Chapel Evaluation, Changes, and Fall Chapel Schedule

This summer I’ve worked through a detailed examination of chapel to see what changes we might need to consider that would get the best out of our campus-wide worship service.

I tested a variety of ideas with those who work on chapel closest with me.  Jo Beth Petty Murphree has done a great deal of research into student attendance and chapel registration process.  And I’ve been able to examine the pattern of what we’ve offered the past several years to better understand how our chapel program has grown and developed.

Last year a doctoral dissertation study by Allen Thompson evaluated Belhaven’s chapel and the chapel programs at three other Christian Colleges.  His findings were very helpful in this summer’s evaluation.  His primary findings were that students are most responsive to chapel when they:

  • hear the same speaker multiple times rather than too many different voices during a semester,
  • feel the speaker is accountable to the campus (not speak and run),
  • trust the speaker.

He found those characteristics were even more important than “how good” the speaker was.

Out of this summer’s comprehensive analysis of chapel, I am making a number of changes to chapel for the coming year that are based on a clarification of chapel’s purpose and structural changes to make chapel more consistent.

  1. Above all, I want students to experience worship and hear God’s word during Chapel.  Chapel should not force students into a requirement that feels overwhelming; I’d rather students not be as pressed about the demands of the requirement and be more receptive when they do attend.
  1. With the recent change of our academic calendar to equalize the number of weeks in the fall and spring terms, we now have 13 weeks for chapel services on Tuesday mornings – the same number of weeks during both semesters.  From this summer’s research I am convinced it is important we have the same number of chapels offered during each semester so the requirement feels more equitable, and so students can more clearly anticipate the structure.  We have sometimes had as few as 12 services, or as many as 16 opportunities available during a semester, and often, not the same number of offerings during the fall and spring terms of the same academic year.
  1. We will keep the attendance requirement at 70% of the offerings.  Last year we had 14 credit opportunities each semester and students were required to earn 10 chapel credits (14 services during the fall, but the spring offered only 12 services plus 2 credits for our MLK service day project.)   As outlined above, going forward we will have 13 chapel services each semester and students will be required to attend 9 chapels.
  1. We have tended to sometimes offer “additional” chapels on Thursdays when we have had a special emphasis.  But because we’ve grown so large and complex with many other important activities scheduled 11 am to noon on Thursday, we will no longer schedule chapels for credit on Thursdays.  Thursday chapel services might be offered during special times of emphasis, but they would not be for chapel credit.
  1. Our Martin Luther King Day Service Project is an important part of our campus experience, but does not fit with chapel credit since we have many other service projects during the year for which we don’t give chapel credit.  Also with us not offering Thursday chapels in the fall, it confuses the requirement by making the number of chapel offerings unbalanced during the spring semester if we continued to give two credits for MLK Service Day.  So starting this year, we will not be linking that Service Day to chapel credit, and trust that students will want to serve voluntarily.
  1. We will implement a new attendance software package that will now allow students to track online how many chapel services they have attended, so they can better plan their semester’s schedule.  In the past, they were unaware where they stood with chapel credit unless they called the student life office, and we had scores of students coming up short for their chapel requirement.
  1. Many students have not realized they were enrolled in chapel because our registration process does not automatically include chapel in the enrollment cart of full time students.  We’ll be working with the faculty to help students specifically enroll for chapel so we don’t have so many students unaware (or pretending to be unaware) they needed to attend chapel.
  1. We believe a significant group of students who are falling behind in chapel attendance because the time between the end of chapel and the next class period does not allow students to eat lunch.  Missing lunch before an afternoon of practice, rehearsal, or lab is not healthy.  We are making several adjustments to help ease this problem:
  1. Chapel will be 5 minutes shorter – 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  1. The next class period will begin 5 minutes later – 12:20 p.m. instead of 12:15 p.m.
  1. Food service will be adding an additional serving line on chapel days.

These changes should allow students 5 minutes to scan out of the building, 10 minutes to walk to the dining commons, 15 minutes for lunch, and 5 minutes to get to class.  Even with that additional time, it is good they are young.

Below is the chapel schedule for the fall.  I will be speaking more than I have in the past and have invited several other speakers who are already familiar to our students.

I trust you’ll join me in praying the Lord will bless these chapel services, and these changes will help enhance this worship experience for our students.


