BOLIVAR, Mo. — Dr. Matt Kimbrough will lead spiritual development programs at Southwest Baptist University through a new position of Assistant Provost for Spiritual Formation in addition to being an Assistant Professor of Theology.
“Starting in July 2018 with my first visit to campus, I talked about the importance of spiritual development, including the integration of faith and learning,” said SBU President Dr. Eric A. Turner. “Quite simply, this makes us distinctive – helping students develop in all facets, including their spiritual development, and this is true for all of our campuses. This new structure elevates this critical aspect of our mission.”
Kimbrough will oversee the academic Division of Theology and Ministry; University Ministries, including Chapel and the Community, Life + Worship program; and Church Relations.
“I will strive to unify the many opportunities to engage students – including Chapel, student life initiatives, and the classroom – under a single umbrella, giving focus and intentionality to spiritual formation at SBU,” Kimbrough said. “There is no dichotomy between academics and spiritual growth. Our students are whole people, created in the image of God. Likewise, spiritual formation happens across all facets of campus life: from the classroom to the dorm room, from the chapel to the cafeteria, from the football field to the administration building. There is no venue or activity God refuses to use as he conforms individual lives into the image of Christ.”
A comprehensive vision of spiritual formation at SBU reinforces the Biblical view of personhood and discipleship, according to Kimbrough.
“In Deuteronomy 6:5, Moses summarizes the most foundational command of Scripture to love God with heart, soul, and strength. God calls the Israelites to teach the love of God to their children ‘when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.’” he said. “In other words, spiritual formation both then and now is comprehensive.”
Kimbrough plans to start by listening so he can encourage and enhance the faithful work of faculty, staff and administrators.
“I am thrilled to hear stories of spiritual formation already taking place at SBU. But I also want to hear from students we may easily miss, such as non-traditional or graduate students, and to find creative ways to encourage spiritual growth across SBU’s many campuses.”
Kimbrough also will focus on partnering with churches to further God’s work in Missouri and throughout the world.
"The local church is the venue Scripture designates for discipleship,” he said. “Therefore, I am excited to partner with local churches and the Missouri Baptist Convention to minister to our spiritually diverse student body.”
Kimbrough served as a pastor of discipleship and worship for more than a decade and continues to serve as a young adult minister and lay pastor today.
“It is amazing how God sovereignly prepares you for a role you never expected,” he said. “I am excited to continue building SBU’s relationship with Missouri Baptists. I was saved and baptized in an MBC church, first truly sensed the presence of the Spirit at an MBC youth camp, led my first person to the Lord on an MBC-sponsored mission trip, pastored in an MBC church, and am now training the next generation of MBC ministers. I am truly humbled and blessed by this opportunity.”
Here is what Missouri Baptist pastors are saying about Kimbrough:
Mike Haynes, Director of the Greene County Baptist Association: "I’m very excited about Dr. Matt Kimbrough’s new assignment as the leader of the Redford Division. Greene County Baptists have watched Matt grow from a young, wet behind the ears, associate minister to a full-fledged Kingdom leader. He will do an outstanding job and the Redford Division and SBU will benefit greatly from his ministry and leadership."
Jared Proctor, Lead Pastor of Springhill Baptist Church, Springfield: “Our church has had the privilege to watch the Lord develop Matt Kimbrough into a genuine servant of Christ. His desire to see believers grow to maturity is abundantly clear. I have personally benefited from his teaching, preaching and wise counsel.”
Kenny Qualls, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Arnold: “I am so grateful for Dr. Kimbrough and the new position God has called him to at SBU. Matt’s heart is set, facing one direction. For the glory of God, he is committed to following the word and way of Jesus and to helping others know and follow Jesus. He is exemplary in his service in the church and in his love for his wife Emily and his children. I know great days are ahead for SBU through his humble leadership. Praise the Lord!”