Military veteran and pastor Jeff Struecker has been appointed to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SEBTS) faculty as assistant professor of Christian leadership.
Also joining the faculty are Scott Pace of Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) and Ronjour Locke, a pastor in urban Baltimore, as fulltime preaching professors.
Struecker, who received his Ph.D. from SEBTS in 2015, is lead pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga., and will remain in the pastorate while teaching at Southeastern.
Struecker’s role will include teaching graduate and doctoral intensives. He will co-teach his first Ph.D. seminar in January.
SEBTS President Danny Akin said Struecker, a decorated Army Ranger and inductee into the Ranger Hall of Fame, “knows by training and experience the importance of wise and strategic leadership.”
Students in Struecker’s classes “will greatly benefit from the insights and wisdom of this godly man and national hero,” Akin said.
Struecker has more than 22 years of military service, 10 years of which were served as private and platoon sergeant in the 75th Ranger Regiment. During his time of service in Somalia, Struecker surrendered his life to the Lord and decided to become a chaplain in the Airborne and Ranger units, which he served for the last 10 years of his military career.
His military experience includes operations such as Black Hawk Down in Somalia, Operation Desert Storm and more than a dozen tours throughout Afghanistan and Iraq. He was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in June, an honor accorded to deceased or out of service Rangers for at least three years who have served in a Ranger unit during combat and have graduated from a U.S. Army Ranger course.
Struecker, in looking forward to teaching students how to become more effective leaders, said he believes the church “deserves the best leaders in the world, not just marginal leaders, so I hope I can make an investment.”
In seeking to show students what it means to lead in a “God-honoring, biblically appropriate way,” Struecker noted, “All leadership boils down to dealing with people and you have to really understand yourself and people if you want to lead effectively.”
Struecker has written five books. He and his wife Dawn have five children, Aaron, Jacob, Joseph, Abigail and Lydia.
The new preaching professors, Scott Pace and Ronjour Locke, are “faithful expositors and churchmen,” Akin said. “Their passion for Christ, the Great Commission, the Word of God and the lost make them a perfect fit for [SEBTS].”
Pace, who received his master of divinity and Ph.D. degrees from SEBTS, has been named associate professor of preaching and pastoral ministry and associate director for the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership. He will begin his position June 1, 2018.
Pace has taught at a number of institutions, including OBU in Shawnee where he currently serves as associate professor of applied ministry and the Hughes Chair of Christian ministry. Pace has served in pastoral ministry since 2000 and academic administration since 2005. He and his wife Dana have four children, Gracelyn, Tyler, Tessa and Cassie.
OBU President David Whitlock, expressing appreciation for Pace’s contribution to OBU, said, “A winsome witness for Christ, Scott has made a huge difference at OBU and leaves us stronger and better for his service here. I will personally miss him but am excited for his new opportunities for ministry at our sister institution, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
Locke, who received his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been named instructor of preaching and urban ministry, beginning Jan. 1.
Keith Whitfield, dean of graduate studies at SEBTS, said Locke “is passionate about training students to be able to teach the Bible in any and every context that God sends them. Ronjour comes to us with ministry experience from an urban context, which will be a great asset for the training and equipping of our students.”
Locke formerly was pastor of First Baptist Church in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore and currently is pursuing a Ph.D. at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Annnie have four children: Joshua, Noah, Mikaiya and Naomi.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston with reporting by Lauren Pratt of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.)