Belhaven University Chapel Schedule—Fall Semester 2013



27        Dr. Roger Parrott, President of the University



3          Opening Academic Convocation – Dr. Al Chestnut, Professor of Biology

10        Dr. Roger Parrott

17        Dr. Roger Parrott

24        Dr. Roger Parrott



1          Dr. Jerry Young, Pastor, New Hope Baptist Church

8          Dr. Jerry Young

15        Fall Break

22        Dr. Roger Parrott

29        Mr. Chris Heuertz, Founding Partner, Gravity



5          Dr. Lou Campbell, Founding Chair, BU Theatre

12        Rev. Morris “Mat” Taylor, Senior Pastor, Fondren Presbyterian Church

19        Ms. Martie Kwasny, Director of Joni and Friends, Jackson

26        Annual Faculty Christmas Card –  Miss Bettye Quinn and the faculty

Bettye Quinn Remembers Newt Wilson

Miss Betty Quinn sent me a touching memory she had of Newt Wilson,

Proabably, Newt and Betty worked together longer than any other faculty or staff member did with Newt.

I told Bettye, today:

“If you’re able, you should go to the funeral, I know it would mean so much to Becky. Newt loved you so much. I remember when he first told me about Belhaven, you were the only faculty member he told me about. I thought they were all just like you!”

He’s been a great friend, and I’m so glad you can go to the service.  We will miss you at commencement but you’re needed there.

I asked Bettye if I could share some of her notes with you, and most of it is included below.

I’ll remind you again that the service for Newt will be at Hattiesburg First Presbyterian Church on Saturday at 11:30 am. Becky will be having a family only internment tomorrow.

Becky needs our prayers.

Here is Betty’s note:

Dr. Parrott,

I have not missed a graduation in 47 years….as you know. This is a dilemma for me, But I feel that I should go to Newt’s funeral. He and Becky have been my friends for so many years.

When the soccer team won the NAIA championship last fall, I sent him one of the shirts. He wrote me the most wonderful letter back. I made cheese straws for him every year and sent them or he came for them. We knew him on so many levels…fellow alum, co worker when he taught Bible, Dean of Students, Vice-president, President and then as Board Member. He was always the same sweet caring person.

I helped Becky cook and entertain many, many times. She was the ultimate hostess. His birthday was September 22 — the same as the Hobbit… so many times we had a Hobbit party… everyone brought a gift but not for him… the gifts were exchanged… that was the Hobbit way. He loved that everyone got a funny gift instead of him.

Newt really loved Belhaven and all its activities.  As a student he sang in the choir. He loved that Belhaven was into all sports. And of course, the Bible and Christian Education Department was his forte. He really had a wonderful life accomplishing all he wished.
I would have called but I can’t talk without crying.

Love and prayers,
Bettye Quinn

My ShareFaith Leadership Interview

I was recently interviewed by ShareFaith as part of their series on leadership.  They asked me to briefly address 5 questions:

Here is the interview:


Dr. Roger Parrott is an author, and president of Belhaven University. Dr. Parrott’s history of service in missions (Lausanne) and education has equipped him to provide solid advice for both experienced and aspiring Christian leaders. We asked Dr. Parrott some questions about leadership, and have provided his valuable answers.

1. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
Stability. We are leading in a remarkably uncertain time, and what those we serve need a leader who is not pushed back and forth by the changing circumstances. When a leader is chasing after a variety of options without assurance of what might be effective, hoping the next one will bring a solution, the people around us become fearful and constrictive in their work. They don’t need a leader who has all the answers, but they do need one who has a firm hand on the rudder to set a clear course during this storm.

2. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Humility. Answers are not hard to find if you listen. Charisma is not hard to whip up with a bit of practice. Courage comes with the territory of leadership. But most leaders fail because they don’t have the humility to understand their role is to serve others, not to be their boss. When a leader is humble, they hire around them the best people, they trust the judgement of others which in-turns empowers others, and they are accepting of ideas from any source. If a leader has the humility to understand the privilege of serving, rather than wanting to be privileged for being the leader, then the entire ministry creates the energy that pushes the mission forward.

3. How do you deal with anxiety and stress?
I have learned to look back – and in doing so I lower my anxiety and stress when I look forward. The future is ominous—but then, the future is always ominous! When we look ahead at our challenges personally, organizationally, or globally, we say “yikes” because the unknown is overwhelming. But when we look behind, we see the route we’ve already traveled is much like the one ahead. And when we recount how we have overcome the unknown and unexpected challenges of the past, we can say “wow” because of how God has protected us.

The reminder of the interview with my responses to the other 2 questions can be found HERE.

Appointment of New Leader for the Lausanne Movement

I have served for many years on the board of Lausanne, and also as an officer of the movement, serving as Treasurer.

