Be strong and do the work.

As the world emerges from the lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to let you know B. H. Carroll Theological Institute has not missed a step in delivering accredited theological education to our students and teaching partners. Since the pandemic hit a year ago, our overall enrollment is up along with the number of units taken per student. 

I am grateful to the seminary’s four founding Senior Fellows for their visionary and sacrificial efforts to establish a teaching platform that weathered the disruptive storm of the pandemic. Some of our staff and faculty contracted the virus, and we have lost Carroll family members to the disease, but we have continued without interruption the mission God has assigned us. 

Here are some indications God continues to show us favor and how Carroll is carrying out its mission to equip men and women called to serve Christ and his church globally. 

Last month, B. H. Carroll received an anonymous gift of $250,000.00 for the Gerald E. Marsh Center for Chaplain Studies. This gift was nurtured by two of the Center’s Advisory Board members and was given to advance the Center’s strategic efforts of providing collaborative opportunities to develop and share curriculum, to address and to advocate issues that influence, promote, and sustain effective chaplain ministry. Dr. Jim Browning, the Director of the Marsh Center of Chaplain Studies, when told of the gift said, “Thank you, God, for this person’s generosity and for those that made this possible!”

Dr. Browning went on to explain, “Most seminaries do not have the resources, breadth, and depth of chaplain studies beyond an introductory level. By working together and leveraging the extensive expertise of the Marsh Center’s Advisory Team, we are developing a curriculum that is vocationally targeted and relevant to the demands of tomorrow. As chaplaincy of all types is significantly growing, this gift will enable the Marsh Center to expand our chaplaincy curriculum analysis and development with collaborating seminaries, associations, and institutions. Once developed, our intention is to share it freely with those participating with the Marsh Center. Additionally, due to the growth in the Marsh Center’s think-tank and advocacy activities, this gift will also allow us to reimburse B. H. Carroll Theological Institute for their administrative support.”

I, too, am grateful to the donor’s generosity as I believe chaplains are becoming the new pastors of our culture. While clergy are being pressed more and more to the margins of the public square, chaplains in all areas of service are being invited to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of others. B. H. Carroll and the Marsh Center are committed to providing resources and training for those called to serve as chaplains of all types. 

For more information about the Marsh Center, visit https://www.bhcarroll.edu/marsh-center/ or call B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, Irving, Texas.

The Frank and Pauline Patterson Spring Colloquy is another evidence of how God has empowered Carroll to provide learning opportunities to build up Christ’s Church. We are grateful to The Foundation for the Advancement of Christianity for the funds which endow this important lecture series. The colloquy also demonstrates the global network of Carroll and the quality of instructors who serve alongside us. 

Dr. Louise Kretzschmar, professor of theological ethics at the University of South Africa, will speak on “Living Truth in a Cheap Talk World.” Dr. Kretzschmar holds a Ph.D. in Christian Studies from the University of Cape Town and an M.Phil. in Theology from the University of Cambridge. She writes and speaks often on the interface between Christian Ethics and spiritual formation, as well as the subject of women, society, and the church. If there is ever a timely need for a dialogue regarding ethics and spiritual formation, it is now. Please join us for this virtual and free opportunity to address the poignant needs of our culture from a Christian perspective.  

To join us you can register at https://events.bhcarroll.edu/colloquy/2021-spring/ 

Our Carroll Teaching Network continues to serve the local church and fulfill our desire to return theological education back to the local church through offering access to seminary classes to church leaders not enrolled in degree programs. We partner with local churches, associations of churches, and global conventions to be a theological education content provider for their church leaders. 

In our January-February term, I taught a course for the Carroll Teaching Network which included church leaders from Norway, Germany, Denmark, Spain, and the United States. I taught the same course on the same day in the evening so church leaders from the US, India, and Australia could join the class. COVID forced us all online and in doing so, we took the opportunity to open the Carroll Teaching Network to all who would like to access the classes. The next class offerings will be in August. 

If you are interested in learning how your church can benefit from a partnership with Carroll to equip your church leaders, you can inquire here.

Finally, our annual Convocation to celebrate this year’s graduates will be held virtually on Friday, May 28, at 7:00 p.m. CDT. We will celebrate certificate, master’s, and doctoral graduates who have completed the race for their degrees. We will also recognize our honor graduate and alumnus. I will offer the Convocation address. I have not spoken at our Convocations since 2014, and I feel led to speak on the urgency of our mission and how Carroll must respond to the storm clouds gathering on the horizon which threaten who we are and what we do. Watch for details in the days ahead. 

A passage of Scripture captured my attention while writing a commentary on the life of Solomon from 1 and 2 Chronicles. King David encouraged his son as he handed the temple project to him when he said, Consider now, for the Lord had chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” (1 Chronicles 28:10) I believe God has chosen us to build up the church as a place of worship and service in the name of our Lord. To do this we must be strong and do the work, empowered by the Holy Spirit and in fellowship with God’s people here and around the world. Will you join me in this work that has an eternal impact on the lives of those we serve?

Serving Him with You,
Gene

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