March 20, 2020
Dr. Matt Ayars has been selected as the eighth president in the history of Wesley Biblical Seminary. The WBS Board of Trustees unanimously confirmed Dr. Ayars as president following an extensive international search process.
Dr. Ayars currently serves as the president of Emmaus University of Haiti and will officially assume the WBS presidency in May.
“I could not be more excited to serve at an institution that is uncompromisingly committed to developing whole leaders who preach the whole Gospel to the whole world,” said Ayars.
“More than ever the church needs leaders who take the
Bible and its message of a transformed life now seriously. WBS is producing those leaders, and I’m
thrilled and humbled to be a part of this seminary.”
Ayars was selected after a search process that lasted
nearly a year and included several dozen candidates. The Board of Trustees
unanimously elected Ayars after his name was presented by the search committee.
“I rejoice that the Lord has brought Dr. Matt Ayars to WBS as our new President,” said David Chandler, chairman of the WBS Board of Trustees. “Dr. Ayars’ love for people, his unwavering commitment to Trinitarian theology, and his bold proclamation of scriptural holiness will continue to make WBS stand out in a world where many seminaries have lost their way.”
Ayars has served as the president of Emmaus University of Haiti for eight years, after previously working as executive vice president and provost at the school. Under his leadership, Emmaus grew from 40 to more than 200 students and added three academic programs.
presidency, Emmaus became the first theological school in Haiti to be fully
accredited by the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association.
Ayars brings his visionary
leadership and innovative approach to WBS, taking the helm at an institution
that has experienced record enrollment growth in recent years.
“I am excited that Dr. Matt Ayars has accepted the invitation of the Board of Trustees of Wesley Biblical Seminary to become the next president of the seminary,” said Dr. John Oswalt, interim president at WBS.
“Dr. Ayars brings a wealth of gifts to the assignment. He is intelligent, energetic, articulate, and devoted to Christ and his kingdom, the cause for which WBS exists. Dr. Ayars will lead the institution to new heights of accomplishment.”
Ayars earned his BA in Bible and Theology from Asbury University, his MA in Biblical Literature from Wesley Biblical Seminary, and his PhD in Old Testament from St. Johns College of Nottingham. His dissertation focused on linguistic discourse analysis of Hebrew poetry in the Psalms.
As a graduate of WBS, Ayars combines the ethos of WBS with robust leadership experience and significant scholastic accomplishment.
Ayars has published numerous articles and books, including Salvation in Fresh Perspective: Covenant, Cross, and Kingdom (Wipf and Stock, 2015), Holy Is a Four-Letter Word Co-Authored with Dr. Charles Lake. (Wipf and Stock, 2015), and The Shape of Biblical Poetry: The Discourse Function of Linguistic Parallelism in the Egyptian Hallel. Studia Semitica Neerlandica Series (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
Ayars is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Evangelical Theological Society, the Tyndale Fellowship, the International Organization of Masoretic Studies, the National Association of Hebrew Professors, the Poetics and Linguistics Association, and the Francis Asbury Society.
He is married to Stacey, and together they have four children—Lily, Sofia, Nora, and Benjamin.
Seminary is an interdenominational institution rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness
tradition and is located in Ridgeland, Mississippi. WBS educates and trains men
and women who, in fulfilment of the Church’s mission, will live and proclaim
Trinitarian faith, promote the Spirit-filled life, and in full commitment to
the absolute authority of the Bible, actively make disciples of Jesus Christ.