Conversations @ Campbell

The mission statement of Campbell University Divinity School has been a celebrated piece of its identity since its founding: Christ Centered, Bible Based, Ministry Focused. These six words are the heartbeat of the faculty, staff, and students, grounding hundreds of alumni in the Divinity School’s unique sense of mission.

This semester, as the Divinity School celebrates its 25th anniversary, the mission statement will become the focus of Conversations @ Campbell. The event series is a digital media project of the Divinity Schools’ $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The goal for its grant is to produce “boundary-spanning leaders” — pastors and congregational lay ministers who can bridge the chasms that so often divide families, congregations, and communities.

Each session this semester will include a worship service featuring a sermon that will explore one facet of the mission statement. A recorded Q&A session will follow. Alumni, friends of the Divinity School, and those interested in exploring theological education are encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided free of charge for registered attendees.


Cammack Preaching Series: Dr. Robert Smith, Jr.

Sermon Text: Joshua 22:10-24

Robert Smith Jr. serves as professor of Christian preaching and holds the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School. Previously he served as the Carl E. Bates Associate Professor of Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Smith is the 2017 E. K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference Living Legend. A popular teacher and preacher, he received Southern’s 1996 Findley B. Edge Award for Teaching Excellence. An ordained Baptist minister, he served as pastor of the New Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati, OH for twenty years. He earned his Ph.D. while serving as a pastor.

He is a contributing editor for a study of Christian ministry in the African American church, Preparing for Christian Ministry, and is co-editor of A Mighty Long Journey. Additionally, he has served as an editor of Our Sufficiency Is of God: Essays on Preaching in Honor of Gardner C. Taylor (Mercer University Press, Macon Georgia: 2010) and Worship, Tradition, and Engagement: Essays in Honor of Timothy George (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2018). He has written the book, Doctrine That Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life (B&H Publishing Group, Nashville: 2008), which was selected as the winner of the 2008 Preaching Book of the Year Award by Preaching Magazine and the 2009 Preaching Book of the Year Award by Christianity Today’s In 2010, Preaching Magazine named Doctrine That Dances one of the 25 most influential books in preaching for the last 25 years. He also has written, The Oasis of God: From Mourning to Morning—Biblical Insights from Psalms 42 and 43, and has a forthcoming book called, Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary: Exalting Jesus in Joshua (B&H Publishing Group, Nashville).

Smith has spoken at more than 135 universities, colleges, and seminaries in the United States, Great Britain, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. He has taught congregations in several countries including Greece, Turkey, Rome, the Holy Land and Switzerland. Smith brought the closing message of the 22nd Baptist World Congress/Baptist World Alliance, which was scheduled to be held in 2020 in Rio de Janeiro and transformed into a fully virtual event held on July 7-10, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His research interests include the place of passion in preaching, the literary history of African American preaching, Christological preaching and theologies of preaching. Smith has contributed essays and articles to various books, magazines and commentaries. At Beeson, Smith teaches Christian preaching and other electives in homiletics. He received Beeson Divinity School’s “Teacher of the Year Award” in 2005. He and his wife, Wanda Taylor-Smith, Ph.D., are the parents of four adult children (one in heaven).


Catching Jesus With Another Woman: Dr. Alicia Myers

Sermon Text: John 7:53–8:11

Looking at John 7:53–8:11, Dr. Myers will explore how in this passage Jesus is caught alone with another woman—again! This is the second such encounter in the Gospel of John after Jesus’ long conversation with the woman from Samaria in chapter 4. In the scene in chapters 7 and 8, though, the woman says little; instead, she is centered by a group of men as a tool to entrap Jesus in a misguided quest for “justice.”

While many of us in churches are familiar with this passage as a classic depiction of Jesus’s compassion for the marginalized, it’s a passage with a complicated history. When we look at the copies of the Gospel we have throughout history, it is clear that the story was added to John at a later date, as late as the fourth century! At the same time, the story was known by Christians much earlier. Even if they didn’t reference it as part of John’s story of Jesus, these believers knew it was part of the good news.

