After a lengthy and prayer-driven search, the Board of Trustees of Asbury Seminary have voted and approved a new president to lead Asbury Seminary. Tuesday will be the joyous day where the Asbury community in Wilmore and across the world will join together and welcome the new leader of our Seminary. To watch the service live please click here, which will take you to the live chapel streaming that will begin at 11:00 Eastern. I will update who is the new leader as soon as I can (I will post in the comments who is the new president from my cell phone in chapel and then post it in here later) and provide a link to the official release from the Seminary. Our chapel service will run from 11:00-12:00 Eastern time, so shortly thereafter you can expect an update. They have announced our new President as Dr. Timothy C. Tennent. More info after the jump.
Asbury Seminary has been searching for a President for a few years since Jeff Greenway resigned a couple years ago because of leadership differences between himself and the Board. In the two years that have passed, J. Ellsworth Kalas has served as our President. He has been the perfect leader for us during this transitional time holding the respect of students, faculty, staff, and trustees. From the initial communication of the Presidential Search team, it is realistic to assume that the new president would not start until the Summer, but we will keep you advised to the situation. Asbury Seminary is one of the larger Seminaries in the USA, especially in the Wesleyan tradition. It has as many students as the total of the four largest United Methodist Seminaries. The seminary is on the forefront of educating United Methodist clergy with about 1000 United Methodist enrolled. Whoever this new president is has a significant amount of responsibility for those in the Wesleyan tradition, United Methodists, Asbury Seminary, and the Kingdom of God.
President-elect Tennent was announced from the Orlando campus of Asbury Theological Seminary this morning at 11:00 Eastern by unanimous approval of the Board of Trustees and the unanimous recommendation of the Presidential Leadership Team. He was introduced to the Asbury Community there in Orlando, via video in Wilmore, and live over the internet to students, alumni, and friends. He was greeted with applause and prayer throughout the world, which is a fitting way to welcome a President who was described as a world Christian.
He has been the Professor of World Missions and the Director of Missions Programs at Gordon-Conwell, where he received his MDIV in 1984. He is well-versed in Global Christianity and is a prolific author in the Field. He is a United Methodist Elder, and he has served as a Pastor in different contexts during his ministry. His wife, Julie and he have two kids both in their young 20s. To find out more about him, here is his bio at Gordon-Conwell. Here is the link to the bio on the Asbury Website for some more helpful interaction.
From a personal perspective, this is an exciting choice of President for Asbury Seminary. Dr. Tennent is a global Christian in a globalized world. The fact is that while Wilmore is a rural Kentucky town, it is an international community. The world is flat, and we have much to learn from one another about who God is. This wide perspective of God will be beneficial for students who come to Asbury. At the same time President Tennent is committed to classical, orthodox Christianity that can and is vital in the world today. The ability to be open to a variety perspective and hold on to orthodox Christianity is not only possible, but our calling. I read his book Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church is Influencing the Way We Think About and Discuss Theology and appreciated the merging of a global perspective and orthodox Christianity. I highly recommend it to those who are interested in President-elect Tennent’s theology and method.
President Tennent is also a United Methodist Elder. This has been the case with at least the most recent Asbury President and is important for the future of the United Methodist Church. As mentioned earlier, Asbury Seminary has a great number of United Methodist and as I believe it was Maxie Dunnam said, “As the Seminary goes, so goes the pastor, as the pastor goes, so goes the church, as the church goes, so goes the world.” It should be important for all United Methodists that a UMC Clergy member is leading this Seminary. I am excited for President-elect Tennent to be our President.
If you have any personal experiences with President-Elect Tennent, I’d love to read them. Post away!