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Allen Addresses Priority of Prayer at Spring Convocation, Installs Two Endowed Chairs

Posted January 23, 2024 by Brett Fredenberg

KANSAS CITY, Mo—In the Spring Convocation service at Midwestern Seminary on January 23, President Jason Allen announced the installation of two faculty members to endowed chairs and preached a sermon titled, “Too Busy Not to Pray.”

Beginning the service, Allen reflected on the importance of Convocation, stating, “At the beginning of each semester, we come together to set ourselves apart and renew our commitment to the task of training men and women for the cause of Christ and for the Church.”

He continued, “The formality of our service today represents the seriousness of our work. In this place we are not playing with trivial things nor dabbling in mundane things. We are engaged in life and death work, eternal work, in training men and women in the Word of God to be equipped and ready for wherever God may call them to serve.”

“Today we look forward to all the promise of a semester ahead, to what we are trusting the Lord to do, and to what we are aiming to accomplish in this institution for God’s glory around the world.”

Too Busy Not to Pray

Allen went on to preach a chapel sermon from Mark 1:29-31 titled, “Too Busy Not to Pray.” In the sermon, he emphasized the prayer Jesus prioritized and the preaching Jesus pursued.

He shared, “We live in an age of busyness and distracted priorities. ‘Too busy not to pray’ is an inverse logic, but it is a true and necessary logic at the same time. Excuses will always abound in communing with God in prayer but let us not allow ministry to keep us from Jesus. Let us not forget the barrenness of busyness.”

Following his emphasis on prayer, Allen also spoke to the preaching Jesus pursued.

“Healing, however spectacular and sweet it may be, is not the mission for which Jesus came. He came to preach a message of forgiveness. His work was to preach the gospel. Ultimately, Jesus’ work is a heart work. Our main pursuit, as His disciples, is to be a heart work as well.”

He concluded his message with an encouragement to attendees, “To carry out that work as we ought, we must have our hearts being continually worked on. That takes place, first and foremost, through the Word of God and through coming to the Lord in prayer.”

Two Faculty Members Installed to Endowed Chairs

After concluding his message, Allen announced the recent installment of two faculty members into endowed chairs at the seminary.

Midwestern Seminary has established several newly endowed chairs in recent years, and the Convocation service allowed a further opportunity to install two faculty members into two endowed chairs, each of which were established in partnership with the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Allen shared, “To be a faculty member of this institution is a very special seat one takes and we’re grateful for each and every faculty member at the seminary and college. In this season of ministry, we have strategically prioritized the formation of endowed chairs, providing for all or a significant part of an academic professorship. We’re delighted to be able to install both of these faculty members into two significant chairs in our institution.”

The Gary Taylor Endowed Chair of Missions and Evangelism will be occupied by Assistant Professor of Missions Joe M. Allen III.

Allen III earned his Ph.D. in Applied Theology from Southeastern Seminary and his Th.M. in World Missions and Historical Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. From 2007 to 2021, he and his family served with the International Mission Board in South Asia in Muslim and Hindu contexts.

The John and Sharon Yeats Endowed Chair of Baptist Studies will be occupied by Research Professor of Church History Thomas S. Kidd.

Kidd completed his Ph.D. in History at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked with historian of religion George Marsden. He is the author of numerous books, written for various media outlets including The Washington Post, and blogs regularly.

Of both faculty members, Allen shared, “In the world of higher education, being installed in an endowed chair is amongst the highest honors an institution can bestow on a faculty member. May your service in this endowed chair be used to the glory of God by enabling Midwestern Seminary to better fulfill its mission for the Church.”

Spring Chapel Speakers

Additionally, the Convocation service marked the beginning of spring chapel services. The speakers featured this spring include ministry leaders, scholars, and pastors from around the world, in addition to the members of the seminary and college faculty.

The featured speakers will include:

  • Tony Reinke (author and senior teacher, Desiring God)
  • Noah Oldham (senior director of culture & care, Send Network)
  • Matt Carter (vice president of mobilization, Send Network)
  • Don Carson (emeritus professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
  • Mark Dance (director of pastoral wellness, Guidestone Financial Resources)
  • General Douglas Carver (executive director of chaplaincy, North American Mission Board)
  • Chris Williams (president, Missouri Baptist Convention; pastor, Fellowship Church)
  • Paul Chitwood (president, International Mission Board)
  • Michael Reeves (president and professor of theology, Union School of Theology)

The list of Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College faculty speakers includes Jason Duesing, Sam Bierig, Thor Madsen, Patrick Schreiner, Jeff Dodge, Ben Awbrey, and Michael McMullen.

Chapel services are held in Midwestern Seminary’s Daniel Lee Chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Services are also live-streamed on the seminary’s Facebook page and the seminary’s website at www.mbts.edu/live.

To view the full chapel schedule, visit www.mbts.edu/chapel


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