A few months ago, Dr. Tim Green approached me about a growing desire to more singly devote himself to ministerial preparation through the Millard Reed School of Theology and Christian Ministry. He felt that this would entail stepping down from the chaplaincy of the university. I listened carefully and suggested that my friend, Tim, think further and more carefully about this move. He did, and I respect his discernment. Dr. Green will transition from the role of chaplain in the coming year after 25 years of service. To my knowledge, a quarter of a century in the role of university chaplain is the longest tenure in the Church of the Nazarene. Heaven only knows the contribution that he has made to the spiritual formation of thousands through the Trevecca chapel program. He is, in my opinion, one of the finest servants of God that I have known. Dr. Green will continue in his role as dean of the School of Religion and full-time professor.
He writes, “Reflecting over the past quarter of a century, I am deeply grateful that the Lord would graciously allow me to serve as the Chaplain to a university that has been and forever will be a community that I call family and a place that I call home. When I began my journey at Trevecca as an assistant professor in religion in the early '90s, I would never have imagined that I would soon step into the role of serving an entire generation through chaplaincy. What a privilege it has been in this role to engage with the most remarkable students the world and church has ever known! At the same time, throughout these decades, the preparation of clergy for service and leadership in the life of the church has always stood at the forefront of my commitments and passions. In recent years and months, I have sensed the Lord’s challenge upon my life with an even deeper burden for and commitment to preparing ministers in an ever-changing world through Trevecca. In faithful response to this burden and in seeking to give single focus and undivided commitment to this great task of clergy preparation at Trevecca, I have requested from our university president and my dear friend, Dr. Dan Boone, that another individual be invited to take on the role of university chaplain. I greatly anticipate the coming months of transition and celebration of the Lord’s continued formative and transformative work in and through the life of the Trevecca family and through women and men who respond to the call of God to faithfully serve him, the church, and the world.”
As president of the university, after prayerful consideration over the past months, I have selected Shawna Songer Gaines to be the next chaplain of Trevecca. Shawna is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, one of our outstanding preachers, a person possessed with a pastor’s heart, an author, and a keen observer of Christianity and culture. In 2015, Shawna and her husband Tim moved to Nashville with their two children, Callen (4) and Evalynne (3). Before that transition, Shawna was the co-lead pastor of the Bakersfield First Church of the Nazarene. She has served in various ministry roles, including youth ministry, lead pastoral ministry, and in Nazarene Mission International at the Church of the Nazarene's Global Ministry Center. Shawna holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from Point Loma Nazarene University, and a Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary. With her husband, Tim, Shawna has authored A Seat at the Table: A Generation Re-imagining Its Place in the Church, which concerns the millennial generation's engagement in church life, as well as Kings and Presidents: Politics and the Kingdom of God. Her teaching is also featured in the recent women's Bible study series Breathe: A Sacred Space for Women.
Shawna writes, "This last year Tim and I have received such a gracious welcome from the Trevecca community. As we have engaged with students, faculty and staff, we have encountered the deep vein of mission that runs throughout every class, club, sport, dorm, farm day and chapel. Here we have found a community that is seeking after the call of God for the sake of the world. My pastor's heart quickly found a home among a special people. Certainly, this community would not be what it is today were it not for 25 years of pastoral service on the part of Tim Green. These days, I find myself asking how I will ever step into the role he has executed so faithfully. Simultaneously, I find my heart gladly burdened for Trevecca students and this campus community. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and love them. I anticipate working alongside other local pastors in the Nashville area and across the region as together we love the people of God for the sake of the world."
In the coming school year, there will be a role transition that celebrates the service of Tim Green and welcomes the gifted ministry of Shawna Gaines. I am reminded of one of our favorite hymns: “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.” Join me in expressing appreciation and welcome.
President, Trevecca Nazarene University