Drs. Lawless and Robinson installed in endowed chairs
Lauren Pratt | September 18, 2019
On September 10, 2019, Chuck Lawless and George Robinson were honored during Tuesday’s chapel service as both were installed in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SEBTS) two original faculty endowed chairs. Lawless was installed in the Richard and Gina Headrick chair of world missions, and George Robinson was installed in the Bailey Smith chair of evangelism.
SEBTS President Danny Akin recounted being greatly influenced by a two-week trip he took with the Headricks to visit Southeastern’s 2+2 students across six South Asian countries.
“The Lord used that trip in an incredibly strategic way to even more instill in my heart a desire to see the Great Commission be the umbrella under which we do everything at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,” said Akin.
The Headricks are faithful donors of the school, serving as lifetime Southeastern Society members. An international author and speaker, Richard Headrick currently serves as the CEO of The Headrick Companies, Inc. in Laurel, Mississippi. He has served on multiple boards for a number of organizations, including Bailey Smith Ministries, Kendrick Ministries, Alpha International Ministries and Grace International Outreach. The Headricks founded Hope Foundations, the Good Samaritan Foundation, Hellfighters International and Mission at the Cross Ministries. In 2012, the couple helped produce a full-length film titled “Last Ounce of Courage.”
Lawless, who was honored with the Richard and Gina Headrick chair of world missions, serves as Southeastern’s dean of doctoral studies, vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers and professor of evangelism and missions. Lawless previously served as team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board (IMB) and as vice president for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Lawless also previously served as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he also served as vice president for academic programming and the director of professional doctoral studies. Prior to joining the SEBTS faculty in 1996, Lawless served as pastor of two Ohio churches.
The Bailey Smith chair of evangelism was named after Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president Bailey Smith. Smith grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from both Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Smith followed Adrian Rogers as the second SBC president after the Conservative Resurgence and was the youngest in that role, serving as the 42nd president from 1980-1982. During his lifetime, Smith also served simultaneously as president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference. At 34, Smith became the youngest pastor to serve at First Southern Church in Del City, Oklahoma, the second largest church in the denomination at the time. In 1986, Smith left his church in Del City to pursue his calling as a crusade evangelist, the only former SBC president to do so. His ministry comprised of Bailey Smith Ministries and his 30-year evangelistic crusades called Real Evangelism Conferences. Smith passed away this past year on January 14 at age 79 after battling pancreatic cancer.
Robinson, who was named the Bailey Smith chair of evangelism, has served as associate professor of missions and evangelism at SEBTS since 2008. Raised in metro-Atlanta, Robinson received his B.A. in political science and M.A. in social studies education certification from the University of Georgia, his M.Div. from SEBTS and his Doctor of Missiology from Western Seminary. Robinson taught in the public school system for five years before coming to SEBTS to pursue his M.Div in international church planting. He and his wife served in South Asia as part of the 2+2 program. In addition, Robinson served as a church planting equipping coordinator for e3 Partners, which provides coaching in indigenous tribes across six countries. Robinson served as a pastor in Georgia and as an interim in a number of churches through the years.
Akin voiced a prayer of thanksgiving for both families and their generosity to Southeastern.
“I thank you, Lord that not only do [the Smiths and Headricks] have a passion for you, they also have generous hearts, willing to give that others might know Jesus.”
The chapel service concluded with a message from Mark Vroegop, pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, who preached on Psalm 55.
To view photos from the chapel service, click here.