FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Dear Dallas Theological Seminary Family,
On Friday, October 26 in my report to the Seminary Board I announced my future retirement plans as president of Dallas Theological Seminary and want to share them with you. After much prayer and discernment, I am announcing my plan to retire from the presidency on June 30, 2020. As of that date, I will have served the Lord full time at DTS for 35 years, and I will turn 70 later that Fall.
In my wildest dreams I could not have charted the path of teaching and leadership that God has had for me. No one is as surprised as I am that God would allow me to serve Him at DTS in the ways He has. It has been my sheer privilege and not at all of my own deserving. No one knows nor appreciates the depths of such grace toward me like I do. I have been so blessed to spend the better part of my adult life at a school I love and will continue to support. I believe the history and heritage of the seminary is one to honor and protect. By God’s grace, the seminary has held to its founding vision and doctrinal commitments for almost 95 years. At my inauguration in 2001, I was charged to guard that entrustment, and I have endeavored to do that with vigor and integrity.
The reasons for the timing of my decision are both personal and professional. On the personal front, I believe God would have me devote more time to the love of my life – my wife, Barby – who has sacrificed so much and yet has supported me so cheerfully. Without her I would not enjoy life and ministry as I do. The same could be said of my sons and their families with whom we want to spend more time and offer even more encouragement for their respective ministries. I would also like to study, speak, serve, and pursue some writing projects left on the back burner for too many years.
Professionally, it was important for us to seek the Lord’s guidance in order to discern the right zone of the running track of the seminary to strategically and successfully pass the leadership baton with the least amount of interruption and with the best optimization. The two most influential factors are the current health of the seminary and its future needs. As to the first, we have experienced a sustained growth and a sequence of record enrollments in the student body in a time when most seminaries have been in decline. We have assembled a most competent, candid, and cohesive executive team whom I treasure as some of my closest friends in the ministry. Our beloved faculty and staff continue to be godly servant leaders whom I love and who have been so magnanimously supportive throughout my presidency. Financially, God has faithfully met our needs year after year, and we are free of impending crisis or emergency. So, this is an appropriate time for a transition.
Secondly, my decision was made with a desire for God’s best as it relates to the needs of the seminary as we turn our face to the future. The reaffirmation of both of our accreditations and the Centennial Celebration will culminate in 2024. Both of those momentous events should be about the school and not about an outgoing or incoming leader. Therefore, I believe the transition of the presidency should precede that date so that we can focus our celebration on God and His blessings throughout 100 years of theological education for the body of Christ. In addition, we have also entered into a most significant transition phase of leadership as our faculty and board have matured, and it only seems right to allow for the input of my successor in building both of these teams for the foreseeable future.
This has not at all been a sudden decision. I began discussing this decision with the Executive Committee of the Board in May of this year in order to allow a purposeful, smooth, and unhurried transition. They, in turn, have asked me to consider continuing our grand DTS presidential tradition of continuity by staying on with the seminary in a supportive role of teaching occasional courses, speaking, writing, and representing the seminary as requested starting in July of 2020 – a role which I am delighted to fill. I will serve at the request of the board in support of God’s direction for the seminary’s future.
I want to say in closing how grateful I am to the board for their trust, guidance, counsel, genuine love, and encouragement. God has given me the absolute best board under whom, and with whom, I could ever have wanted to serve. They have consistently proven to be friends and not just board members. To them, and with great gratitude to the Lord, I humbly hand back the baton of leadership for them to pass on to the sixth president of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Mark L. Bailey, Ph.D.
October 26, 2018