Vestal speaks at Campbell Divinity Graduation Ceremony

May 11, 2012 | Leave a Comment

BUIES CREEK - Dr. Daniel Vestal, executive coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, delivered the commencement address at the Campbell University Divinity School hooding and graduation ceremony on Fridayin Turner Auditorium.

The ceremony marks the 15th graduation exercises of the Campbell University Divinity School.

In the commencement address, Vestal urged graduates to consider their pastoral roles in their chosen professions – answering Jesus’ call to serve as shepherds for the whole church.

“The Church does not belong to us as pastors. The Church belongs to Christ,” said Vestal. “We are to care for those who love and follow Christ. They are entrusted into our care.”

The Divinity School’s emphasis on personal ministry and pastoral care is what led Master of Divinity student Lydia Pratt Tatum to Campbell as an undergraduate. She went on to enroll in the Divinity School while serving in full-time ministry.

“This degree helped me to define my calling and understand my giftedness in certain areas of ministry,” said Tatum, who serves as a student ministry associate a church in Raleigh.

Greg Burriss, of Siler City, who received his Doctor of Ministry degree, said the program encouraged him to think outside the box in his role as pastor.

“I came to Campbell because I was impressed with the program and faculty and its emphasis on ministry,” said Burriss. “This degree pushed me to involve myself in ministry more and try new things.”

A new adventure also awaits Greg Barnes, who received his Master of Divinity degree. Barnes, a State Trooper, plans to pursue a career in full-time ministry. “This program really helped me to be more prepared in my efforts to be a youth minister.”

Daniel Vestal has served  as the executive coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since 1996 and was instrumental in beginning CBF in 1990-1991.  He has been a pastor of Baptist churches in Texas and Georgia for 27 years and has traveled extensively as a preacher and teacher.

Educated at Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he was founding chair of trustees for the George W. Truett Theological Seminary and was awarded the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award by the Baylor Alumni Association in 2008.  

Vestal and his wife, Earlene, live in Atlanta. They have three children and five grandchildren. 

A total of 33 degrees were conferred during the ceremony including 2 Master of Arts in Christian Education, 25 Master of Divinity and 6 Doctor of Ministry.