Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. It’s the time of the year to be inundated with “Best of” stories and “Year in Review” segments, dutifully cataloging everything that happened in pop culture or politics.
But, what if a “Year in Review” was about more than celebrities or sports teams? What if we did a year in review about what God had done in the prior year? Or, more to the point, about how God has been at work in our ministries this year?
Of course, God has been at work in countless ways around the globe this year, most of which I could never know about. But, I can speak to how he has blessed RTS Charlotte. So, here’s a quick recap of what I am thankful for in 2022:
1. 30th Anniversary. It’s hard to believe that back in 1992, Ric Cannada launched the new Charlotte campus in an small facility off of Monroe road. Soon thereafter we moved to our current Carmel road campus (now we own close to 20 acres after purchasing 7 new adjacent acres). On October 13th of this year, we celebrated this 30th anniversary milestone under a massive outdoor tent on the RTS Charlotte lawn. Over 300 people were in attendance, including donors, alums, friends, faculty/staff and the entire RTS board. It was an incredible evening of thanksgiving for what God has done.
2. Record enrollment. Not only was 2022 our 30th anniversary, but it was also the year that marked RTS Charlotte’s all-time record enrollment. Since our inception in 1992, we reached our highest numbers in both total credit hours and total head count. This growth has mainly been in our core degree, the M.Div., but we are also thankful to see growth in our Master of Arts in Christian Counseling (MACC) program, which has been a great addition to our slate of degree programs.
3. RTS Board. During our 30th anniversary event, the entire RTS board was in Charlotte for their semi-annual face-to-face meeting. It was a special time of fellowship, meals together, and (of course) working through the latest strategies and vision for the seminary. As always, I was reminded of what a special board we have at RTS. Each member serves for life, and many of them have been serving on the board for 30-40 years (and more!). They are an incredible group of men who are bright, godly, strategic thinkers.
4. Indonesia. During the first two weeks in September, I was able to travel with Melissa to Indonesia, to help with RTS’s Center for Reformed Theology that is located in Jakarta. RTS has been doing work in Indonesia for many years now, providing theological ballast, so to speak, to the ministries that operate there. And God is doing amazing things. As the largest Muslim country in the world, the gospel is spreading in incredible ways. During our time there, I taught at the Universitas Pelita Harapan, and traveled extensively across the country. The side picture is a summary of our trip in my final tweet on the way home. Just notice the number of flights!
5. Faculty Scholarship. I am always thankful to serve with a such a bright, productive faculty, leading the way in their respective fields. I can’t list all the publications, but here are a few examples: Will Ross published Postclassical Greek and Septuagint Lexicography, (SBL Press, 2022); and Postclassical Greek Preposition and Conceptual Metaphor: Cognitive Semantic Analysis and Biblical Exegesis, (DeGruyter, 2022, edited with Steven E. Runge). Don Fortson’s Reformed and Evangelical Across Four Centuries: The Presbyterian Story in America (Eerdmans, 2022) won the MacLeod Award at a recent conference at Wheaton College . Nate Brooks published, Identifying Heart Transformation: Exploring Different Kinds of Human Change (Shepherd Press, 2022). I published two books, 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage, co-authored with Melissa Kruger (Good Book Company, 2022); and Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church (Zondervan, 2022), which won the TGC Book of the Year Award for the ministry category.
6. Campus Life. One of the wonderful aspects of life on the RTS Charlotte campus is student community. Like never before, students gather regularly for picnics, meals, coffee, and special events. With the world cup soccer tournament on this fall, students gathered regularly in our bookstore, Wellinghall Books and Coffee, to watch the games and cheer on their times. With more international students than ever before, we had cheering blocks for a lot of different countries! We also had discussion nights in the bookstore which were really a delight (see photo to the right).
7. Strategic Conferences. It’s a joy to see the way different RTS Charlotte faculty speak at various conferences around the country and the world. This happens so often, I can’t keep track of them all (Jim Newheiser, for example, spoke in multiple foreign countries this year). But I should mention the Evangelical Theological Society annual conference which is the largest gathering of evangelical scholars in the world. It was in Denver this year, and the Charlotte campus was well-represented. Papers were given, or sessions were chaired, by Dick Belcher, Will Ross, Blair Smith, and myself. And that’s just the Charlotte campus. Across the RTS system, many more profs were involved in various ways. We also had a group of RTS Charlotte students attend the ETS conference this year, some of who may be considering doing future PhD work (see photo to the right with Dr. Belcher).
In sum, we have much to be thankful for here at RTS Charlotte. God gets the glory for his faithfulness to us: “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds!” (Psalm 36: 5).