Giving Thanks for Dr. Mark Jefferson

Date: April 28, 2023

In the fall of 2016, the Rev. Mark Jefferson, Ph.D., began teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary as a Visiting Professor. After completing his Ph.D. in Homiletics at Emory University, he was promoted to Assistant Professor in 2019. Now newly married, he has announced that he is leaving VTS after seven years of exceptional teaching and service.

From an early age Dr. Jefferson knew that he was born to preach. After honing his craft at Emory University, he realized that God was also calling him to teach and write about preaching, and so began his doctoral studies. He taught at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary before coming to VTS, where for the last seven years we have all been enriched by his many gifts.  His courses have ran the gamut from the essential “how’s and why’s” of preaching (Sermon Mechanics) to a study of contemporary rhetoric and deployment informed by research conducted while writing his dissertation (Hip Hop and Homiletics). He is especially gifted in the practice and the teaching of the difficult and often neglected art of prophetic preaching. Motivated by his enthusiasm and expertise, students and faculty have been renewed in their commitment to hone their skills in preaching.

Soon after arriving, Dr. Jefferson took up the commission to preach 200 sermons across the world. In the course of the Bicentennial Preaching Celebration he travelled far and wide to reconnect with alums, make new friends for VTS, and faithfully spread the news of the Gospel. These important sermons and his reflections on them will soon be coming out in a series of books.

I have heard Mark refer from time to time to his “extended Anglican year” at VTS. With several exciting employment opportunities that positions Mark and Chanel closer to family, I am eager to support this next step even as I wish that his stay could be extended even more. He has grown us as a seminary, a Church, and as followers of Jesus and I am so very grateful for his work at VTS.

Melody D. Knowles, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary

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