The Mission Continues
May 1, 2020
From Dr. Miles Gresham, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Covenant Theological Seminary:
Dr. Mark Dalbey has been a faithful example of wise and godly leadership as President of Covenant Seminary the past eight years. His calm and humble demeanor paired with an unwavering trust in the Lord have been a source of steady strength for the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America. Now, at his request, we are beginning the search for his successor to look forward to a new chapter of God’s faithfulness for Covenant Seminary. The following is from Dr. Dalbey:
Over twenty years ago, my wife, Beth, and I followed the Lord’s call to St. Louis to serve at Covenant Theological Seminary. During this time, I have had the deep privilege of seeing the Lord equip and send out over 3,000 gospel leaders who are now serving the church across the country and around the world. I have come to realize that the seminary has the incredible privilege and opportunity to equip, send, and sustain impactful gospel leaders for God’s church and kingdom. We launch leaders who serve as pastors, church planters, counselors, missionaries, teachers, campus ministers, and a host of other callings. Over the years, I have loved this multiplying mission of the seminary as I have seen firsthand the expanding influence of graduates whose lives and ministries reach and equip so many with the saving and transforming power of the gospel. I am deeply grateful for this worldwide and generational ministry.
When I accepted the role of President of Covenant Seminary eight years ago, I told the board of trustees I would serve to the best of my ability until I was 70. I determined at that point it would be better for the seminary to look for someone younger to take over who could provide sustained leadership for the coming years. Now that I have turned 68, I have a hard time believing this time is almost here.
One year ago, I asked the board to begin a process to look for my successor. I love serving as President. I have loved stewarding this role and its engagement with so many students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors and churches. I do not necessarily wish for my time here to end, though I love the future of Covenant Seminary too much to see one person go on in its leadership indefinitely.
Over the past 8 years in this role I have seen the Lord’s faithfulness on display: in his care for the mission of Covenant Seminary to equip pastors and ministry leaders for God’s church and kingdom; in his care for our alumni who are faithfully proclaiming the gospel; and in his care for the Presbyterian Church in America as we all strive to bring the gospel to the world around us. I have seen firsthand how the Lord has guided the seminary through changes, new degrees, economic challenges, and unforeseen opportunities. Sometimes it is a wearying work, as cultural change outside the church and internal strife within the church tempt us towards fear. But our God is faithful.
Through it all, the Lord has led the seminary to a wonderful place of serving the church and denomination during this critical time. There is always a cost to meaningful work, and though it has been difficult at times I count it as joy as the Lord has called Covenant Seminary to be a leader in equipping future generations of church leadership.
I expect a smooth and joyful transition to the next president as the board begins its search. Please pray for them as the mission of this place is vital for the health of our churches. In the coming months, the board will be providing additional information regarding this process and the timing of the search.
While the work of a president is not easy, it is deeply rewarding. Pray they find the man whom God has specifically called to this role for this next season. Until they do I will continue to pour my life into carrying forward the mission of Covenant Seminary and seeking to prepare the way for my successor.
I have served on the faculty and staff of Covenant Seminary for over 20 years now. In this work, I have stood on the shoulders of other faithful men who have come before me to teach a new generation of gospel leaders the inerrant and unchanging word of God, in order to “glorify the triune God by training his servants to walk in God’s grace, minister God’s word, and equip God’s people all for God’s mission.” I look forward to the coming generations of those who will do the same, even long after I retire. As our seminary hymn says, Covenant Seminary has always been, and will continue to be, “All for Jesus”.
Dr. Mark Dalbey
Dr. Dalbey will remain close with Covenant Seminary, continuing to teach courses and advising the next president to ensure a smooth transition. As the largest supplier of pastors into the PCA and beyond, this transition is vital not only for the Seminary, but for the future leadership of the church.
Please join me in thanking God for the leadership of Dr. Dalbey, and in seeking the Lord’s continued provision for the ongoing mission of Covenant Seminary.
Dr. Miles Gresham