KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – A memorial service for Milton Ferguson, the second president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is scheduled for March 22 at 11 a.m. in the Daniel Lee Chapel at the school’s Kansas City, Mo., campus.
Presiding over the service will be Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary, Tom Wiles, executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island, and Bob Hill, minister emeritus of Community Christian Church in Kansas City.
Ferguson, 89, died on December 21, 2017, after a brief battle with cancer.
Ferguson’s tenure as president at Midwestern Seminary began in February 1973, and he served the seminary community in this role before retiring in 1995 at the age of 67.
“Serving as Midwestern Seminary’s president for 23 years, Dr. Ferguson led the institution through a season of great denominational and institutional transition,” said Allen said. “He did so faithfully and graciously, seeking to honor the Lord in both word and deed.”
Under Dr. Ferguson’s leadership, Allen said the seminary crossed many milestones including a growing enrollment, expansions in campus housing, and leading the seminary to greater financial health.
Some of the specific milestones taking place at Midwestern Seminary under Ferguson’s guidance included:
The graduation of 2,858 students during his tenure; conferring degrees upon the first Doctor of Ministry graduates at Midwestern Seminary in 1974; renovating and expanding the faculty-classroom building in 1976; constructing the campus Child Development Center (which now serves as the Department of Worship Ministries Building) in 1979-80; opening the first off-campus extension center in Wichita, Kan., in 1979; initiating the institution’s church music program in 1983; and establishing the “Midwestern Leadership Series” and “C.W. Scudder Lectures” in 1993-94.
In addition to his service as a professor and seminary president, Ferguson served the Southern Baptist Convention as a researcher for the SBC Committee’s National Student Life Survey, on various SBC and state convention assignments, and by conducting lay renewal retreats, curriculum writing and preaching and teaching in denominational contexts.
Prior to his tenure as president of Midwestern Seminary, Ferguson taught for 17 years as instructor of Theology as well as associate professor and full professor of Christian Philosophy at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He also served as pastor of Hebron Baptist Church in Hebron, Texas, from 1951-54, as associate pastor at Crown Heights Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, and in numerous interim pastorates in Oklahoma and Texas.
A native of Harrah, Okla., Ferguson was born to Robert Homer and Martha Floyd Ferguson on May 8, 1928. He accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized at age 8, and he was ordained into Christian ministry in December 1938 at Harrah Baptist Church. Ferguson was also a military veteran, serving as Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army of Occupation in the Pacific Theater (Korea) from 1946-49.
Ferguson earned a Doctor of Theology degree in 1956, and a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1954 from Southwestern Seminary, as well as Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1951.
In the years following his presidency at Midwestern Seminary, Ferguson taught at Southern Baptist institutions in Kenya, Singapore, and served at the American Church in Belgium. He regularly preached and advised churches and then moved to The Baptist Home in Chillicothe, MO in 2013.
Ferguson is survived by his daughters, Julia and Jane Anne, as well as their families. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bettie, and his daughter, Jo Catherine.
There will be a reception for guests in the Midwestern Seminary Chapel Banquet Hall immediately following the service, and a graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. at Berry Cemetery, 1327 NW Barry Rd., Kansas City, MO 64155.