Ministry for the Real World Campaign

“Academic scholarship is a major hallmark of Memphis Theological Seminary. The school feeds both the minds and spirits of its students. Rigorous scholastic study and intellectual discussion of the Bible from different points of view are encouraged.” “The goal is to foster informed critical thinkers. It is not to promote the agenda of Memphis Theological Seminary. When students graduate, they have the knowledge and practical tools to be effective ministers. They live their lives according to the teachings and values of the Bible. Graduates are well prepared to positively impact individuals, congregations and society.”
– Mrs. Ruby Wharton, Esq., Member of the MTS Board of Trustees

Our student population is very diverse and reflects the real world. There are no age, gender, economic, cultural, theological or racial barriers here. Our graduates will be ministering to many different populations and denominations. Their experience at MTS helps them understand how to work toward a beloved community.

Some of the most respected and influential ministers in the Mid-South are graduates of Memphis
Theological Seminary. They are acknowledged for their depth of Biblical and religious knowledge
and their ecumenism. They are respected for their ability to influence both religious and secular communities. Wherever our graduates serve, they impact the lives of those they touch. They are trained to be
ministers in the real world.

Our graduates touch thousands of lives in their chosen ministry. They become pastors, youth ministers, educators, non-profit leaders and chaplains in hospitals, prisons and the military. For over fifty years, the seminary has occupied the magnificent turn-of-the-century Newburger Mansion in midtown Memphis. We have worked hard to maintain the original beauty of this grand home. Warmth and intimacy are created by cascading
stairways, arched doorways, and handcrafted woodwork. It is the beautiful face we show to the public. In more recent years, we have added two adjoining mansions in response to a growing student body and the faculty and staff hired to serve them.

The three homes have served us well, but with enrollment reaching 325 students, we have outgrown them. Because of the reputation and impact of our graduates, our enrollment continues to grow. We believe we can reach an enrollment of 450 students in the not-too-distant future. Together students represent over 30 denominations, several states and several countries.

The Newburger Mansion’s prized Ballroom is our makeshift chapel. Unfortunately it can only seat one-fifth of our student body. We are grateful to have resided in the homes on beautiful East Parkway during our time of growth. We will always maintain them. They will continue to serve us well as library space, offices and intimate gathering spaces for small discussion groups. But it is urgent that we expand our campus and construct a chapel and an academic building. We have acquired property adjacent to our campus for both structures. Now we must build. Our future depends on it.



The Board of Trustees and administration of Memphis Theological Seminary have thought long and hard about the future of the seminary. We have prayed for God to guide us in our decision making as we expand our opportunities to educate future religious leaders for ministry in the real world by announcing a 5-year comprehensive campaign goal of $25 million.

• A new chapel is a top priority. We have made do with a small converted ballroom for too long.

• We need a new classroom/office building to attract and accommodate a new generation of seminary students – and lay church members for whom we see an increasing desire to expand spiritual and Biblical knowledge through classroom study. In addition, a new classroom/office building will house our Chaplain’s Office, the Methodist House of Studies, library space for special archival collections, meeting rooms for group study, and offices for our growing faculty. This new classroom/office building will relieve pressure on MTS’ limited academic facilities.

• Growing our endowment by establishing endowed faculty positions, fellowships and scholarships as well as growing our annual giving and planned giving support will allow MTS to prosper and grow and change more lives. We will also seek annual and endowed funds to support our Arts and Theology program, Pastoral Care and Recovery Ministries, and Youth Ministry programs, just to name a few.

To be more specific, during our comprehensive campaign our goal is to secure at least $25 million in gifts and commitments over 5 years for the following priority areas:

• Campus Facilites $ 10M
• Student/Facutly & Programs Support Endowments $ 5M
• Annual Fund (unrestricted operating dollars) $ 10M
Successfully completing these projects will enable MTS to aggressively pursue our mission well into the twenty-first century: To educate men and women for ordained and lay Christian ministry in the church and the world by shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety and justice. At press, time $8.7 million has been committed in outright gifts, pledges, and planned gifts: MTS has received over 200 gifts and pledges and 100% support from the board of trustees, faculty and staff. Gifts ‘great and small” are helping us reach our goal.

“The campaign is more about people than structures,” said Keith Gaskin, MTS Vice President of Advancement, referring to it as a comprehensive campaign instead of a capital campaign.

The primary goal is to increase the annual fund, scholarships and have more endowed faculty and professors, he said. Other niche areas that will benefit from the camp aign include the Theology in Arts program and recovery ministry, which trains pastors to work with family’s struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, and The Methodist House of Studies.

“The campaign is titled ‘Ministry for the Real World’ and that’s what we do here,” Gaskin said. “Our alumni have started homeless shelters, food banks and served as chaplains in prisons, hospitals and the Army. We’re very practical in what we teach here.”

Our lead donors with gifts and pledges of $10k and above during our silent phase include:

Anonymous Donors (3)
The Assisi Foundation of Memphis
Kevin and Dana Brantley
Jay and Mary Earheart-Brown
Wes Brantley
Clinton Buck
Phyllis Buck
Roy and Virginia Card
George and Bena Cates
The Chatlos Foundation
Bob and Mamie Covington
Willene Davis
John and Debbie Ford
Ralph and Barbara Hamilton
Leon Harris
Steve and Bev Harrison
Dan and Robin Hatzenbuehler
Jody and Monya Hill
Jan and Mitch Holmes
The Kemmons Wilson Foundation
Yoong and Ann Kim
Bob and Joy Marble
Marilyn Meeks
Methodist Healthcare
Jack and Jane Morris
Scott and Nicki Niswonger
Tim and Leah Orr
Dan Pigg
Regional One Health Med
Lowell and Sondra Roddy
Bob and Fran Shelton
Union Avenue United Methodist Church
Henry and Jeanne Varnell
Martha and Terry Wagley
KC and Jeff Warren
Ruby and AC Wharton
Molly and Barton Williams


The graduates of Memphis Theological Seminary proclaim and embody God’s message of redemption, justice and peace in service to others. Our graduates guide people in their faith and help them understand why they believe. This is powerful. They ignite people’s hearts in love for Jesus Christ and support them in walking in His way. They model Christ-like behavior, and in doing so they transform the lives of those they touch—in church, in the grocery store, on a bus or in prisons. They shatter prejudice. They stand in the face of desperation and offer hope. They provide for those with nothing, and they teach others to do the same. The world is a better place because of their real world ministry— a ministry that is persuasive, practical and purposeful.

“Today, mainline religions are grappling with retaining membership. Our emphasis is on academics, practical application and an inclusive approach to theology. This prepares our graduates to be relevant and creative ordained and lay ministers in the real world today. It is our desire that they leave here prepared to serve and embody God’s mission of redemption, justice and peace in service to the New
Creation in Jesus Christ. My father attended this seminary, so it was only natural that I followed in his footsteps. Now that I am president, I am blessed to be leading the initiative to bring our facilities into the twenty-first century. We cannot wait. Our campus must reflect the extraordinary academic excellence within its walls.

Dr. Daniel J. Earheart-Brown, President