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Oklahoma Ministers Invited to OBU Pastors School

March 22, 2013

Sponsored by the OBU Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma and local churches in the state, the school will feature three Baptist scholars and pastors: Nick Garland, pastor of First Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, Okla.; Dr. Tony Merida, author, pastor and professor; and Dr. Robert Smith Jr., longtime professor of preaching at Beeson Divinity School.

"The OBU Pastors School is a revival of its summer programs from the 1940s through the 1960s," Dr. Whitlock said. "We were pleased to reestablish the OBU Pastors School last year. In its second year of being revived, this year's school promises to be a time of encouragement, equipping, and challenge that will ultimately strengthen the pastor and the entire congregation."

During the 2013 Pastors School, Garland will lead the morning devotions. Merida and Smith will expound on the theme, "Preach the Cross," with practical teaching, encouragement and application for ministry of preaching at churches of any size.

Pastor, professor and father of five, Merida has become a leading evangelical voice on the importance of Christ-centered exposition, global missions and orphan care. Merida is the lead pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. He also serves as associate professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served as pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., as well as dean of the chapel and assistant professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a doctorate in preaching. His books include "Faithful Preaching" and "Proclaiming Jesus."

Smith joined the Beeson Divinity School faculty in 1997 and teaches Christian Preaching. He earned his bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Bible College and his master's degree and doctorate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also received an honorary doctorate of sacred theology from Temple Community Bible College. He is the author of "Doctrine that Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life" and coeditor of "Our Sufficiency is of God: Essays on Preaching in Honor of Gardner C. Taylor." He served as pastor of New Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, for 20 years.

Garland is president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, since October 1986. The son of a pastor, he has been preaching since he was 19 years old. Dearly loved by his congregation, Garland is known best for his outstanding teaching and preaching. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Florence State University in Alabama and a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. The first 15 years of his ministry, he served as pastor of Southern Baptist churches in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.

The event also will feature breakout sessions, including those taught by OBU professors from the Hobbs College. Dr. Alan Bandy, Dr. Bobby Kelly, Dr. Ish Mudliar and Dr. Scott Pace will bring their expertise to the fore as they explore additional insights from their fields of study for preaching the Word.

"OBU has a rich heritage in investing in the lives of pastors," said Wendell Lang, OBU's church relations director. "This summer at our Pastors School, we will provide meaningful education coupled with powerful inspiration concerning preaching the glorious message of the cross. I can't wait for our Pastors School as we sharpen our tools in the wonderful privilege of proclaiming the word of God."

Bandy joined the Hobbs College faculty as the Rowena R. Strickland Professor in New Testament / assistant professor of New Testament in the fall of 2009. He earned a bachelor's degree from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College; a master's degree from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary; and a doctorate from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served as assistant director of Ph.D. studies for Southeastern and as an adjunct professor of biblical and theological studies in Liberty University's Distance Learning Program. He also served as assistant professor of Christian Studies at Louisiana College. He has served in several ministerial positions including pastor, pastor to students and pastor to children/youth.

Kelly joined the OBU faculty in 1997. He was named the Rowena Strickland Professor of Bible in 2000 and the Ruth Dickinson Chair of Bible in 2004. He received OBU's Promising Teacher Award in 2000 and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011. A native of Kentucky, he earned a bachelor's degree from Clear Creek Baptist College and a master of divinity degree and doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to teaching at OBU, Kelly served five years as a teaching fellow at Southwestern Seminary, leading classes in biblical language appreciation, New Testament and preaching. He has served as an interim pastor at several churches across Oklahoma.

Mudliar serves as Dickinson Chair of Religion at OBU. He joined the OBU faculty in 2012 as associate professor of religion. He earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Union Biblical Seminary; a master of arts degree from Johns Hopkins University; and a master of divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He received his doctorate in Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitic Languages from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He most recently taught as an assistant professor of Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to his teaching career, he served as an associate pastor, youth minister and associate pastor of family ministry and outreach.

Pace joined the Hobbs College as the Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Assistant Professor of Applied Ministry in 2009. He was named the Reverend A.E. and Dora Johnson Hughes Chair of Christian Ministry in 2011. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from North Carolina State University; a master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a doctorate in applied theology from Southeastern. He served for more than a decade as a student pastor, associate pastor of doctrine and as teaching pastor and administrator at First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla. He previously worked as a corporate accountant and a business manager.

"With so much talk about the Gospel these days, God's spokesmen are to be encouraged to boldly proclaim his Word no matter their context of ministry," said Dale Griffin, dean of spiritual life at OBU. "As an administrative dean in higher education, I am looking forward to the messages, training and refocus of energies anticipated through the OBU Pastors School this year."

In addition to devotions, Bible studies, breakouts and plenary sessions, the OBU Pastors School includes housing on campus for two nights, two evening meals, two breakfasts and one lunch. The cost is $99.

"Oklahoma Baptist pastors, you will have an unforgettable experience at the OBU Pastors School," said Dr. Mark McClellan, dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry. "You will be taught, enriched and inspired by nationally known preachers and scholars. What a unique opportunity you will have to get to know and share with them personally. This is not a conference. It is a uniquely designed school at one of the finest Christian universities in the country, and it is just for you. Join us."

For more information, contact OBU's Hobbs College at (405) 585-4426.