Fuller Theological Seminary announced today that its board of trustees has elected Mark Labberton as the school’s next president (complete details here). Labberton, who currently serves as director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching at Fuller, will take over in June when current president Richard Mouw retires.
CT spoke with Labberton this morning about his new role and his vision for Fuller.
How do you feel being selected as Fuller’s only third president in more than 50 years?
Well, it’s thrilling and daunting both. It’s thrilling because it’s an exciting and wonderful institution with a rich, rich legacy. It’s daunting because my two predecessors have been men of such stature and because the challenges that the seminary faces in 2013 and beyond are substantial. It’s an exciting but challenging time, so I’m delighted and deeply honored.
Your experience is as a pastor and professor of preaching. What are the differences between being an effective preacher and an effective seminary president?
In both cases, I hope the thing they hold in common is a faithful proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think that the leadership roles are quite different. Obviously, one is teaching and encouraging students more directly, and the other is shaping the overall life of the seminary; but the purpose of that is for the overall shaping of the many, many denominations that Fuller serves.
It’s an extraordinary thing that Fuller has 100 denominations and 70 countries represented in its student body, so it’s certainly the case that, being the president, you’re trying to affect the church and serve the church in whatever ways Fuller can best do that in the U.S. and around the world.