Dr. Timothy Brown, professor of preaching and director of church relations at Western Theological Seminary, will be on campus Oct. 6-8 to speak for the kickoff of “Vocare: Find Your Place,” Northwestern’s new program funded by the Lilly Grant.
Brown will speak in chapel services Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on the topic “In the Beginning Again…Becoming the Person You Were Called to Be,” based on Genesis 1-3. Another presentation entitled “’Cause I’ve Been Called, You Fool!: Finding a Way to Find God’s Way,” will be given to faculty and staff at a Monday luncheon to publicly kick off the five-year Lilly project.
Dr. Keith Anderson, Dean of Spiritual Formation and Vocation and director of the Lilly Grant, invited Brown to campus after meeting him at the seminary last spring.
“This is the official kick-off for the Lilly Grant,” said Anderson. “His coming is a public symbol of what we’re trying to do in the grant. He will open God’s Word in a way that will enlighten us to our identity and our calling in Christ.”
Anderson pointed to a verse from Ephesians 1 in “The Message” that says, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for,” Anderson feels is a great description of the grant’s purpose.
“His [Brown’s] own life is an exemplary life in the vocation of Christian ministry,” said Dr. John Brogan, associate professor of religion.
Brogan added that there is no break between Brown’s life and his vocation, making him an ideal person for publicly commencing the Lilly project.
Brogan met Brown when he visited NW five years ago. He said that Brown’s narrative preaching style is full of descriptive phrases that help listeners gain insight and become immersed in stories, whether they are biblical or from Brown’s own experience.
Brogan continued that this style does not at all detract from the important theological points in his messages.
“He is known as one of the best preachers in the denomination and generally has high regard for our students,” said Anderson. NW has sent a large number of pre-seminary students to Western over the past several years.
Brogan said that Brown has three passions in life. The first of these is a passion for the gospel. The second is a passion for the people of the church.
“Tim is the type of person that has a way of making any person that he encounters into a better person,” said Brogan. “He relates to all sorts of people.”
The third characteristic that Brogan listed was a passion for Michigan football.
“I love him for all three of those,” Brogan said with a smile.
Brown received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Western Theological Seminary. He has served in the past as dean of the chapel at Hope College and senior pastor at Christ Memorial Church in Holland, Mich.
Additionally, Brown speaks frequently at conferences and campuses. He has written two books entitled Witness Among Friends and Let’s Preach Together. He is also a writer for the Church Herald and Christianity Today magazine.