This blog post is part of an ongoing series of behind the scenes interviews conducted with B.H. Carroll alumni, students and faculty as part of the production of recent film project. This post is a transcript of the interview with Kevin Boyd, Master of Theology alumnus and currently a Senior Pastor in Texas.
So we talked a bit earlier, but tell us a little about the history of why you chose Carroll.
Kevin: After finishing undergrad I was looking at several programs. I got a call one day and someone told me about what was just birthing at the time, the beginning of B.H. Carroll. When I called the school and talked to them about their identity and their DNA, what they were trying do; what resonated with me are a couple of things. From the beginning, they had a missional focus in that they want to multiply theological education in ways that it increases the kingdom and expands the mission, not just in our local seminary city but in cities all over the US, all over the world, where people are already invested in doing ministry.
That excited me because traditionally a student leaves the church they’re serving in, the town that they’re involved, the community that they’re invested in and they move to a seminary town, plug in there and often don’t leave. I was serving in a church and I didn’t want to leave that church to go to seminary. I wanted to be able to serve at the same time as I was being challenged and learning. So one reason I chose Carroll was just this spirit of moving theological education out from the building and into the communities where we live and serve.
Talk to us a little bit about the motivation. Why, in your experience, is it a worthy goal to pursue theological education?
Kevin: I think that, for me, I lean heavily on intuition in ministry…and that is an equally exciting and dangerous thing! I needed discipline. I needed the opportunity to be pushed to a safe place theologically to build on, a safe place missionally and as a leader to build on. With theological education there are things you learn in the classroom that are of value, but for me the greater value was being in an environment where the discipline of seeking a healthy truth in scripture, the discipline of knowing how to address the Bible in a way that’s honoring to the Lord and move from there was vital. It was key from me. You’re not building on nothing, you’re building on something very strong and foundational and core to knowing who God is and knowing how to join Him on His mission.
B.H. Carroll afforded me this opportunity. Often times in a traditional seminary experience someone will spend two or three years just going to class, and then they go out and try to apply that in ministry. Carroll afforded me the opportunity to do both at the same time. To go to class while serving in the local church, and so I had the chance to apply immediately the things I was learning in the classroom.
For example, if I was taking a class on evangelism, immediately my church had an evangelistic focus. Or if I was taking Paul’s letters, I was teaching Paul’s letters at the local church I served in. For me it was both learning a good discipline for how to address the Scriptures and planned mission but to do so while I was actually hands and feet on the ground.
What is the importance of God’s word today?
Kevin: I think that in our churches today, and this is something that we all could nod our heads and agree on, most people are Biblically illiterate. We really struggle at getting into the Bible and addressing it in a way that is truly honoring to God; that allows us to know what He intends for us. The reality is that the Scriptures are how we come to know the nature of God. And it’s true with people…when they speak it tells you who they are. As God speaks words to us through the Scriptures we get insight to His character, to His heart, to His purposes, to the very nature of God.
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And so it’s not just for the professional pastor or the missionary in the field, but for every person to have an opportunity to engage a process, an art of engaging God’s Word in a way that allows us to know Him and grow deeper in relationship with Him. That gives us real understanding of meaning and what we’re doing here. Otherwise, you’re trying to force meaning into your life, you’re trying to force a relationship with God, and those are things that really can’t happen in an authentic way without engaging God in His written word in the Scriptures, which is the place where we know Him and we know how to respond to Him.
So, what’s one of your favorite passages?
Kevin: You know I love the book of Ephesians. It’s one of those letters where the entire story of the gospel—the entire story of humanity— is told in just a few chapters. Recently we’ve done a study on Hebrews in our church and I think the Lord made me turn in my heart to just the deep spiritual nature of how Hebrews engages our faith in a deeper way. It’s something that really says how you can’t manufacture life with God, you can’t manufacture peace with God, and you can’t manufacture happiness in this world. It’s something that only comes in a very spiritual trust of our Savior.
Share one of the favorite things you learned in your seminary experience?
Kevin: I had from the very beginning a relationship build with one of the senior fellows, which is unique for seminary, one of the top leaders in the school and decision makers personally invested in my life. This is a person who gave me advice along the way, as far as courses to take or directions to take..was always available to answer questions ah and then when it came to actually doing a thesis ah he’s the one who got me, not just on the road, but down the road.
I really couldn’t have finished without him. I don’t want to say, “held my hand,” but he certainly walked every step of my seminary experience alongside me. That’s a person who today I could call if I had a question about interpreting a text or about how to enact a ministry plan or how to handle a counseling situation. I feel like I could call this guy and he would answer the phone and he would know me, and he would care about my question and he would walk with me through that as well.
What would you tell someone considering Carroll for seminary?
Kevin: I’ve sent several friends to Carroll, a couple of current doctoral students and masters level as well. I sell Carroll pretty hard and, really, some of it comes from the key words from the early days. They [Carroll] want the school to be available and accessible to students, so that wherever students are serving —whether it’s in a foreign country, or it’s in the middle of rural America, or it’s in the busy city—wherever they are, they can connect to strong theological education and a personalized theological education. I tell prospective students that in a Carroll classroom, whether it’s virtual or physical on a church campus, you are going to have a diverse class. Where a class might have a senior pastor, a church elder, a janitor, a maid in NYC, a traditional seminary student, maybe someone fresh out of college or something like that, somebody who leads the men’s Bible at their church, all involved in one classroom.
And the professors are so good about understanding who the students are in their class, and keeping a strong and consistent theological education, but personalizing it to everyone’s context. And so it allows you to have truly a Multi-dimensional experience in every classroom. With a wide variety of perspectives and roads leading to and from whatever material you’re dealing with in the classroom.
Kevin: Then I tell them this, it’s hard not to tell them this: B.H. Carroll is one of the more affordable schools out there, and they have made that a core value from the beginning and they have been faithful to keep it affordable for pastors and for students, which is of the highest values when you are serving at a church part time or full time or you are just wanting to become better equipped to lead on a lay level. Affordability is so vital and Carroll has kept that promise.