SPRINGFIELD, MO.—Byron D. Klaus, president of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) since July 1999, has announced his intention to retire as president of AGTS late summer 2015. Dr. Klaus commented that this decision came after much prayer, discernment, and discussion. “I am clear about this step that I believe is just as ordered of the Lord as my original coming to serve this marvelous institution. It has been my greatest joy to lead a seminary where the Knowledge on Fire imagery guides daily efforts. No work could have been more fulfilling for me.”
Dr. Klaus was named AGTS president in 1999, after 20 years on the faculty and administration at Vanguard University of Southern California. Previous to serving at Vanguard, he served local churches in California, Texas, and Illinois. While at Vanguard University, Dr. Klaus also served as vice president for Latin America Child Care (LACC), a child development ministry serving over 80,000 children in 21 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. His commitment to leadership development in growing churches around the world has taken him to preach and develop leaders in over 50 nations in the world. Dr. Klaus’ scholarly work includes publications and books published by Baker Book House, Moody Press, Logion Press, Regal Books, Hendrickson Publishers, Regnum Books International, and Routledge Publishers. He is coeditor of Called and Empowered: Pentecostal Mission in Global Perspective and The Globalization of Pentecostalism: A Religion Made to Travel.
Dr. Klaus is the seminary’s fifth and longest serving president. Under his leadership, the seminary expanded its doctoral programs from a single Doctor of Ministry degree to now also include a Doctor of Missiology, a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies, a Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation and Theology, and 12 certificate for graduate studies programs. AGTS also offers a Master of Divinity and four Master of Arts programs. The seminary has maintained accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission since 1978 and with the Association of Theological Schools since 1992. AGTS has 3,595 alumni serving in 125 countries and all 50 states. Of those, 220 graduates are serving as AG endorsed chaplains.
In June, Dr. Klaus made his decision known to Dr. Carol Taylor, President of Evangel University, Dr. George O. Wood, Chair, Board of Trustees for Evangel University, and Dr. Warren Bullock, Chair, AGTS Board of Advisors. This week he and Dr. Taylor met with the seminary community to share his announcement.
Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God and Chair of the AGTS Board reflected on Dr. Klaus’ leadership of the seminary and his key role in the consolidation:
It has been my great privilege to know Byron Klaus for over 35 years, first as pastor to Byron and his family and in these recent years, as the General Superintendent and board chair as he has served as president of AGTS. Without his leadership, AGTS would not be where it is today nor would the consolidation have taken place for the three Springfield schools. Byron has a sure and steady compass and passion for graduate and undergraduate ministerial preparation and has set AGTS and Evangel’s School of Theology and Church Ministries in a direction that will thoroughly prepare the next generation of ministers for effective Spirit-empowered service. The Assemblies of God owes Byron a huge debt of gratitude for his tireless service, and I am grateful that AGTS has had such a godly leader at its helm for these past 15 years.
Evangel President, Dr. Carol Taylor, commented on Dr. Klaus’ leadership of AGTS during this first year of consolidation implementation:
It has been an honor to serve with Dr. Klaus during an extraordinary year of transition as we are now fully implementing the consolidation of Evangel, CBC, and AGTS. I am indebted to him for his partnership, wisdom, vision, and friendship. Dr. Klaus has been a tireless and visionary champion for seminary education and for the benefits of an embedded seminary where ministerial education can now be provided from baccalaureate through doctoral levels. It was his vision that resulted in the $550,000 Kern Family Foundation grant that will support the creation and launch of the first five-year M.Div. pastoral degree program where students can start as an undergraduate student and complete both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years rather than seven. I have had the privilege of seeing Dr. Klaus’ leadership and faith up close. One needs look no further for an extraordinary example of sacrificial, servant leadership deeply rooted in the best of Pentecostal heritage of the Assemblies of God along with an inspiring vision for the future.
Dr. Warren Bullock, Chair of the AGTS Advisory Board and member of Evangel University Board of Trustees, added his reflection on Dr. Klaus:
How does one sum up Dr. Byron Klaus’ 15 years of service at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary? These descriptive words come to mind: visionary, strong, persevering, unwavering, tireless, and superlative. He has built on the firm foundation of his predecessors, while at the same time he has pressed the limits in adapting ministerial training to a shifting educational and church culture. His rock-solid commitment to our theological roots and to the mission of AGTS has helped produce hundreds of alumni now at work in the Lord’s harvest. Our fellowship owes Dr. Klaus a debt of gratitude we can never repay.
The process for presidential succession at AGTS is the responsibility of the Executive Committee of the Evangel University Board of Trustees and the Seminary Board of Advisors. They will appoint a presidential search committee and guide the process of transition. Dr. George Wood asks that this leadership transition be a priority of prayer. He commented that AGTS is a critical part of providing church and mission leadership for the Pentecostal world. This leadership transition needs the wisdom of the Lord and the guidance of His Spirit so AGTS can continue in its effective service responding to the challenges facing Christ’s Kingdom in the 21st century.