CBC Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Joel Slayton
Dr Joel Slayton has been a fixture at Central Baptist College in the Bible Department for over 40 years. In June, Dr. Slayton celebrated his 50th year in ministry to the Lord. He sat down with CBC public relations officer Erik Holth to talk about his experiences over the last 50 years.
Dr. Slayton said he felt the call of God and surrendered to the ministry on June 30, 1968 at the First Baptist Church in Gurdon, Ark. Dr. Slayton tells the story this way: “James Ray Raines, who spoke at the 50-year celebration, was the pastor at the time and I went to him earlier that week and told him that God had called me to the ministry. He said ‘If you make it known that morning, you’ll preach that evening.’ I said okay, and that’s what happened. I then got a call from a friend later in that week saying ‘Would you come preach at our church?’ So I did. The next week a similar thing took place and the following week was different because I was sitting at home on a Saturday thinking, I don’t have a place to preach this Sunday. At about 10:30 that night a pastor friend called me and said ‘I found out I need to work the next morning, can you fill in for me?’ That took place about four or five more weeks. So, one Sunday, I was filling in for him at Hammonds Chapel Baptist Church, right outside of Gurdon, and one of the deacons, Clarence Stroud, came to me and said ‘Bro. Joel, we are going to vote on you as pastor next Wednesday night because Bro. Carl has resigned.’ I said you are, well, what does this mean? I had to call my pastor and find out what that meant. That was the first church that I pastored.” He continued: “God has been good. I’ve pastored a number of churches. After I left Hammonds Chapel, I attended seminary in Texas and pastored a church down there. I thought it was interesting how the Lord led because after I finished seminary down in Texas I told my wife, who I had married recently, that the Lord is going to really have to do something to move us out of Arkansas. That was our home. Within three weeks, we were in Huntsville, Alabama. That’s where we came to Central Baptist College from and have been at CBC since January of 1976.”
Dr. Slayton didn’t think he would end up working at a college and told about the circumstances surrounding his arrival: “They had an associational meeting that was a little contentious. The person who was part-time teaching Greek at CBC decided that he didn’t want to continue. So, Wassell Burgess, who was the President of CBC at the time, and Dr. Harold Cooper called me in Alabama and said ‘Joel, I understand that you graduated from seminary with a degree in Bible languages. Could you come here and teach Greek?’ I said that I could, but I’m not sure that’s what God wants me to do.” He asked for them to give him some time, which they did. He decided to come and since then, Dr. Slayton has been a fixture around campus and around the Conway community. He said that he has many memorable moments that are mostly centered around students.
Dr. Slayton loves CBC. “One of the most amazing things about teaching here is seeing students who are tremendously gifted use their gifts in churches or in the mission field after they leave. It’s such a blessing to see the fruit of what you have done multiplied around the world. One of the students I remember is Mike Goodwin. He and I are both involved in missions. Since Mike has been here it’s amazing to see how God has used him and he spoke at the 50-year celebration. We’ve been all over the world together.”
Dr. Slayton left this piece of advice for current students: “This is valuable time. Never lose sight of the academic benefits of college because you can never get that back. Speaking from experience, my freshman year of college was pretty much wasted time. God called me to preach between my sophomore and junior year. I didn’t apply myself that first year and was really only there because I made a promise to my father that I would attend college. After God called me to preach, I had a completely different motivation. God has a plan and He will use it sometime later. Never forget that. What students learn here is a part of lifetime learning.”