During Midwestern Seminary’s fall Commencement exercises, President Jason Allen announced the establishment and funding of the Steve and Mary Dighton Endowed Chair of Pastoral Ministry.
Steve Dighton serves as pastor emeritus at Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kan., a church he founded 25 years ago and served as senior pastor until 2015. Dighton previously served congregations in Oklahoma before moving to Lenexa.
The pastoral ministry chair is the third endowed faculty chair in Midwestern Seminary’s history. Last fall, the seminary announced its second endowed chair, the Lee and Tammy Roberson Endowed Chair of Church History. In 2010, Midwestern Seminary and the Missouri Baptist Convention established the Missouri Baptist Chair of Partnership Missions, later renamed the Gary Taylor Chair of Missions and Evangelism.
“On occasion in higher education, institutions have the opportunity to add an endowed professorship, ensuring the longevity of particular faculty positions for years to come,” Allen said. “By God’s grace, we are delighted to now add our third endowed chair, the second in the past two months at Midwestern Seminary.
“What is more, we are delighted to establish the pastoral ministry chair in honor of Steve and Mary Dighton, a testament to their faithful service at Lenexa Baptist Church for many years and their continual support for the work at Midwestern Seminary.”
Steve Dighton, who delivered Midwestern Seminary’s fall commencement address prior to being recognized, expressed gratitude for the honor and eagerness to see the fruit of the seminary’s continuing efforts to train the next generation of ministry leaders.
“Mary and I would like to express our appreciation and delight in having this new pastoral ministry chair established in our name,” Dighton said. “Over my 32 years here in Kansas City, Midwestern Seminary has always been important to me, but especially the last ten years under Dr. Jason Allen’s presidency.
“My passion has resonated with his passion, and that is expressed in the seminary’s mission to be ‘for the church.’ Midwestern Seminary has become the seminary I always hoped and prayed it would become.”
Dighton added he is especially grateful for the pastoral ministry focus of the endowed chair, and said he is hopeful for the next generation of ministry leaders who will be equipped through the seminary’s efforts.
“Pastoral ministry has always been my priority in my 40 years of serving the local church,” Dighton said. “So, to be associated with Midwestern Seminary in this way is only fitting. My prayer is that this endowment would help train and instruct a coming generation to properly shepherd the flock of God for the glory of our Savior and the benefit of the local church.”
Allen added that establishing the pastoral ministry chair is a significant step toward having key academic posts secured for Midwestern Seminary’s future. Allen also noted robust theological commitments reinforce the endowed positions, helping maintain alignment between the seminary’s academic practices and its vision and mission.
“This is an investment in training generation after generation of gospel servants, those who will equip the church,” Allen said. “The occupant of the Endowed Chair of Pastoral Ministry will represent, believe, and teach in accordance with all our confessional statements until Jesus returns.
“We are grateful for all the Lord is doing at Midwestern Seminary, and we are eager to continue in our work, training the next generation of pastors and ministry leaders for the church.”
The first occupant of the Steve and Mary Dighton Endowed Chair of Pastoral Ministry will be named at a later date.