When Dr. Frank Thomas announced this past summer that he was stepping aside as senior pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, he noted that he had "suppressed the call to teach for many years in order to serve as a pastor."
Now its clear where Thomas, who began leading Mississippi Blvd. in 1999, will heed that call. He has been appointed to the Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis, Ind.) faculty and as director of a new institute that will be part of the seminary's new Center for Pastoral Excellence. He will become a professor of homiletics.
According to Christian Theological Seminary President Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton, the institute will focus on preaching, worship, and sacred rhetoric.
"Preaching and worship are the events through which most Christians experience and explore their faith," Boulton said. "And in particular, African American traditions of Christian preaching and worship have made extraordinary, iconic contributions to American life.
"Dr. Thomas' background and expertise will help root the institute's work in that vibrant legacy, even as he helps us reach out to a wide range of other cultural traditions and constituencies."
Thomas' experience connecting church work with community development complements the seminary's emphasis on promoting social justice, said Boulton.
"We are preparing pastors who can go out and serve in ways that are attuned to the pressing issues of the day. Frank's leadership in connecting congregations to the broader community is inspiring and challenging as we launch this new effort."