Dr. Matt Ayars has extensive experience in educational leadership. He has served at Emmaus University of Haiti for 13 years, including stints as professor of Old Testament, provost and executive vice president, and for the last eight years as president.
In addition to his role at Emmaus, Dr. Ayars served for a time as the vice president of theological education at the One Mission Society. He has also served as a member of the board for the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in Jamaica. Dr. Ayars currently serves on the executive committee of Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association as the Secretary-Treasurer. He is also vice-chairman of the board of trustees for the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary.
Dr. Ayars earned a BA in Bible and Theology at Asbury University, an MA in Biblical literature at Wesley Biblical Seminary, and a PhD in Old Testament Studies from St. Johns College of Nottingham. His dissertation focused on linguistic discourse analysis of Hebrew poetry in the Psalms.
Dr. Ayars has published on a wide variety of topics related to Wesleyan soteriology, biblical theology, and leadership. He has written a variety of 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).
It is an incredible honor and privilege to take on the role of President at Wesley Biblical Seminary. In these days, the world of Protestant Evangelical theological higher education is changing at an incredible rate and is facing new challenges every day. These changes are in large part due to the culture war that is raging on around us. The ideas and core values that define and characterize culture are shifting like tectonic plates under a fault-line. These shifts in thinking and values are changing the very landscape of the world we inhabit.
These challenges are not a threat, but an opportunity. Namely, these challenges present an opportunity for theological schools that are an extension of the Church to become more nimble, innovative, entrepreneurial, creative, and ultimately more effective in fulfilling the mission to develop whole leaders who preach the whole Gospel, to the whole world. Furthermore, these challenges amplify the urgency of transformative theological education that is uncompromisingly committed to full biblical authority and the message of holiness. This is what WBS is about, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!
Dr. Matt Ayars
Wesley Biblical Seminary
Dr. Ayars successfully completed his PhD at St. John’s College of Nottingham (validated by the University of Chester) in Old Testament studies focused on linguistic discourse analysis of Hebrew poetry in the Psalms. His dissertation was published in Brill’s Studia Semitica Neerlandica series under the title The Shape of Biblical Hebrew Poetry: Exploring the Discourse Function of Linguistic Parallelism in the Egyptian Hallel.
Dr. Ayars has also published on topics related to Wesleyan soteriology, biblical theology, and leadership. Other research interests include the interpretation of the Psalms as a book, the book of Isaiah, the biblical doctrine of holiness, Pauline studies, and the New Perspective of Paul.
Dr. 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.
Dr. Matt Ayars is married to Stacey, and together they have four children (Lily, b. 2009; Sofia, b. 2011; Nora, b. 2015; Benjamin, b. 2018).
Matt is from Penns Grove, New Jersey and Stacey is from Columbus, OH. By God’s providence, Matt and Stacey met while students together at Asbury College with a call on their lives to full-time ministry.
Soon after getting married, Matt and Stacey moved to Haiti to serve at Emmaus Biblical Seminary (now Emmaus University of Haiti) as career missionaries with OMS International (now the One Mission Society). Since then, Matt has completed graduate and post-graduate degrees while serving full-time at Emmaus in various leadership roles.
Dr. Ayars’ ministry at Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti (now “Emmaus University of Haiti”) began in 2007 as Assistant Professor of Old Testament. In 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Dr. Ayars became the Executive Vice President and Provost of Emmaus. In 2012 the Board of Directors named him the President of Emmaus.
As President of Emmaus Dr. Ayars has led the school in strategic and innovative expansion, increasing academic rigor, and strengthening its fiscal sustainability. Since 2010 enrollment at Emmaus has grown from forty students to 200 students and programming from one degree program to four. Under Dr. Ayars’ leadership Emmaus earned its membership and certification with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and Emmaus became the first theological school in Haiti to be fully accredited by the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association (CETA) which is a regional arm of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE). Dr. Ayars also serves on the executive committee of CETA as the Secretary-Treasurer.
Also during Dr. Ayars’ tenure at Emmaus he briefly served as the Vice President of Theological Education (now “Theological Leadership Education and Discipleship”) at the One Mission Society. The goal of this group is to collaborate with and lend support to the thirty or so bible colleges and seminaries that OMS has launched and partnered with over the years around the world. Dr. Ayars serves as the vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary. He has also served as a member of the board for the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in Jamaica.