Baylor Begins Plans for Ministerial Renewal Center

Nov. 30, 1995

WACO, Texas - Baylor University, its School of Education and George W. Truett Theological Seminary have begun discussions for a joint project of creating a center for ministerial renewal.

The university recently hosted more than 40 pastors, counseling and psychological experts, Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) Officers and Baylor faculty to hear a presentation on the concept of a renewal center for ministers and to brainstorm ideas on how to establish the center. The center would serve various functions including continuing education for ministerial leaders, placement and renewal for pastors suffering from burnout, terminations or other ministry failures.

In addition to the seminary, numerous Baylor departments would be involved with the center including health, human performance and recreation, educational psychology, the Institute of Gerontological Studies and the Center for Christian Education, according to Dr. Charles Schmitz, dean of the School of Education and originator of the renewal concept.

"Those who minister are expected to be perfect people," Schmitz said. "They are expected to speak out on social issues and their lives are scrutinized. They are in need of counseling, renewal of spirit and more education, but these resources are not accessible because they are perceived as not needing them and supposed to be spiritually excellent people."

Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said a center of this type is long overdue and Baylor's role in the center will help the school in achieving its mission.

"The center is an effort to do something in Baptist life that needs to be done," Sloan said. "Though some individuals or churches have tried to do this, we believe it is the time for an effort led by a Christian institution of higher learning in conjunction with individual Baptists and Baptist congregations.

"Baylor is a Christian and a Baptist institution of higher learning," he said. "We are committed to the work of the Lord through the local church."

The BGCT echoed its support of the center during the meeting which was attended by BGCT Executive Director Dr. William Pinson Jr., Treasurer Roger Hall, Coordinator of Minister Counseling Service Dr. Glenn Booth and Coordinator of Minster and Church Relations Dr. Dick Maples. Maples communicated gratitude in Baylor's willingness to use its resources to help ministers in accomplishing their calling.

"We have a mounting crisis in the Baptist family," Maples said. "Baylor has educated many of our pastors. Now she is nurturing these pastors. She is shepherding the shepherds."

Though there is a significant need to help hurting pastors, the aspect of continuing education for ministers in good shape is extremely important, said Dr. Russell Dilday, interim dean of Truett Seminary.

We are all concerned about the epidemic of ministry failure," Dilday said. "All of us want to do something about it. We feel that lifelong learning and early prevention are important keys and not waiting until failure to get help."

The meeting concluded with a recommendation to appoint a committee to begin implementing the proposed ideas of the meeting.

For more information, contact Schmitz at (817) 755-3111 or Dilday at 755-3755.

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