Covenant Seminary is pleased to announce that Dr. Thurman Williams will serve as Director of Homiletics as current Director Dr. Zack Eswine transitions out to focus on other ministry opportunities. The change will be effective July 1, 2021.
Dr. Eswine, who served the Seminary as Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program from 2001 to 2008, returned to Covenant in 2015 in a part-time role as Director of Homiletics and Adjunct Professor of Homiletics. Building on the program’s strong foundation of Christ-centered preaching, Dr. Eswine brought a focus on helping preachers convey the gospel to current generations with apologetic wisdom and cultural sensitivity. This concern is well illustrated in his book Preaching to a Post-Everything World (Baker, 2008), which received Preaching Today’s Book of the Year Award in 2009, and in his connection to Covenant’s Francis Schaeffer Institute (FSI), which he joined as Resident Scholar in 2018. Dr. Eswine will remain in his role with FSI while also continuing as Lead Pastor of Riverside Church (EPC) in Webster Groves, Missouri, where he has served since 2008. He has asked to transition out of directing the homiletics program in order to focus on those responsibilities and other ministry opportunities the Lord is bringing across his path.
As we thank the Lord for Dr. Eswine’s faithful service, we also rejoice in his provision of Dr. Thurman Williams to step in and carry the homiletics program forward. Dr. Williams currently serves as Pastor of New City Fellowship–West End, a church plant and new site of New City Fellowship in St. Louis that began public worship in May 2019. Prior to that, Dr. Williams served as Associate Pastor at Grace & Peace Fellowship (PCA) in St. Louis from 2013 to 2018, and was Pastor of New Song Community Church (PCA), in the Sandtown community of inner-city Baltimore, Maryland, from 2000 to 2013. He was previously Minister of Outreach and Youth at Faith Christian Fellowship Church (PCA), also in Baltimore, for five years, and served four years on staff with the ministry of Young Life.
Thurman holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Chesapeake Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) from Covenant Theological Seminary, completed in 2011 with a dissertation titled “Christ-Centered Preaching in Hip-Hop Culture.” He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Homiletics at Covenant since 2015 and has also taught a City Ministry course for the Seminary. He was the featured speaker for the 2020 Covenant Seminary Preaching Lectures focused on the topic “Spirit-Empowered Preaching in a Powerfully Divided World.” Thurman currently serves as Chairman of the PCA’s Mission to North America Committee, but will step down from this role officially at General Assembly this year. He also serves on the Credentials Committee and the Reconciliation and Kingdom Justice Committee of Missouri Presbytery. He and his wife, Evie, have been married for 23 years and have been blessed with four beautiful children who reside here in St. Louis—Charvez, Shaquana, Joshua, and Caleb—and one who lives in Baltimore—Moenira Baker.
Of his appointment, Dr. Williams noted: “I am honored, humbled, and excited by this opportunity because Covenant’s focus on Christ-centered preaching and engaging our world with apologetic wisdom and sensitivity has had a tremendous influence in shaping who I am as a preacher. I have also been profoundly impacted by growing up in the African American church and some of the distinctive emphases found there—preaching consistent and enduring hope in the midst of chronic suffering; emotive and interactive engagement with the congregation; applying the Word directly and practically to body and soul; and what is typically called “the celebration,” which brings together the sermon’s main ideas to point to and celebrate their fulfillment in Christ. These emphases blend well with the already great preaching foundation established at Covenant. I look forward to the privilege of helping to shape future preachers and the honor of working with the many distinguished local pastors who serve as Adjunct Professors in Homiletics—all while continuing to learn and grow as a preacher myself.”