So, what do we do with this passage? It contains crucial truths about Jesus’s mission: his compassion for outsiders, especially for women, and his deft handling of opposition. But it’s also not an “original” part of John. How can we continue to teach from it and claim to be “Bible-based”? In this conversation, we will explore together what it means to confess the Bible as Scripture by discovering more about how our ancient sisters and brothers in the faith looked at the telling and preserving of Jesus’s stories. It turns out, the Bible is much more alive than we think!

Continue the Conversation

Continue your exploration of the text and its applications with these resources curated by Dr. Myers.

The Bible for Normal People: Jennifer Knust – The Bible As A Living Document

Listen to the Podcast

Click the link in each title to learn more.

Download the List

How does each piece capture the story in the text? Click the links to reflect on each piece.

Download the List


The Case for Being Christ Centered: Dr. Cameron Jorgenson

Sermon Texts: Colossians 1:15-20, Revelation 21:1-6

Dr. Cameron Jorgenson, Associate Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics and the Program Director for the MA in Faith & Leadership Formation, will teach on the theme, “The Case for being Christ-Centered,” including what being “Christ centered” has meant at Campbell Divinity School over the past 25 years, and why it remains a vital way to approach Christian faith and the practice of ministry.


Calling and Vocation: Dean Andy Wakefield

Sermon Texts: Exodus Exodus 3:1-12, Matthew 16:21-25

We all want our “burning bush” moment. It’s an urgent question we all face: how to discern the will of God for our lives. Watch Dr. Andy Wakefield’s sermon, then join Dr. Cameron Jorgenson for a one-on-one with Dr. Wakefield to explore further.

Continue the Conversation

Continue your exploration of vocation and calling with these resources curated and created by our faculty and staff.

Our professors share their journeys to teaching, and how their callings shaped who they are today.

Dr. Caleb Oladipo


Dr. Lydia Hoyle

Rev. Colin Kroll in Campbell University’s Office of Spiritual Life explored calling and vocation for youth in a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship webinar.

View and Share the Webinar

This discussion guide is designed for Bible study, Sunday School, and other small groups seeking to learn more about vocation calling. It contains an opening prayer, a link to the Conversation video, discussion question, and a closing prayer.

Download the Discussion Guide

Need a reminder that God is with you every step of the way? Snag this phone wallpaper for yourself, and share it with friends.



Waiting for Justice: Dr. Tony Cartledge

Sermon Texts: Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4

How does a life of faith inform how we endure hardship and wait for justice? Watch Dr. Tony Cartledge’s sermon, then join Dr. Sarah Boberg for a one-on-one with Dr. Cartledge to explore further.

Continue the Conversation

Continue your exploration of vocation and calling with these resources curated and created by our faculty and staff.

In Dr. Cartledge’s sermon, Habakkuk visited Buies Creek, but his story began in Babylon. Read this fact sheet from Dr. Barry Jones for more background on the prophet.

Download the Fact Sheet

What does Habakkuk’s message say to us today? Check out this commentary from Working Preacher:

View the Commentary

Campbell University Divinity School alum Rev. Dr. Leslie Sessoms is a co-founder of Ministers for Justice, a group of ethnically diverse Robeson County ministers promoting unity and doing justice in their community. Click below to learn more about their vision: “To create a peaceful community where broken relationships are reconciled and equity is achieved. “

Learn More


Resizing Christmas: Dr. Lydia Hoyle

Sermon Text: John 1:14

Dr. Lydia Hoyle will explore history and Scripture to discuss how Christmas might be resized to celebrate the truth of the incarnation in a way that doesn’t get drowned out by the ever-expanding cultural holiday. Watch Dr. Hoyle’s sermon, then join Dr. Caleb Oladipo for a one-on-one with Dr. Cartledge to explore further.

Continue the Conversation

Continue your exploration of resizing Christmas with these resources curated and created by our faculty and staff.

Celebrate the awe and wonder of Jesus’ birth with these family advent activities.

Download the Family Advent Activities PDF

Join this online Advent daily devotional, “Follow the Star.”

View the Advent Guide