The inauguration ceremony of Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) and Leavell College, reflected the tone that is the mark of his new presidency — humility and service like Jesus.
Since Dew’s election June 5, 2019, his challenge to the seminary family and all who would join him is to take up the towel and the basin and follow Jesus’ example of serving others.
Dew, the seminary’s ninth president, opened his inaugural address by reading from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 — a passage that describes how God uses the common and humble things of this world to accomplish His purposes. Glory, the passage says, is reserved for God and God alone.
“I am humbled to say the least. I feel the weight of this moment unlike any other moment I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I am humbled by the trust that has been placed in me and the love you have expressed to my family and to me,” Dew said.
Despite the historic nature of the inauguration, Dew directed listeners’ focus to the mission rather than to himself. He called those gathered to ponder the brokenness of the world and their role in proclaiming the name of Jesus throughout the nations.
Dew mentioned the thousands of hurting people in New Orleans — the homeless living under bridges and overpasses, those who don’t know where they will get their next meal, children whose families have been wrecked by drug abuse — and the billions of people around the world who have yet to hear the name of Jesus as the backdrop to the inaugural activities.
“I’m honored tonight. I’m humbled tonight. But set tonight and the honor you have bestowed on me against that backdrop,” Dew said.
Dew also pondered the day when his task as a seminary leader and his time on earth are complete.
“There is coming a day when this world will forget my name … a time to retire, a time to die, a time to stand before God and be judged,” Dew said. “It will simply matter on that day that we be faithful.”
“I wonder what kind of institution we will be on that day. I wonder what kind of difference we will make in a broken, fallen, hurting world from this moment forward until the end,” he continued.
Dew closed his inaugural address with an exposition of the seminary’s new mission statement. The statement reads: “New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission.”
Dew explained that the mission statement calls the seminary family to servanthood, to spiritual fervor and deep devotion to Christ through Gospel proclamation among the lost and broken and to service and discipleship.
“Tonight, I turn us as an institution, as a family, and anybody else who wants to get onboard to this simple, simple mission,” he said. “Everything we do, every class we teach, every program we offer, every dollar we spend, every initiative that we unfold will be to execute that mission.”
A passion for the lost
Drawing from the well-known passage of Matthew 28:19-20, Danny Akin, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president and close friend of the Dews, offered words of encouragement in his charge to Dew.
“Rest in the power and authority of King Jesus,” Akin said. “You will find Him sufficient every step of the way.
“Be obedient to His commission,” Akin said. “We are called to make disciples, but we can’t make disciples if we don’t win lost people to Jesus.”
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Source: Baptist Press