Chuck Kelley Reminds New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Graduates of God’s Power in His Final Commencement Address as President

Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Seminary, presides over his last commencement on May 18. Kelley, who has led the seminary for 23 years, will retire on July 31. Photo by Hunter Burcaw

Chuck Kelley, in his final commencement address as president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, challenged the graduates to remember that God is able to accomplish the task each is called to do.

Kelley retires July 31 concluding his 23-year tenure as NOBTS president.

Noting that God’s plans for each graduate in the future will hold surprises, Kelley said, “Never be afraid of it. Never be intimidated by it. Never think that you’re not up to it.

“It does not matter what you think of yourself,” Kelley said in standing before graduates in Leavell Chapel May 18. “What matters is that the Lord God is able to accomplish whatever He wants to accomplish through you.”

Kelley and his wife Rhonda were honored at the spring trustee-faculty dinner earlier this spring. Appreciation for the Kelleys’ service to NOBTS will be expressed during the June 11 alumni dinner at the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

Kelley, voicing a message of hope and encouragement, told graduates that God uses those who simply are willing. He reminded the audience that noted evangelist D.L. Moody at the start of his ministry heard British preacher Henry Barley say that “the world has yet to see what could happen if one man fully devoted to God would do what God wanted him to do.” Moody determined that day to “be that one man,” Kelley said.

Yet brokenness will come, Kelley acknowledged, noting that in his 44 years at NOBTS — first as a student, then as a faculty member and then president — he has watched God work through brokenness.

“I’ve learned the meaning of discouragement. I’ve learned the meaning of staying faithful in my 23 years as president,” Kelley said. “God will make you strong in the broken places. Do not be afraid. Do not ever be afraid. You are never alone.”

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Source: Baptist Press