Spouse's name: Ginger Wilder
How long married: 12 years
Children's names and ages: Daly Amelia, 9; Ashton Leigh, 8; McKenzie Grace, 8.
Current church: Highview Baptist Church — East Campus
Current local church ministry: I am currently co-teaching an adult Bible fellowship that will form the basis of the new Indiana Campus of Highview Baptist Church.
Hobbies: Hunting, gardening, camping and traveling
Most influential person in your life: My parents have had a great impact in my life as they modeled before me a lifestyle worth living. They invested in me and have been a constant encouragement in my life. I developed my values and life goals in concert with their parenting. I would also have to say my wife, Ginger, has impacted who I have become as an adult. She is a constant reminder in my life of God's grace and faithfulness toward our family.
Something surprising students might not know about you: I had a twin named Tommy (he died when we were infants).
What books, besides the Bible, have most influenced you and why: Ian Thomas wrote a short book entitled "The Saving Life of Christ" which addresses what it means to have the Spirit of God indwelling you as a believer. It taught me about the need for utter dependence on God. Another book that has impacted me devotionally is Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest." I love his phrase "utter abandonment." Theologically, Millard Erickson's "Christian Theology" has helped me think through what I believe.
What influenced your decision to come to Southern Seminary: I came to Southern as a Ph.D. student because of God's leading in our lives. When Ginger and I made a campus visit, I met Brad Waggoner for the first time and he introduced himself as Brad. I instantly sensed his humility as a leader and was attracted to the School of Leadership and Church Ministry. As a professor, I have had the privilege of remaining at Southern after graduation and I am glad to be a part of a great team in the LEAD School where the purpose is larger than we are and the friendships are strong.
Ministry philosophy: Matthew 28:19-20 sets the priority of ministry as discipleship through evangelism, conversion and teaching. This is done through the church whose purpose is six fold: to pray, evangelize, disciple, worship, fellowship and do ministry. I believe the methods and agencies of the church should change as needed according to the culture in which it finds itself to reach the current generation without compromising the truth of the Gospel. I believe that every member of God's family is to be a minister; therefore the leadership of the church is to equip its members for active ministry.
What do you like most about teaching: I love the relationships that I am able to build with students. My desire is that they last long after the student graduates. I also enjoy engaging the students in discussions that cause them to critically reflect on their understandings, perceptions and approaches to ministry.
Life Bible verse: 2 Timothy 2:2.