Marshall: East Texas Baptist University stands as a shining light in the heart of deep East Texas. I had the opportunity to speak in chapel, and was encouraged and inspired by what I experienced. Dr. Dub Oliver is the new president of ETBU, and brings a fresh perspective to this historic Baptist school.
On the ETBU website, Dr. Dub as the students affectionately call him declares:
“At ETBU, we believe all truth is God’s truth so we study and learn from a Christian worldview. Most colleges and universities in our nation today separate faith and learning. We integrate them. And, while we accept students of all faiths and no faith, we are unapologetically committed to fulfilling God’s call for us as an institution under the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
While on the campus among the faculty and student body, I had the sense this vision of faith and learning was a present reality not a hopeful dream for tomorrow. While thumbing through the school paper I was a picture of Dr. Dub helping incoming freshmen moving into their dorms. It reminded me of the best of servant leadership—leading by example.
Allan Thompson, the director of the Great Commission Center was my host, and guide. Allan has a wonderful heart for the students and vibrant vision of mobilizing this generation of young leaders for kingdom work.
During a brief reception following the chapel I had the opportunity to meet two visiting professors from China who are teaching Chinese to the students of ETBU. I was encouraged to hear this. Chinese is increasing becoming the language of the future as the place and influence of China increases. If we are going to win the world, we will need leaders who speak the heart language of the Chinese people.
One of the challenges facing the Baptist General Convention of Texas today is how to embrace our future. We must never underestimate the importance of our Baptist colleges and universities in Texas. We are training the next generation of pastors and leaders for the future right now, it is critical that we teach this generation the importance of “kingdom cooperation” and listen to this generation as prepare for the future.