'Celebration of Excellence' honors faculty and student achievements

By Marilyn Stewart

No sermon is needed for the annual Celebration of Excellence chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Provost Steve Lemke told the audience May 2. On that day when faculty and student achievements are honored, a living sermon is presented, Lemke said.

Drawing from Philippians 4:8, Lemke pointed to those receiving recognition for academic, missional living, and pastoral leadership achievement as examples of what it means to do all with devotion to Christ.

“God is the only one who is perfectly excellent, but He has called us to live lives of excellence,” Lemke said. “Those being honored today have exemplified excellence.”

Faculty awards included three Marvin Jones Awards for Excellence, given in honor of Louisiana minister of education, church planter and former faculty member Marvin Jones. Recipients included Dr. Rex Butler, professor of church history and patristics, Outstanding Classroom Teacher; Dr. Lloyd Harsch, professor of church history and Baptist studies, Outstanding Faculty Churchman; and Dr. Jim Parker, professor of Biblical interpretation, Outstanding Research Professor.

Two faculty members received Ola Farmer Lenaz grants for research and writing: Dr. Lloyd Harsch, whose research will focus on training in numismatic identification of Roman coins for the purpose of enhancing the NOBTS archaeological dig at Tel Gezer, Israel; and Dr. Randy Stone, professor of Christian education, for research into the impact of pastoral transitions on the retention and tenure of ministerial staff.

Published works by faculty include “Church Mergers: A Missional Guidebook,” co-authored by associate professor of Islamic studies-ministry-based faculty Dr. Page Brooks; “Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology,” by contributor and co-editor Dr. Adam Harwood, associate professor of theology; and two online publications, “Worship HeartCries: Personal Preparation for Corporate Worship, 2nd edition” and “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: Vocal Solos for Worship,” by Dr. Ed Steele, professor of music, Leavell College.

Recipients of the Outstanding Student in Degree Programs Awards were: Amanda Karen McCluer, master of arts in Christian education; Theresa Ann Edens, master of divinity in Christian education, Carly York Fulmer, master of music in church music; Tyler J. Ellis, master of divinity; Scott Cooksey, baccalaureate program, and Cardell Shawn Barbarin, associate program.

Other outstanding student award recipients included: Timothy K. Cross, Breazeale-Guidry Award for Excellence in Biblical Studies; Ronald Dale Leonard, Baptist Association of Christian Educators Award in Christian Education; Raphael Forrer, Zondervan Hebrew Award; Dustin Michael Rigsby, Zondervan Greek Award; Dale Garvin, C.C. Randall Award in Evangelism; Fertil F. Dieujuste, David and Sue Meacham Award for Outstanding Church Planting Student: Heather Allen, James A. Headrick Award for Excellence in Christian Counseling; Tyler Gordon Dean, Zondervan Theology Award; Brandon Elrod, Outstanding Student Award in Christian Thought; Robert Elijah Spinks, Excellence in Missional Living Award; Joe Waller, Broadman & Holman Seminarian Award; and Andrei Parvu, LifeWay Pastoral Leadership Award.

Receiving the Robert S. Magee Doctoral Fellowship award for academic achievement and scholarly potential in the research doctoral program were Chris McElmurray and Ryan Wade.