Doug Birdsall, who has led Lausanne, will begin a new ministry role as president of the American Bible Society.  Doug is a long time personal friend, and is a friend of Belhaven having been our commencement speaker and receiving an honorary doctorate from us.  He has done an outstanding  job leading the movement.

I was privilaged to serve as chair of the search committee to find Doug’s replacement and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome God has brought together for us all in the evangelical world.

Below is the announcement, including my quote about another great friend of Belhaven Dr. Michal Oh, who will be our new Lausanne Executive Director / CEO.

Selection of Younger Leader Hands The Leadership Baton To The Next Generation

LONDON, 5 February 2013 – The Lausanne Movement announced today it has appointed Dr. Michael Oh, a 41-year-old Korean-American, serving in Japan, as its new Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 March.

“Michael is a cross-cultural bridge-builder, from East to West and across generations; he knows the overall Movement well and understands the complexity of this leadership calling,” said Ram Gidoomal, Chair of The Lausanne Movement Board of Directors, regarding the unanimous selection confirmed last week by the Board. “He will be able to build on the firm foundation that Doug Birdsall and the global leadership of Lausanne have established, to the glory of God.”

Oh is president and founder of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan, a vibrant and growing seminary in Japan, which is making an impact among young Christians seeking a renewed vision for the next generation of Christianity in Japan. He has been involved in Lausanne since 2004, serving as keynote speaker and part of the planning team for Lausanne’s Younger Leaders Gathering in 2006, and as a member of the Lausanne Board since 2007. He will be formally installed at The Lausanne Global Leadership Forum in South Asia in June.

Oh succeeds outgoing CEO Rev. S. Douglas (Doug) Birdsall, who becomes the president of American Bible Society on 1 March.

“Michael is an exceptionally gifted younger leader who will serve the Movement with vision and passion in the years to come,” Birdsall said. “As a reflective practitioner, he embodies the essence of the ‘spirit’ of Lausanne – humility, friendship, study, prayer, partnership, and hope.”

Birdsall further indicated that he believes Oh understands the value of Lausanne’s rich history, and as a younger leader has demonstrated the ability to inspire and enlist a new generation of men and women around the globe who share Lausanne’s commitment to “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world”.

“Lausanne is in good hands, and the future is filled with promise,” Birdsall added. After passing the baton of leadership to Oh, Birdsall will continue to serve in leadership with Lausanne as an Honorary Chair.

“I am humbled by this appointment as I follow in the footsteps of the legacy that God started in the Movement through godly leaders like Billy Graham, Leighton Ford, Gottfried Osei-Mensah, Paul Cedar, and my predecessor, and friend, Doug Birdsall,” Oh said. “My own development as a leader, along with countless other younger leaders within Lausanne, has been significantly impacted by the mentorship of Doug, the Lausanne Board, and other Lausanne leaders. Lausanne is getting younger, stronger, and more representative of the rich diversity and depth of the global church. Mobilizing and connecting global younger leaders for world evangelization will be a great joy and priority as I take the leadership of Lausanne.”

Oh’s appointment was welcomed by leaders in Japan who expressed pleasure that Oh will live in Japan while serving Lausanne. “We are committed to expanding the network of support and prayer among churches in Japan for Michael. As a board member of the Japan Evangelical Association, I know that General Secretary Kenichi Shinagawa has shared a longtime friendship with Michael. I am strongly encouraged that, upon hearing the news of his friend’s new appointment, Rev. Shinagawa has indicated his willingness to lead the Japanese Church in our serving together for the advancement of the kingdom of God,” stated Rev. Dr. Satoru Kanemoto, Chair of the Japan Lausanne Committee.

The Search Committee that recommended Oh was chaired by Dr. Roger Parrott, president of Belhaven University, who said the Committee was very impressed by the overall quality of candidates it considered, indicating how much Lausanne has grown in global breadth and depth. “I found in Michael a penetrating vision for world evangelization, a richness in his understanding of the complexities of our world both globally and locally, and a godly humility in service and passion for Christ that is contagious,” stated Parrott. Rev. Esme Bowers, Chair of African Enterprise of South Africa, and a member of the Search Committee, said, “Michael’s appointment is part of Lausanne’s ongoing commitment to identify and equip new and younger leaders in mission and evangelization around the world.”

Dr. Lindsay Brown, Lausanne International Director, is encouraged about the future because of Oh’s selection. “I look forward to working in partnership with Michael with the goal that ‘all the earth may hear His Voice,'” Brown said. Brown has committed to continue serving as International Director until 2015 to assist in the leadership transition.

