The Presidential Search
Louisville, Ky.– The Board of Trustees of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has called The Rev. Dr. Michael Jinkins as its ninth President. The action was taken today at a meeting of the Board of Trustees and shared with the Seminary campus constituents, followed by a community worship service. Dr. Jinkins will succeed The Rev. Dr. Dean K. Thompson, who has served as President since 2004. His appointment is effective September 1, 2010.
“Of the many diverse and qualified candidates we considered and engaged in prayerful conversation and discernment, Dr. Jinkins most commendably envisioned our mission to educate men and women to participate in the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ in the world,” said Trustee The Rev. Dr. Conrad Sharps, of Birmingham, Ala., who served as the search committee Chair. The committee was comprised of representatives from the Board of Trustees, faculty, administration, staff, alum association, and student body.
Pamela G. Kidd, M.D., Chair of the Louisville Seminary’s Board of Trustees from Grand Rapids, Mich., expressed gratitude for the dedicated work of the Presidential Search Committee in conducting its nationwide search over the last ten months and great appreciation for their nominee, saying “Dr. Jinkins is an outstanding leader with experience in the pastorate and the academy. He brings just the right combination of gifts and experience to lead Louisville Seminary into the future.”
Dr. Jinkins said he felt overwhelmed with emotion and thanked the Trustees and members of the campus community for entrusting him with the leadership of Louisville Seminary, adding that the future of the Seminary “will require everyone’s participation at the table.”
“Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has an exciting vision, the kind that catches your breath,” he said. “I am drawn to its vision for building an inclusive seminary community in which people can gain theological education to prepare them to serve God in an increasingly pluralistic world. Among many aspects of the Seminary’s vision, I am excited about the Black Church Studies program, continuing to expand the Scholarships for Excellence program, and teaching students how to prepare worship within a global context.”
“Dr. Jinkins’ passion to articulate a vision for the future of seminary education and the broader church in a world of religious diversity led our committee to a unanimous recommendation. We are very excited about continuing the vitality and strength of our Seminary’s future under his thoughtful, collaborative, and intuitive leadership style,” added Dr. Sharps.
Currently, Dr. Jinkins is Academic Dean at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he has served in administration and as a professor since 1993, and as Dean since 2004. He has been ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for 29 years and joined the Austin Seminary faculty following 14 years in pastoral leadership and mission service within several congregations in the State of Texas.
As an author of 12 books and more than 100 articles, essays, chapters, reviews, and papers in academic, professional, and ecclesial publications, Dr. Jinkins is well respected for his contributions to the life of the church and the academy and in many ecumenical circles. In its recommendation to the Board, the Search Committee noted that Dr. Jinkins will bring to his new call an intimate knowledge and awareness of the intricate details of church and seminary life. Reporting from external references, Dr. Sharps said, “Michael Jinkins possesses the array of experience, instincts, wisdom, patience, intellect, and temperament that is required of a successful seminary president,…he understands the vocation and calling of a pastor and the training and equipping necessary for effective pastors, and …he is one of the most promising academicians and administrators in the Presbyterian family of seminaries.”
“He is a complete package – gifted scholar, experienced administrator, and personable colleague with a passion for theological education. What makes him most attractive for our community is that he is committed to exploring the breadth of what theological education can be,” said Dr. Debra Mumford, faculty representative on the committee and the Frank H. Caldwell Assistant Professor of Homiletics.
“I am thrilled that Michael Jinkins is coming to join us at LPTS as President,” added Louisville Seminary Dean and Professor Rev. Dr. David C. Hester, who also served on the search committee. “We have worked together over the last five years as Deans of our respective seminaries, and I have come to respect him deeply for his keen insight and wisdom, his well honed administrative skills, and his always honest and warmly embracing way of relating to others—friends, faculty, and staff.”
Patrick Cecil, Vice President and CFO at Louisville Seminary and administrative representative on the committee, commented how the search process led, over and over, to the name of ‘Michael Jinkins’ “at every juncture and from a wide field of gifted and qualified individuals.”
“Dr. Jinkins immediately captured the imagination of the Committee with his vision for the future of Louisville Seminary. He is a deep thinker who understands theological education and its impact upon the broader church. I believe he is coming to lead the Seminary at a great time. We have a very stable platform from which he can lead our Seminary to even higher levels of excellence and achievement,” said Mr. Cecil.
Echoing the search committee’s appreciation for Dr. Jinkins’ vast experiences, combining administrative leadership with academic scholarship and pastoral leadership, Trustee Dan Ellinor of Tulsa, Okla., Chair of the Board’s Seminary Relations Committee, said, “We are moved by his call to theological education, the church, and the LPTS presidency, and we are eager to support him in his new leadership.”
In accepting the call to serve as the Seminary’s next president, Dr. Jinkins will lead the only Presbyterian seminary that was supported by both the northern and southern Presbyterian Churches prior to Reunion of the Presbyterian Church in 1983. Today, that remarkable ability to bridge the differences among communities of faith, culture, and thought continues to be carried out in the Seminary’s commitment to provide high-quality theological education that is grounded in the history and Scripture of the Christian movement, informed by the Presbyterian and Reformed traditions, and guided by the vision of an ecumenical church. Expressed as the “Power of Welcome,” Louisville Seminary is committed to preparing men and women for leadership in culturally and religiously diverse contexts and to religious leadership that is competent in the practices of Christian ministry.
Founded in 1853, in Danville, Ky., Louisville Seminary pioneered the field education movement more than 60 years ago, integrating practical experience with academic and theological study. Today, the field education program is a number one reason why many of its more than 225 students nationwide choose to enroll at Louisville Seminary. Of the Seminary’s 2,216 living graduates, a remarkable 68.3% are in active ministry; 20.7% are retired; 7.9% are students or in an inactive ministry period; and only 1.9% are out of the ministry. Alums serve in more than 60 distinct vocational professions, with the majority in church-based ministries.
Twenty-two faculty members, one quarter of whom represent racial-ethnic heritage, with credentials from some of the world’s leading theological institutions and universities, provide competent and creative instruction and guidance that integrates theological discipline with the practice of ministry.
The new president will also lead an institution that is credited with one of the top seminary-based Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in the nation. Accredited by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), more than 100 students have graduated from the program, which was established in 1993.
Over the past 100 years, Louisville Seminary has enjoyed significant relationships with the United Methodist Church and has within the past 25 years established relationships with African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal Churches, which recognize the Seminary for the training of their ministers. Currently, 24% of the student body is non-Caucasian.
The Presidential Search