker for car chase scenes. Hobbs & Shawdelivers.

What Doesn’t

Could we cut down on the male anatomy jokes if there is a sequel?

Discussion Questions

1. Why is it sometimes difficult to make amends with family members? What is the solution?

2. Both Hobbs and Shaw had major regrets about their past. Do you? Is it possible to begin anew?

3. What, if anything, can Hobbs and Shaw teach us about “loving your enemy”?

4. What was the key to Hobbs and Shaw learning how to get along?

Entertainment rating:3 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating:2 out of 5 stars.

Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language.

“Who’s Your One?” tour stopping in Dallas Sept. 8-9

Dallas is one of the first stops on the nationwide “Who’s Your One?” tour that is designed to equip and encourage churches in their evangelistic efforts.

The Sept. 8-9 event, sponsored by the North American Mission Board, will take place at Prestonwood Baptist Church. The Christian group NewSong also will sing.

The 20-stop tour is designed to underscore the importance of the Who’s Your One evangelism initiative, which encourages every Southern Baptist to intentionally build a relationship with one person and pray for them, share the Gospel with them and invite them to place their faith in Christ.

The Who’s Your One tour begins in Fayetteville, N.C., in August and concludes in Broken Arrow, Okla., in May.

The Dallas stop will open Sunday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m. with a Who’s Your One Rally featuring keynote speaker Johnny Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership for the North American Mission Board.

The Dallas event will continue on Monday, Sept. 9, at 8 a.m. with a Who’s Your One Evangelism Workshop designed to inspire, equip and mobilize church members in evangelism. Scheduled workshop speakers include Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood; Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.; Allan Taylor of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Catherine Renfro of the North American Mission Board.

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is promoting a five-step evangelism strategy for believers throughout the state as part of its Who’s Your One emphasis. The SBTC is encouraging church members to:

1. Identify: Pray first; ask God who your one ought to be.

2. Intercede: Pray: Don’t just pray about them, but really pray for your ONE.

3. Invest: Create connection points for relationship building with your ONE.

4. Be Intentional: Look for opportunities to have spiritual conversations with your ONE.

5. Invite: Make an effort to share the gospel with your ONE.

“Imagine with me if every member of every Southern Baptists of Texas church would identify someone they know who does not know Jesus — to intentionally begin to intercede for that person, to invest in relationship building with that person, and have intentional conversations and share the gospel with that person,” said Richard Taylor, the SBTC’s associate director of personal evangelism and fellowships, in a promotional video.

“Could you imagine if each one would actually reach one?” he asked. “We could begin to see a radical reduction in the lostness here in Texas and touch the world. My question is simple: Who’s your one?”

Click here to register for the Dallas stop. Click here for SBTC Who’s Your One resources.