Educational and Family Information
Oh has a Doctor of Philosophy with a specialization in Cultural Anthropology and Education (University of Pennsylvania), a Master’s Degree of Arts with a concentration in East Asian Studies (Harvard University), a Master’s Degree of Divinity with an emphasis on Missions (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and a Master’s Degree of Science (University of Pennsylvania).

Michael and his wife, Pearl, have been married 18 years and have five children.

Movement Background
Lausanne is a global Movement that mobilizes evangelical leaders to collaborate for world evangelization. It grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization convened in Lausanne, Switzerland by Rev. Billy Graham and Bishop Jack Dain. The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (October 2010) in Cape Town, South Africa brought together 4200 Christian leaders, representing 198 countries. The resulting Cape Town Commitment ( serves as the blueprint for the Movement’s activities. Lausanne is convening four to five Consultations each year around the issues articulated in The Cape Town Commitment. More information is available at

# # #

For further information, please contact Naomi Frizzell,, +1.904.262.5202.

Over 500 Serve on MLK Day

Thanks to JoBeth Petty and the Student Life team for leading such a successful service day project for the campus.  Thanks especially to the hundreds of students, faculty, and staff who joined in our annual service day event on MLK Day.

The places where our students served today included:

Mission First

John Perkins Foundation

Mustard Seed

Wingard House

Center for Pregnancy Choices

New Horizons Church

American Red Cross

Jackson Inner City Gardeners

We Will Go


What DID Jesus Do?

During our first chapel of the spring semester I challenged us all read the Gospels asking the question, “what DID Jesus do?”

So often in our Christian life we have become lazy by projecting what we think Jesus would do in a situation, rather than studying exactly what he did and then following his example.

I walked through parts of Mark chapters 1 and 2 to show how this concept works as we study the scripture asking this question.

I’ve had several people ask me for the five points of that message and the scriptures from Mark. They are below contrasting our ASSUMPTION of what Jesus might do, with what Jesus ACTUALLY DID.
What He did:  Worked with imperfect people to do His perfect will

Mark 1:4-6

Mark 1:16-17

What He did:  Made time alone for prayer a higher priority than public work

Mark 1:35-37

Mark 1:9-13

What he did:  Balanced His emotions with His knowledge

Mark 1:40-41

What He did:  Spent most of His time with the powerless and disenfranchised

Mark 2:1-13

What He did:  Ignored legalism and followed wisdom

Mark 2:23-28

Christmas in Connecticut


Christmas in Connecticut: A Pastoral Prayer on the Sunday After the Tragedy
Michael A. Milton, Ph.D., Chancellor/CEO,
Reformed Theological Seminary

Oh Lord God, whose Spirit moved across the face of the deep, over the chaotic void of the preexistent earth that we see today; O Christ Jesus, whose Word of divine authority flung the stars into their place, sent the planets into their orbit, and made the sun to be so perfectly aligned to this world that there are seasons — springtime and harvest, summer’s stilling sun and winter’s protective cover —that produce good, even out of our fallen condition; You are the God who brings order out of disorder. Oh God, this was true on the Lord’s Day on the Isle of Patmos, so many years ago, when St. John, your exiled servant, far from the comforts of his community, and perhaps, even taken from his Christ-mandated responsibility to Mary, the Mother of His Lord —surely, removed from the place of his vocation, and surrounded with void and emptiness and isolation and persecution which taunted his calling and assaulted his faith, so that he must have felt nothing like a saint much less a preacher — worshiped You because it was the Lord’s Day. We are perplexed as he and yet we too come to worship.

Father, you were not absent from the chaotic scene in Connecticut nor are you removed from the void that is in the hearts of dear parents, brothers, sisters, children, husbands, wives, grandparents, teachers, and the community of grief — that Patmos in Connecticut. In the mystery of Providence and of our living in the land of good and evil we do not presume to come before your throne on this Lord’s day to affirm the enigmatic and unsearchable ways of Your nature and Your rule, for you are a good God who does not willingly afflict the children of men and yet you are so great, or else You could not be God, that there is not a single sparrow that falls without Your sovereign awareness and even, enigmatically, Your unfathomable will. We come to You not to seek to attain unto ways that are higher than ours, but to grab hold of the cloak of Jesus who came from heaven to earth, to bring the sovereign God good to our lives and who demonstrated the unfathomable ways of the Almighty when mankind is saved by the death of God, through the hands of His own creation. We rest, then, at the Cross.

Oh Lord, this is a fallen world, and we are a fallen people living among those who are making their livings playing off of our sins. Our lives are filled with gaping holes through which every unimaginable evil is now worming its way to burrow in our minds and breed evil in our souls.

