SNU Announces Center for Pastoral Leadership

BETHANY, OK (October 7, 2013) -Since its founding in 1899 to the present, Southern Nazarene University has been committed to serving the church in preparing the next generation of Christian ministers. From formal degree programs of rich theological education and sound practical experience, to certificates and continuing education for practitioners, SNU has sought to serve the Church with excellence in this regard.

Today, Dr. Loren Gresham, President, announced a significant milestone in this mission with the launch of the Resource Center for Pastoral Leadership (RCPL) at Southern Nazarene University. “Such a Center has been envisioned for some time and in recent months has evolved into an initiative supported wholly by the district leadership on the South Central Region,” said Gresham.

 In his announcement, Dr. Gresham stated that, “Perhaps at no time in recent memory have  the pressures on Christian ministers – especially pastors –been more profound. Even the  best-prepared and most gifted pastors find themselves in need of additional tools and  resources to meet the constant challenges they face in their congregations and the  communities they serve.”

 In cooperation with the District Superintendents of the South Central Region of the        Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Gresham not only announced the launch of the Center but      also the naming of Founding Executive Director, Dr. Stan Toler.

In his introduction, Dr. Gresham noted that Dr. Toler served as a pastor for over forty years, has written scores of books and articles – most of which were written to resource pastors and congregations, and has preached in 85 countries and to 170 different protestant denominations and church groups. Most recently, Gresham reminded the crowd, he served the Church of the Nazarene as the 39th General Superintendent and upon his retirement from the Superintendency was elected to the honorary status of General Superintendent Emeritus. Dr. Gresham said, “He also has deep connections to SNU and is an alumnus who has been honored by the University on different occasions. In this season of his life and ministry we count it a privilege to work with him as he gives a portion of his time to the launch and development of the RCPL.”

Dr. Toler will be assisted by an Advisory Council composed of both lay and clergy leaders to set the direction of the Center. Like the Zig Ziglar Center for Ethical Leadership - the RCPL will reside under the auspices of the Vice President for University Advancement and Church Relations at SNU.

Outlining the mission and purpose of the Center, Gresham said, “We believe that, over time, the RCPL will continue to evolve in its scope and effectiveness in serving the continuing educational needs of Nazarene pastors on the South Central Region, and beyond.” “While the Center’s primary focus will be on serving Nazarene pastors – we will reach out to serve evangelical pastors regardless of denominational affiliation, race or gender.”

The mission of the RCPL will be to create a place where pastors find:

· Direction and inspiration for their Calling
· Development and encouragement for their Character
· Timely resources to grow in their Competencies

The mission of the RCPL will be realized through:

· On campus, off campus and on line CEU events
· Quality ministry resources at low or no cost to pastors and congregations
· Utilization of the outstanding resident faculty at SNU complemented by top tier presenters/instructors from around the USA and beyond.

It was noted that the launch and early funding for this endeavor was provided for in the form of a legacy gift for such a purpose. Gresham stated that the University will welcome and need financial support for this effort – if it is to be sustained over time.

“One hundred years ago Dr. J.B. Chapman was elected the fourth President of what is today known as Southern Nazarene University, Dr. Gresham said.” “Dr. Chapman was a champion of Christian higher education and is well known for saying the church needs more and better preachers.” “He was right then and he’s right now; SNU’s future is largely in the hands of our churches. If our churches do well - SNU will do well in serving her needs. We are wholly committed to serving the church through this new endeavor,” stated Gresham.

October is Clergy Appreciation Month and SNU celebrates the contributions of pastors by giving what she believes will be an enduring gift of growing value to the pastors who serve in the more than 650 churches on the South Central Region, USA, and beyond.

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.