As you may know, I am currently working on my doctorate at Mercer’s McAfee School of Theology. As a part of the program, doctoral students are required to spend a number of weeks throughout the year (particularly in the summer) immersed in intensive seminars. One of those three-week periods began this week, marking the midway point of my doctoral studies.
During these three weeks, while I will certainly be here to lead in worship all three weeks, I will not be able to prepare sermons due to the volume of class work required. That is why I am very excited to welcome a friend and colleague of mine to join us on these three Sundays.
Dr. Bill Shiell is President and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Chicago, Illinois. A native of Pensacola, Florida, he holds a PhD in New Testament from Baylor University and has served as a pastor for seventeen years. He came to Northern from First Baptist Church, Tallahassee, Florida, where he served as Senior Pastor. He is the author of several books and numerous articles, and is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. Bill and his wife Kelly were married in 1995, and they have two sons: Parker (2001) and Drake (2007). His hobbies include golf, reading, and writing.
Bill and I became close friends while serving churches in Tennessee. During my time at First Baptist Church of Etowah, Bill served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Knoxville. Each week, we would meet on Tuesday morning for coffee and conversation about our families, our churches, and what each of us was preaching the following week. While the intent of our meetings was surely for study and preparation in preaching, the real value of our time together was found in the mutual encouragement and care that we offered with one another. We would share joys, burdens, and strengthen one another in love. We forged a friendship in those days, which has continued to grow to this day.
I have asked Bill to join me in our current, “Parables” sermon series. For three weeks (beginning this Sunday, July 3rd), he will preach from the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31). Each week, we will enter the parable from a different perspective (the son, the brother, the father).
Bill is a brilliant scholar and an exceptional preacher. I guarantee you will be glad you made plans to attend all three of these special weeks.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Johns Creek Baptist Church