O Father, we come with soul-wrenching questions that defy human answers. And our questions compose our prayer. If you were not hesitant to receive the longing of David when he cried out “How long oh Lord?” or the piercing cry of your sinless son from the timeless cross, “My God, My God, why have You for shaken Me?” then we can rest in this Bible truth; that our laments and our wailing cannot distance us from You, but only draw us closer to You. For you too wept. You too wailed over the loss of life. You are God, oh Christ, and you are one of us. What love. What pity. What understanding You have for those who hurt, much more than we can ever express or experience. Our consolation for them, and for ourselves, is therefore in You, Oh Jesus Christ.

And so on this Lord’s Day we do not feel as though we are “in the Spirit” of Christmas. It is Christmas in Connecticut and the picturesque village is decorated, like so many of our homes, with festivities to announce Your birth. Yet the screams of children and the cries of empty arms mock the carols and the blur the colors of the street lamps covered with evergreen. No, Lord, it does not feel like “Christmas in Connecticut.”” It feels like Patmos in Connecticut. It is Patmos in the souls of many of us. We are hurting. We are longing for You. Where are we to turn but to You?

Come and move across the void and chaos of our souls. Come and speak to the grieving of those who have borne the mark of evil as the One who grieved over sin and death and whose sympathies reach into the core of our humanity in a way that no human words, not even the kindest human touch, can do for healing. Healing, healing, healing, deep healing in our void, chaotic pain will only come from You.

And so as John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and he saw things that were, that are, and that shall be, send Your Holy Spirit to us — first to the parents and the loved ones of those taken from us by this atrocity, this unalloyed display of pure evil, and into the numbed souls of the countless grieving in that community — then to each of us, and to all of us. For it is Christmas in Connecticut, and that may never sound the same again to us, Oh Lord. For Yuletide greetings and winter holidays are forever replaced with the stark reality of evil and pain and the need for a goodness that is out of this world. How very much like Bethlehem in the days when you were born, Oh Christ, when the slaughter of the Innocents—did we forget?—seemed to mar our Currier and Ives concept of Christmas. Now we know—again. We know why You came. We know why we cry out, “Come again Lord Jesus.” And we know why we long to be able to remember today, in our Patmos-like lives, “We were in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. And Jesus appeared to us.”

With every deep, longing prayer of our hearts, as lowly creatures to an all holy Creator, come and save us. Come and mend us. Come and make us safe. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s Adult and Graduate Commencement

Today we held our fall term commencement for adult and graduate students.  Thalia Mara Hall was filled.

This is the 129th year Belhaven students have come together for commencement.

Our speaker this morning was Dr. Dolphus Weary, and he lifted the crowd with a wonderfully inspirational message.













Here is my introduction of Dolphus from this morning:

Christian leadership demands the ability to envision a God called future that most cannot see.

Such leadership requires steadfast determination, unshakable courage, gracious service, most importantly, the relentless call to gather a momentum of people who share the goal – so that eventually the leader’s voice does not stand out, but blends with the harmony of God’s people working together.

Dr. Dolphus Weary is that type of leader.

In my years of working with, cheering for, and admiring Dolphus, I have seen a leader who not only believes that genuine biblical reconciliation is possible, but created a wave of momentum of people who also have caught that vision and are multiplying it all across our state and around the nation.

His burden is never light taking on the tough challenge of creating a Godly understanding of racial reconciliation.  But, like Belhaven University, he is committed to the task because God calls us to it, not because it is easy.

Building racial harmony on our campus, across our state, in a church, or in a community is a continuous, conscious, every-day, every-activity, every-person, every-decision process that comes from our commitment to biblical unity.  And every day Dr. Dolphus Weary is teaching, preaching, and living out how to do just that.

He is a man with a marvelous educational background that capstoned with a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary.

After completing a remarkable run as Director of Mission Mississippi he took on the task of building the REAL Christian Foundation which is committed to Rural Education and Leadership connecting economic and technical assistance with rural ministries.

And for 20 years Dolphus lead Mendenhall Ministries, founded by our friend, Dr. John Perkins.

Dolphus serves on some of the most significant national boards in the evangelical world, including World Vision, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and most importantly Belhaven University.

In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Belhaven University.

Join me in welcoming as our commencement speaker,

  • a leader who takes on the seemly impossible because he is convinced that God’s power transforms,
  • a nationally sought after speaker who inspires people to genuine reconciliation,
  • and a friend, who is a brother in Christ, Dr. Dolphus Weary.