BY BRICK MATHIS
The dream of a book that began as a dissertation 18 years ago finally became a reality recently for one of Missouri Baptist University’s beloved mainstays.
Dr. Andy Chambers, senior vice president for student development, began his book, “Exemplary Life: A Theology of Church Life in Acts,” from 1991 through 1994 while he studied at Southwestern Baptist Seminary.
It wasn’t until 2008 that he began working on it again, being urged both by the Student Development Department and MBU President Dr. Alton Lacey, and he finally completed the book last October. “The idea for this book burned a hole in my heart for years before I knew I had to write or let it go,” Chambers said.
Chambers grew up in South County and actually began his studies at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1989.
He then graduated with a master of divinity and a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1997.
While studying at Southwestern he worked three years as a full-time pastor and upon moving back to St. Louis he was pastor at Geyer Road Baptist Church in Kirkwood for six years.
Chambers has also acquired additional training in higher education administration at Harvard University and Baylor University before becoming a Bible professor at MBU in 1997.
Chambers, who was appointed to his present position at MBU in 2000, explained, “I’m at the head of 12 departments, from Housing, to Campus Ministry, to Student Activities, to ... well, I can’t even name them all. I have about 100 people under me that are focused on student support, student life and student success. That’s what I live.”
Chambers’ reason for writing this book is to emphasize that Christ died to make us people of God and because Luke’s voice is under-emphasized in the current scholarship on the church.
Of those 100-plus people who work under Chambers, the ones who have probably worked closest with him are his assistant, Marie Tudor, and director of student activities, Lara Hines.
Tudor, who has been Chambers’ assistant for the past eight years, said her boss truly loves what he does because he loves people.
“My favorite part about working with Dr. Chambers is just seeing his heart for people,” Tudor said. “To help them grow and succeed. Not just students but faculty, too. He gives them encouragement, is always willing to listen.
Hines, who has worked with Chambers for the past seven years, agreed with Tudor and added, “I think he is a good spiritual leader. When we’re in a conversation, he always brings it back to God and back to a Scripture and he pours out his grace and mercy for people and that’s very edifying ... and believe me, I need a lot of it.”
Tudor helped Chambers through his work, with editing, revision, idea discussion and major work on the book’s structure and setup. Hines commented, “The only reason Dr. Chambers is still alive and sane is due to Marie.”
Since Luke’s teachings are emphasized, Chambers commented this book would be useful to pastors, church planters and commentary writers of Acts. The book looks at Luke in his first-century environment, and readers get to see Luke’s agenda.
Chambers, who has used his book to conduct Bible study series at his church, said, “If you love the church, I hope you read this book.”