At the Office with Dr. Scott Pace

Some know Scott Pace as a compelling preacher, a caring professor and, most notably, the Dean of The College at Southeastern.

Take some time to chat with him in his office one day, and you’ll learn much more. His shelves are lined with sports memorabilia, like the photo he took with Duke University’s Coach K., the size 18 shoes that were worn and signed by Kevin Durant and the photo of Michael Jordan from his early days playing for the University of North Carolina. Just as striking is the prominent display of his grandfather’s Bible. Pace can show you the page where his grandfather marked the 49 times he read through the Scriptures completely. Just as Pace’s grandfather influenced him, he aspires to influence a new generation of students seeking to fulfill God’s call on their lives. Dr. Pace set aside some time to share his thoughts on how he hopes to see college students capitalize on their season of life by serving the Church and fulfilling the Great Commission.

What do you love about being Dean of the College?

I go home many days a week thinking, “Man, I love what I do!” Usually, it’s for different reasons. Some days it’s because of an interaction I had with a student. Some days it’s because we make progress on an initiative. Sometimes it’s with faculty. It’s been, at some moments, overwhelming, but it’s been extremely gratifying and fulfilling. I don’t think I realized just how much I was missing working with college students and being able to speak into that area of our school. To now have the responsibility and privilege to oversee that—I’m humbled by it.

What is a book that you would recommend to students?

A book that was really formative, in terms of ministry, for me was by Kent and Barbara Hughes called “Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome.” I read that book early on in my ministry, and it changed my whole perspective. In terms of spiritual formation, I’d recommend “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer and Donald Whitney’s “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.”

What were the formative lessons you learned in college?

My junior and senior years, I was involved in the local church at Providence Baptist, and I had the opportunity to be a part of a thriving young adult ministry there. The most valuable part of that is it helped me discern my gifts. That’s where I began to see my calling in life. I also learned the value of being a witness, a quiet influence and how to live with people under the same roof who didn’t hold the same views as me.

What is something you hope students come away with upon leaving Southeastern?

I hope what they graduate and leave with is a heart that’s been formed and shaped for Jesus and for people. I don’t think they’ll be able to maintain it or fulfill God’s plan for their lives if they don’t keep the fire stoked for intimacy with Christ and a genuine love for people. 

What unique ways can college students be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission in their stage of life?

Being on mission with the local church. That’s crucial; it’s vital. I remember one of our leaders here, years ago said, “I actually pray that all of you who are called to be church leaders would be filled with church members that are as active in the local church as you are while you’re here in school.” The other thing I would say is, don’t waste your breaks. Whether it’s Christmas break or spring break or summer break, leverage those on mission. I think that’ll help continue to cultivate that missional mindset. As you prepare for your vocation, continue to try discerning more of how that vocation is going to be used as part of the Great Commission.

*This article was edited for length and clarity and orignally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Southeastern Magazine. 

At the Office with Dr. Scott Pace

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