Kevin Gottlieb, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary in the master of theology program, is the distinguished recipient of the 2016-2017 William N. Garrison Faith-and-Work Fellowship. Selected by Mr. Bill Hendricks, executive director for Christian Leadership, and Dr. Darrell Bock, executive director of Cultural Engagement and senior research professor of New Testament Studies, Kevin was commended by his colleagues for his work and ministry experience while pursuing his theology degree from DTS-Washington DC.
The Faith-and-Work Fellowship
The William N. Garrison Faith-and-Work Fellowship was established by The Hendricks Center (THC) to give a pastor-in-training at DTS “firsthand and in-depth exposure to the everyday work world, along with a robust theology of work.” It is named in honor of the late Bill Garrison, an attorney, former DTS board member, and early advocate for the value and significance of lay ministry. The Hendricks Center honors Bill Garrison’s legacy because of his tireless advocacy for everyday Christians—people whom Paul calls “the saints” in Eph 4:12 and whose calling is to do “the work of service.”
The Garrison fellowship at THC is designed to acclimate future leaders to the workplace realities that congregants face in their everyday lives. It is intended to equip leaders so they will be natural in their preaching, teaching, pastoring, and leading to help those in the workforce draw upon all the resources of Christ in their vocation.
The Role Work Plays in People’s Lives
One of the things that impressed Dr. Bock and Mr. Hendricks about Kevin was his instinctive appreciation for the role that work plays in people’s lives, and therefore in their walk with Christ. He told Dr. Bock and Mr. Hendricks that his dad is an incredibly hard worker who instilled in Kevin a value for the importance of work, as well as an emphasis on excellence. THC also found it encouraging to learn that when Kevin told his father, who now handles investments and helps start-ups, and his brother, who works as an animator at Disney, about the fellowship, they were very excited and keenly interested in the whole concept. That enthusiasm by “everyday” Christians is a great validation of what THC is trying to do with this fellowship.
As he was studying and working on Hebrew in the DTS library, Kevin received the congratulatory phone call from Hendricks. Kevin explains, “The first thing to know about Bill Hendricks is that he is deeply pastoral, so a call from him, even a bad call, I’d imagine, is a great chance for encouragement. Of course, this news wasn’t bad, and I was stunned, honored, and a bit speechless.”
Learning from The Hendricks Center
After graduating, Kevin hopes to work in the local church. “Teaching is something I love, but my passion resides with the people of God in the local church. I love seeing individuals and congregations grow in their knowledge of the Lord through His Word and grow in maturity through relational discipleship. DTS has given me an incredible foundation in this area and, as a result, I’ve been able to minister to those in my church effectively.”
Kevin reiterated the role this opportunity will play as he continues his studies here at DTS. “This will open the door for me to interact with business leaders and scholars who have thought deeply about the intersection of faith and work. It’s a topic that doesn’t get discussed in most churches, but it’s an area where lay people spend most of their effort and find a great deal of their identity. The good news of God’s redemption through Christ is that it doesn’t just affect our personal lives, but also our work. Indeed, God’s creation mandate for humankind was the care and cultivating of creation through intentional labor. My desire is to learn as much as I can from my time at The Hendricks Center so that I can help Christians understand the profound union between their life in Christ and their life at work.”
Kevin loves history—in fact, he majored in Chinese history and spent time in Asia both as a missionary and as an exchange student. His favorite pastimes are reading (mainly historical and science fiction), watching movies, and enjoying good coffee with friends. He now lives on the Dallas campus in Swiss Tower with his wife, Natalie. “We love to play board games, explore Dallas, and have people over for pizza on Friday nights. However, now that we’re here in Texas, we’ve done a lot more tacos than pizza, but every meal is made better by friends around the table.”
For more information about The Hendricks Center, please visit the Hendricks Center webpage.