By CHRIS MARTIN
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I recently celebrated my 55th birthday. I have been married to Michelle for 32 years. Family is a huge deal to me, and I’ll never accomplish anything better than that my kids love Jesus. I always hoped my kids wouldn’t hate ministry, and they actually love it.
Our two children Josh and Hannah live in the area with their spouses. Josh is an M. Div. student at Southeastern and serving as a youth pastor.
Q: How did you come to SEBTS?
A: I came to Southeastern about 19 years ago. I resisted the offer to come here when I was a home missionary in Indiana. Eventually, when I was a professor in Texas, the Lord called me to Southeastern in 1995.
Q: When people ask you, "What do you do at Southeastern," what is your response?
A: As professor of evangelism and student ministry, I train the next generation to advance the gospel. My fundamental call is not to teach a certain subject, but to equip leaders. My passion is to equip the next generation with the gospel.
Q: On what are you currently working?
A: I’m excited to be writing a book on student ministry with my son called “Get Out.” Another work that I wrote with Michael McDowell “Firefall” about the history of spiritual revivals, I’m editing and re-releasing. Ten of my students have written a book of essays on the leaders of the Great Awakenings, “The Great Awakeners,” that I’m helping to edit.
Q: What have you been reading recently?
A: I try to read about 50 books a year. I just finished reading Trevin Wax’s novel “Clear Winter Nights.” I try to read about 25 secular books and 25 Christian books annually.
Q: When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing?
A: The first thing I do when I get home is plug in my phone and turn it off. I love having dinner with my wife and doing things outside with my family. I enjoy going to the Y and working out. We also like spending time with our pets, two dachshunds, Bear and Cuddles, a golden retriever and a cat.
Q: Who are your role models?
A: Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield and Richard Baxter – all involved in the Great Awakenings. More recent role models would be Roy Fish, Robert Coleman, Johnny Hunt and friends and colleagues that I learn from regularly.
Q: What has God been teaching you lately?
A: I am an ADHD stereotype, and I’ve never had a problem working hard. I’ve had more of a problem enjoying Sabbath. I’m learning that you can’t do in your 50s what you did in your 30s.
In the last year or two, God has really taken me back to my original call to revival and spiritual awakening. For a while I had too many plates spinning in the air, and the Lord is taking me back to my roots from when He first called me.
Q: Where are some of your former students?
A: One of my first students was J.D. Greear, with whom I now teach a Ph.D. seminar, so that’s really cool. I know of 25 former students that are teaching at institutions of higher learning, including one who is a president. Many are pastors, church planters and missionaries.
Q: When a student completes your class, what do you want him or her to walk away with at the end of the semester?
A: I want them to know God more. I know I’m in an academic classroom, but first and foremost I want to make disciples. I tell every class that I want them to learn how to listen better to the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to focus on the intellectual and the practical in the academic world and completely miss the spiritual.
Q: We always say that every classroom at SEBTS is a Great Commission classroom. What does that look like for your class?
A: It’s pretty easy since I teach evangelism and spiritual awakening, but in every class I teach, we practice sharing the gospel. I’m grateful to be at a school that thinks this way. The idea that every classroom is a Great Commission classroom is an academic rendering of our needed missional shift.
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.