February 12, 2013 | 12:39 a.m.
By Scott Wible, Communications and Marketing Specialist
Trustee Joel Johnson (right) gives the charge of the seminary to new Vice President and Dean David Clark (left).
The installation of David K. Clark, Ph.D., as vice president and dean of Bethel Seminary drew a capacity crowd to the seminary chapel on Bethel University’s St. Paul campus on February 7. More than 200 family members, friends, students, and colleagues filled the auditorium, joined by many watching online from Bethel Seminary San Diego, Bethel Seminary of the East, and points in between, to witness Clark’s official transition from executive vice president and provost of Bethel University to his new seminary post.
Clark delivered his address “With the Church. To the World. For the Lord.” during which he outlined his vision for impact, strategy, and community at Bethel Seminary. “We are called to go to the world as catalysts of spiritual formation,” he explained, pointing to “partnership” as the seminary’s primary strategy. “We exist to serve God by preparing leaders for the church,” he noted. “Our strategy is developing leaders with and for our partners.” And while community at Bethel Seminary is about healthy relationships, job clarity, accountability, and mutual support, he observed, it is first and foremost about the students. “We want the student experience to be a ‘wow’ at every point,” he declared.
“What we do,” Clark summarized, “is prepare biblically grounded, gospel-centered, whole and holy, transformational leaders who will join with God through the church to serve for a lifetime in the mission of God – going into all the world to preach the good news.”
Clark earned a bachelor’s degree in religion with a minor in philosophy from Houghton College, Houghton, N.Y.; a master of arts in philosophy of religion at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill.; and a doctorate in religious and theological studies from Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Ill. Joining the faculty of Bethel Seminary in 1988, he served as dean of the Center for Biblical and Theological Foundations from 1995 to 2003. In 2004 he began a four-year appointment as senior pastor of Faith Covenant Church in Burnsville, Minn., during which he continued as lead faculty for the seminary’s Master of Arts in Christian Thought program. In 2008 he returned to Bethel Seminary full time as professor of theology, and in 2009 was named executive vice president and provost of Bethel University.
A widely recognized theologian and author, Clark also is well known in evangelical churches and on college campuses for his clear presentation and winsome defense of the gospel. He and his wife Sandy, director of corporate and foundation relations for Bethel University, have two sons, both of whom are graduates of Bethel. Besides spending time with family, Clark counts among his greatest joys exploring eternal questions with students and others who are curious about intellectual inquiry and serious about faith in Jesus Christ.