Whatever deal trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary made with the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board to give Adam Greenway a safe harbor appears to have fallen through.
Greenway, who resigned as Southwestern’s president last Thursday night, was announced the next day to be going to an unnamed position at the IMB.
But on Wednesday, Sept. 28, Greenway announced via Twitter that he will not, in fact, be taking that position.
“Carla and I are grateful for the many expressions of care and concern that have come our way since our transition from service at @SWBTS was first announced. While we initially thought our path would take us to the @IMB_SBC, we have not been able to find the Lord’s peace to move forward in that direction. We covet your prayers for ourselves and for our children as we seek the Lord’s direction regarding his next vocational assignment for us.”
The IMB responded with a brief public statement: “The IMB respects the privacy of potential or active employment conversations, and this situation follows that practice. We are praying for the Greenway family.”
IMB President Paul Chitwood tweeted to Greenway: “Be assured of our prayers.”
BNG has confirmed from multiple sources that Chitwood had received pushback from IMB trustees, who were not on board with creating a role for Greenway.
Greenway and Chitwood have a longstanding friendship. When Greenway was elected Southwestern president in 2019, Chitwood was quoted endorsing him: “For the past 16 years, I have had the privilege of seeing Adam Greenway’s life and ministry up close. I was his pastor, served under him as a professor, worked closely alongside of him in our roles with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and drove his son to school every morning in our carpool.”
Greenway, 44, had a rapid rise within the ranks of the SBC, first as a pastor in Kentucky and then as an academic administrator.
In 2011, he was elected president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, becoming the youngest person ever to serve in that role. At age 34, he was elected chairman of Lifeway Christian Resources’ board of trustees, becoming the youngest trustee chairman in the agency’s history. He has held key appointive roles in both the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
He came to the Southwestern presidency from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry. While there, the school experienced record enrollment, growing from 1,381 students to 2,138 students.
Ironically, Southern Seminary has been gaining ground over the past decade while Southwestern Seminary has been losing ground in student enrollment. For decades, Southwestern not only was the largest theological seminary in the SBC, it was the largest in the world. Today, it is the fifth largest of the SBC seminaries.
That enrollment decline began before Greenway arrived as president, but he was not able to stop the slide. The school’s enrollment today is half what it was in 1994 when conservatives gained control of the board of trustees and fired then-President Russell Dilday.
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