Dr. Mark L. Bailey, President of Dallas Theological Seminary, was honored for his 30 years of service as a faculty member and administrator at a special Service Awards Chapel held on March 4, 2015. DTS Chancellor Charles Swindoll spoke about his friend and colleague's servant-hearted leadership and dedication to the mission of the Seminary. View photos from the event on Facebook.
I first met Mark Bailey in Portland, Oregon. I was on the Western Seminary campus bringing a series of messages on Moses during their “Spiritual Life” week. He was working on his MDiv degree at that seminary back in the early 1970s. Our paths didn’t cross again until I returned to Dallas Seminary in 1994 as the school’s fourth president. By then, Dr. Bailey was serving on the faculty here, having begun nine years earlier as a professor in the Bible Exposition department. Early in my orientation as president, our mutual friend, Dr. Charlie Dyer, told me that Dr. Bailey was one of the faculty members I should get to know, since he was among the brighter lights on the horizon of DTS, genuinely esteemed by his peers on the faculty and greatly admired by the students taking his courses. Charlie made sure we got together. It was then that I remembered we had already met over twenty years earlier up in Portland.
Teaching the Word
Dr. Bailey’s love for the Bible and his giftedness in teaching it led to his becoming an event instructor for Walk Thru the Bible for more than twenty years. Those experiences enhanced his ability to help people think through the Scriptures as well as understand and remember God’s message in clear and creative ways. He continues to serve on the Walk Thru Board of Directors as well as on the boards of Bible Study Fellowship, Insight for Living Ministries, and Jews for Jesus.
His keen grasp of biblical truth mixed with his ability to relate well with students and earn the respect of the faculty, prompted me to appoint him as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean in 1996. Three years later he accepted the broader role and set of responsibilities as Provost of our school, which opened the door for the two of us to spend more time together—thinking, praying, evaluating, planning for the future, and preparing for our two major sessions each year with all of the Board of Incorporate Members. In the midst of all this, if you can believe it, Dr. Bailey also managed to pursue and earn his PhD, which he received with academic honors in 1997.
Family and Ministry
Dr. Bailey’s travels have been extensive. Since 1983 he has made trips and led tours to and around Israel-in fact he is a licensed tour guide in that country. In addition to that, his travels and teaching opportunities have taken him to numerous countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Hungary, China, Venezuela, and Argentina, where he has earned an enviable reputation as a Bible teacher who knows how to connect with people of other cultures, while communicating through translators, and often being faced with exotic food that he is served which he cannot always identify! His great sense of humor and no sense of smell have enabled him to travel well.
For twenty years in Dr. Bailey’s ministry he has served in pastoral roles, where he endeared himself to congregations who still remember him as a caring and faithful shepherd. He is a voracious reader, a published author, an available friend, a scratch golfer, a devoted husband to Barby, a much-admired-and-loved father to Josh and Jeremy and their wives, and a loving grandfather—whom those little kids absolutely adore and enjoy, especially when all the family members spend time together over special holiday gatherings, on each other’s birthdays, and during longer vacations that they often take together.
Called to the Presidency
When I was approaching the final year of my role as president and needed to determine whom I would suggest to be considered as the next leader of this school, my task was not at all complicated. I’d walked alongside and worked closely with this man for several years, a man I had known by then for the better part of thirty years.
When I brought his name to the attention of George Underwood, who then served as chairman of our seminary board, I referred to Dr. Bailey as a biblical-thinking scholar with a keen mind for administrative challenges and a warm heart for people, a man who models uncompromising integrity with true humility, leadership skills with compassion, discernment with decisiveness, and a strong determination to do the right thing even when it is the hard thing to do. If anyone questions this man's determination, I simply remind them that he's one of the few individuals I've known who had both knees surgically replaced at the same time—then endured the torture of rehab for weeks without murdering his physical therapist!
When Mr. Underwood and the presidential search committee completed their national search and in-depth interviews with potential candidates, the board came to the unanimous decision to extend a call to Dr. Bailey to become the school’s fifth president.
Shepherding the Seminary
The chairman’s words, when he announced their decision, were prophetic: God has provided Dallas Seminary with sterling leadership throughout our history. Dr. Bailey’s dedication to God and his devotion to this school continue the tradition of constantly lifting the bar as we send Christian leaders into the world. As all of us could testify, since May 5, 2001, when Dr. Mark Bailey was inaugurated, he has continued to “lift that bar.”
This spring, he begins his 15th year as President of Dallas Theological Seminary. It is fitting, therefore, that all of us congratulate Dr. Mark Bailey today as he celebrates his 30th anniversary as a vital part of Dallas Seminary’s past, present, and future.