"18 for 2018" by Dr. Mike Allen

These are just a few of my favorite things to look forward to this year at RTS Orlando…

1. Wednesday, February 8. Classes begin again, and the wonder of academic beginnings never ceases to amaze me. The Rev. Mike Glodo leads us in our first chapel of the spring term that morning, so that we begin in a posture not merely of Socratic self-examination but of prayerful dependence on the triune God. 

2. As we reflect on the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my friend Dr. Vince Bacote travels from Wheaton College in February to help us envision what courageous, patient witness would look like in the realm of racial reconciliation.

3. Professor Grant Macaskill delivers the 2018 Kistemaker Academic Lecture series on "The Reformed Self in Paul." All of us ought to be challenged by his presence among us. 

4. My teaching assistant of the last three years, Tony Wang, graduates and begins pastoral work in south Florida. It's painfully hard to see dear students leave, but great to see them sent by God.

5. Chick-Fil-A. Does the glory cloud move a block down from Chipotle? Will the unofficial RTS cafeteria be relocated further down Mitchell Hammock road?

6. We have a bunch of fabulous, new staff members who've joined the RTS family in these last few months (Melody Hoover, Savannah Liebegott, Christina Mansfield, and Savannah Brenyo), and we can all get to know them a bit more day by day and month by month. 

7. Dr. Nick Reid will assume the rank of Associate Professor. Immediately after word of the upcoming promotion was delivered, he shaved his beard. I'm curious to see what fashion choices will come after the title becomes real on June 1. 

8. Coordinated by our own Leigh Swanson and leaders from a number of area churches, the Teaching Women to Teach initiative begins this spring. 

9. Dr. Liam Goligher will be  teaching a course on evangelism this July and giving one of our summer evening lectures for the public. I’m grateful for our campus to be blessed again by leadership from Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

10. Several presbytery meetings will be held on our campus. We exist to serve Christ by blessing his church, and these gatherings are reminders of the most direct ways we impact congregations, namely, by teaching others who will teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).

11. Generous donors keep making new things possible because they have seen the value of an RTS education and believe in the need for further work. We'll see a new seminar room renovated this term in honor of the late Dr. Simon Kistemaker. And generations of students will be able to benefit from carefully studying the Word to which he devoted himself in that new space. 

12. President Swain has tried his best to bring the bow-tie back. No doubt you’ll see it appearing more and more frequently in springtime prom photos and summertime wedding albums.  

13. For over a year now, Dr. Mark Futato's "Daily Dose of Hebrew" video stream has reached well over a thousand viewers per day. As he continues his work, day by day, more and more men and women will keep up and develop their ability to read God's Word in the original language. 

14. Our faculty reading group will be discussing the life of the mind and intellectual culture by considering the recent book by Alan Jacobs (How to Think) this springtime. 

15. I’ll be doing a directed study with two students this spring who want to explore a theological reflection on disability. I expect the conversations and reading to stretch me and help me grow too.

16. Hybrid weeks in January and July bring all sorts of energy to campus, as our Distance M.Div. students come to campus. 

17. Dr. Greg Lanier’s dissertation on Lukan Christology will be published this next year in the Library of New Testament Studies series by T & T Clark, no doubt priced right for the budget of the common man or woman. 

18. A beloved alum, the Rev. Chuck Jacob, will be giving the commencement address in May, and it’s wonderful to hear a wise grad speak timely words to new grads.

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