FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Steven W. Smith describes his new role as vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern Seminary as “thrilling.” Having served as dean of the College at Southwestern since 2009, Smith was elected by trustees to his new position July 24.
“I'm very grateful that the president and the trustees have allowed me this opportunity to serve,” Smith says. “Through the years Dr. Patterson has entrusted me with some assignments, and it is a joy to be able to serve the school in this way.”
Seminary president Paige Patterson praised Smith for his abilities.
“Steven Smith's success in everything to which he has placed his hand is the first reason why I suggested him,” Patterson said.
“He is a genuine man of God, holds degrees in communication, is a fabulous preacher and brings to the task an almost unlimited variety of abilities.”
Smith fills the position vacated by Thomas White, who was named president of Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, in June. Prior to Smith’s appointment as dean of the college, he served as assistant professor of preaching and associate dean for the professional doctoral program at Southwestern. In addition to his experience as a professor, Smith served as senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., from 1995–2003.
“After years in the pastorate and the classroom,” Smith said, “I believe I have a good sense of the message of the seminary and a good understanding of our audience.”
In his responsibilities over communications, Smith wants to continue to tell Southwestern’s story.
“Southwestern has a remarkable history. Its reach penetrates some very public as well as some very obscure places.
“I see my responsibility not as creating a message but making sure that the incredible culture of this campus is well represented to the world at large. The students, and especially the alumni, deserve to have the story told well. The communications department of Southwestern has been notably strong for years. We will harness that history while being tenacious about the most aggressive and authentic forms of communication available.”
Smith says Southwestern’s role in God’s kingdom provides the context for telling the seminary’s story.
“There are lost people in the world and a God who demands a stewardship of our lives,” Smith says. “As we pursue that kingdom, we tell the story. This is not creating culture; it’s communicating the incredible culture that is already here. This is telling the story of Southwestern's place in what God is doing.”
For Smith, this also translates into his responsibilities over student services.
“It is that same culture on campus that makes the student services aspect of this ministry a joy,” says Smith.
“Our students love Jesus, and they love lost people. My vision is to make their time in the engagement of Scripture as free from obstacles as possible so that they can pursue their calling to study without distraction.”
Smith earned his Ph.D. in Communication from Regent University in 2003 and holds a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Liberty University. He is the author of Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit (2009) and has contributed articles for academic journals as well as blogs.