GREENVILLE, S.C. (November 19, 2021) – BJU Seminary is expanding its corps of “pastor-professors” with the appointment of Dr. Billy Gotcher, renowned for revitalizing churches and Christian institutions, and the return of Dr. Sam Horn, senior pastor of Palmetto Baptist Church and former Bob Jones University executive vice president and BJU Seminary dean.
Their addition further builds on the “people” plank of BJU Seminary’s 5P Plan to achieve its 500 x 5 x 5 strategic vision of putting 500 pastors in the pulpit in the next five years—and every five years after that. Gotcher and Horn join more than 10 faculty members currently engaged in full-time pastoral ministry or key church leadership positions.
The Seminary also announced that Dr. Horn and Dr. Ken Casillas are leading a series of intensive Expositors’ Weekday Workshops for South Carolina pastors. Churches interested in hosting such an event can find information on format and contacts here.
Gotcher joins the Seminary from Trinity Baptist Church in Williston, Vermont, where as senior pastor for six years, he led the congregation through a major facility renovation and the COVID-19 pandemic. He also put the associated Christian school on a stable financial footing and into a growth posture and established a vision for missions, leading short-term trips to Utah and Africa.
Previously, as senior pastor of Berea Baptist Church in Palm Harbor, Florida, and Grace Baptist Church of Waterford, Michigan, Gotcher spearheaded the founding of a Christian school, the strengthening of financial controls and reporting, facilities improvements, the reorganization of adult and children’s education, the creation of governing documents and philosophy of ministry, and the development of successful community outreach and a culture of discipleship. He also supervised missions trips to Alaska, Utah, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Spain. Multiple members of his congregations have been led to full-time ministry.
Gotcher, who holds a DMin from BJU Seminary as well as MDiv and Theology degrees from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, has led 10 training seminars in China for national pastors. As president of the New England Association of Christian Schools (NEACS), he spearheaded a model response to the pandemic, including hosting a virtual fine arts event for students throughout New England and delivering a virtual teachers conference for both NEACS and the New York Association of Christian Schools in 2020.
Dr. Alan Benson, BJU executive vice president for student development and ministry advancement, stated, “Billy Gotcher’s entire career models everything we are trying to accomplish with our 500 x 5 x 5 strategic vision: boldly proclaiming God’s truth in a broken culture; revitalizing and strengthening churches and associated Christian institutions spiritually, organizationally and financially; instilling a vision for advancing the Gospel worldwide; and most importantly, mentoring and developing the next generation of leaders in the midst of a massive national pastor shortage.”
Continued Benson, “BJU Seminary will benefit from his frontline, hands-on expertise in renewing ministries and his management acumen as we drive forward our 5P Plan to strengthen our own operations.”
Horn to Leverage Scholarship and Leadership Experience to Help Support Pastors
Horn will teach a limited schedule of classes. In his previous roles at BJU, he led efforts to revamp and elevate BJU Seminary’s curriculum to greater relevance and articulate the commitment to “Proclaim the Word, Serve the Church and Advance the Gospel” that undergirds the strategic vision.
Dr. Neal Cushman, dean of BJU Seminary, said, “The return of Sam Horn is a tremendous gain for BJU Seminary. Together with President Steve Pettit, I was honored to work closely with Sam in his previous service here as he laid much of the groundwork for our current vision by elevating ministry training and firmly establishing the Seminary as a distinct, premier graduate theological institution.”
Before joining the leadership of BJU, Horn was president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and served in several senior roles at Northland International University. In addition to his current position at Palmetto Baptist Church, he has extended service as senior pastor at Christ Memorial Bible Church in Pelzer, South Carolina, and Brookside Baptist Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Cushman elaborated, “In addition to helping us prepare seminarians for the pulpit through his wide experience as a pastor and exceptional scholarship, Sam Horn is already actively helping fulfill our commitment to serve the church by providing resources to pastors to address critical challenges, especially in the clear exposition and proclamation of the Word.”
About BJU Seminary
BJU Seminary is a conservative graduate school of theology and ministry in Greenville, South Carolina. Part of Bob Jones University, BJU Seminary features a world-class faculty of 25 full-time and adjunct professors recognized as specialists in fields ranging across theology, ministry, apologetics, counseling and missions—fulfilling a commitment to equip leaders to effectively proclaim the Word, serve the church and advance the Gospel.
The Seminary is pursuing a 500 x 5 x 5 strategic vision of putting 500 pastors on the path to the pulpit in the next five years—and every five years after that—through a 5P Plan of innovation and investment in the areas of program, partnerships, people, plant and profile.
BJU Seminary offers full-time, flexible graduate programs and certificates in areas including biblical counseling, theological studies, expository preaching, ministry studies, intercultural studies, biblical language and literature, Bible teaching, chaplaincy and master of divinity.