Nazarene Theological Seminary announced it received a US$1.6 million gift from the Smith family to complete funding for the NTS faculty chair of evangelism. The Smith family gift combines with funds first received in 1971 from Frank A. and Gladys L. Cooper and recent gifts from NTS friends and board members to fully endow the Adam Smith/Cooper Chair of Evangelism.
These gifts will enable NTS to increase educational opportunities, course offerings, and scholarly contributions in the area of evangelism and Christian witness. The generosity of the Smith and Cooper families ensures focused attention and resources will be devoted to the vital practice of evangelism for generations to come, for both the benefit of NTS students and the church.
"As a seminary rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, NTS draws from a wellspring of rich theology and innovative models of Christian witness," said Josh Sweeden, dean of the faculty. "The early evangelical tradition recognized the holistic nature of the gospel and recovered ancient yet timely practices for proclaiming the good news in a variety of contexts. Such commitment and innovation are desperately needed today as pastors, leaders, and laity engage a dynamic world full of new challenges and opportunities."
The $1.6 million gift is representative of the Smith family's commitment to the Church of the Nazarene and the vitality of Christianity in North America and beyond, specifically evangelism. Recognizing the timeless call of Christians to be witnesses of God's saving work, the gift is future-looking, supporting a rediscovery of the practice of evangelism faithful to Christian scripture and tradition and attentive to the changing contexts and expressions of the church. The Coopers provided initial funding for NTS' work in evangelism in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s. Those funds provided a partial endowment and supported past NTS professors (such as Chic Shaver, Chuck Gailey, and Lyle Pointer), courses, and scholarships in the study of evangelism.
As NTS prepares ministers of the gospel in service to God's ever-expanding and multi-faceted church, it celebrates the many partners who make possible a variety of courses in evangelism, church planting and development, and ministerial entrepreneurship. In addition, NTS has a Certificate in Evangelism that provides focused study on the theology and practice of evangelism for ministerial leaders interested in resourcing persons and communities toward faithful Christian witness in the contemporary world.