Congratulations to Master of Divinity student Scotty Swingler, who has been named the Spring 2019 Outstanding Student Preacher at Baylor’s Truett Seminary.
“Scotty has demonstrated in multiple preaching classes both his devotion to the text as well as an animated, passionate delivery of the message,” said Dr. Joel Gregory, Professor of Preaching, Holder of the George W. Truett Endowed Chair in Preaching and Evangelism, and Director of the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching. “He combines a winsome, engaging delivery with an authentic desire to be a persuasive proclaimer. He also understands that preaching is not an end in itself, but also the power of the word preached to transform lives.”
“It’s really humbling. There are so many great preachers at this school, and they push me to be better” Swingler said of the recognition. “At Truett, I’ve really learned how far I have to go and how I can improve as a minister and a preacher and a Christ-follower, so receiving this award is just really humbling.”
After graduating from Baylor as a communications specialist major in 2015, Swingler—who had first felt called to ministry as an undergraduate—decided to take a year to explore his options before ultimately choosing to return to Baylor for a seminary education.
“I realized that it’s really hard to get a pastoring role without seminary. I was being offered jobs in technology and production, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a pastor,” Swingler said.
As a sophomore at Baylor, Swingler preached his first sermon on a Sunday night at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Robinson, Texas. While he had originally considered focusing on music ministry, Swingler discovered that he truly enjoyed the preparation and study that went into writing a sermon. As a student at Truett, his passion for preaching only increased.
“I’ve gone from saying, ‘Well, maybe I could be a preacher,’ to saying, ‘Preaching is something I really enjoy and consider a gift,’” he said.
One of the greatest impacts Swingler’s seminary experience has had on his preaching is by shaping his approach to Scripture. He credits both his preaching professors and his Christian Scriptures professors for helping him to develop the skills to analyze Scripture from an academic, historical lens while also fully trusting in the text’s sufficiency and authority.
“My goal as a preacher is to let the text speak and then to supplement it in a way that makes it come alive,” he said.
Swingler has accepted the call to serve as the student pastor at El Campo, Texas, where he’ll be preaching to be confirmed by congregational vote on May 5th.