The faculty members for the core courses in the HST D.Min. are highly focused. Each brings years of experience in scholarship and practical ministry.
Dr. Dave L. Bland, Professor of Homiletics, D.Min. Co-Director (Dr. Bland’s Faculty Page)
B.A., Harding University, 1976; M.Div., Abilene Christian University, 1980; D.Min., Western Baptist Seminary, 1985; Ph.D., University of Washington, 1994.
Dave Bland is professor of homiletics and serves as co-director of the Doctor of Ministry program. For twenty-one years he served part-time as a preaching minister and adult education minister at the Church of Christ at White Station.
For thirteen years he lived in Portland, Oregon and preached for the Eastside Church of Christ before coming to Harding School of Theology in 1993. Dave has published numerous books and articles with a wide variety of publishers including Westminster John Knox Press, Chalice, Abingdon, ACU Press, BakerBooks, College Press, Cascade, and Wipf & Stock. Between 2000 and 2010 he co-edited a series of eleven books* on preaching from different genres of Scripture.
Dave continues to serve as a section editor for the journal Homiletic, responsible for reviewing recent books published in the field of preaching. Besides homiletics, another of his areas of expertise is wisdom literature and in particular the book of Proverbs. He has published a commentary in the NIV Commentary series with College Press on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs* (2002). He has also published a book with Cascade Publishers entitled Proverbs and the Formation of Character* (2015) and co-authored a book entitled Creation, Character, and Wisdom* (Wipf & Stock, 2016).
He is married to Nancy Cochran Bland. They have three adult sons and six grandchildren. He enjoys morning workouts and working on his farm.
Dr. Carlus Gupton, Professor of Ministry, D.Min. Co-Director (Dr. Gupton’s Faculty Page)
Freed-Hardeman University; B.A., Lipscomb University, 1982; M.Div., Harding School of Theology, 1988; D.Min., Abilene Christian University, 1993; University of Memphis; Murray State University; University of Tennessee. Harding since 2014 (adjunct 1997-2013).
Carlus Gupton is Professor of Ministry, Director of Field Education, and Co-director of the Doctor of Ministry program. Before coming to HST, he was Professor of Ministry at Johnson University, where he still serves as an adjunct, and also taught at the University of Tennessee. Carlus teaches courses in church leadership, spiritual formation and conflict, and has also taught New Testament, theology and communication. He began preaching at an early age, and has over 30 years of professional experience in ministry for congregations small and large. He received his education from Freed-Hardeman University (1977-78); Lipscomb University (B.A., 1982), Harding School of Theology (M.Div., 1988); and Abilene Christian University (D.Min., 1993), and also studied organizational leadership at Murray State University, University of Memphis, and University of Tennessee.
For the past twenty years, Carlus has maintained an active schedule of consulting, coaching, and intentional interim ministry, having worked with over 100 churches and organizations. He is a member of Hope Network Ministries and Society for Church Consulting, is a Certified Christian Conciliator™, Advanced Human Behavior Consultant, Everything DiSC® Authorized Partner, and holds extensive certifications in ministry transitions, strategic renewal, congregational change, self-differentiated leadership, conflict intervention, and problem-solving. He is also a specialist in instrumented learning utilizing tools such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Grip-Birkman, and Conflict Styles, and has led over 1,000 people through the DISC Profile. Carlus is a graduate of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, and has a passion for integrating spiritual practices and strategic initiatives such as appreciative inquiry and asset mapping in congregational development. Two of his special interests are embedding empowering perspectives and practices in church life and leadership, and navigating congregational policies on complex theological issues in ways that both strengthen unity and forward mission. Carlus is an energetic presenter of numerous workshops, lectures, and sermons for churches and conferences across the nation.
Dr. Gupton is the founder and publisher of LifeandLeadership.com, a website with over 1,500 pages of resources for church leaders, and DISCPersonalitySource.com, which features the popular DISC Profile System.
Carlus is married to Ann Yarbrough Gupton. They have two grown daughters. He is a native of Mayfield, Kentucky, and still cheers for his hometown football team. His other interests include running, watching first run movies on the big screen, and listening to his favorite music (especially Irish jigs and reels).
Dr. Scott Laird, Adjunct Instructor of Ministry
B.Sc., Montana State University, 1981; M.A.C.M., Harding School of Theology, 2008; D.Min., Harding School of Theology, 2019. Harding since 2020.
Scott Laird serves as an evangelist/minister for the Great Falls (Montana) Church of Christ, where he has been since 1994. The Great Falls Church of Christ is close to Malmstrom Air Force Base which increases the transitory nature of the congregation. Since 1995 the church has “sent” over 740 souls out into ministry opportunities in the United States and around the world. During that same time, over 300 have been baptized into Christ. The church averages approximately 240 in attendance on Sunday mornings with 75% of those in attendance participating in the small group ministry (LIFE Groups). This small group ministry has proven over the last decade to be an effective tool for leadership development.
Since 2000 Scott has conducted seven two-year ministry apprenticeships in conjunction with HST. He has also spearheaded three Shepherds’ Network events in Montana, working with HST to equip and connect elders from the Northern Plains states and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. He often consults with churches in this region and conducts various seminars on leadership development, evangelism, and small groups.
Scott directed the establishment of the Yellowstone Bible Camp Foundation in 2011 and continues to serve as its president. For over twenty years he has served on the Yellowstone Bible Camp board of trustees and joined the board of the Christian Chronicle in 2019.
Before moving to Great Falls, Scott did missionary work in Canada for twelve years where he participated in a church planting, served as a campus minister and pulpit minister. He worked in Saskatoon, Toronto, and Edmonton.
Scott was converted through the campus ministry in Bozeman, MT, and met his wife, Patty Hostetter Laird, through that campus ministry. Scott and Patty have two children, along with two granddaughters. He enjoys outdoor activities; especially golfing, hiking, and fishing.
Dr. Mark E. Powell, Professor of Theology (Dr. Powell’s Faculty Page)
B.A., Lipscomb University, 1993; M.Div., Emory University, 1996; Ph.D., Southern Methodist University, 2005. Harding since 2002.
Mark E. Powell teaches courses in systematic theology, historical theology, ethics, and philosophy of religion. He is a Shepherd at the Sycamore View Church of Christ in Memphis. He is originally from Conyers, Georgia just east of Atlanta. Mark has over 25 years of ministry experience in preaching, urban ministry, and adult education. He is passionate about applying Christian theology to worship, ministry, and discipleship. A recent example of this passion is found in his article “Proclaiming the Gospel at the Table” in Christian Studies (found here).
Mark’s early academic work focused on religious epistemology. He contributed to Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church* (Eerdmans, 2008) and wrote Papal Infallibility: A Protestant Evaluation of an Ecumenical Issue* (Eerdmans, 2009). Mark’s work on papal infallibility was reviewed in prominent journals, was the focus of a session at the Catholic Theological Society of America Annual Convention, and was featured in a three-article Quaestio Disputata (Disputed Question) dialogue in Theological Studies.
Next Mark turned to theological issues in the Stone-Campbell Movement, including the need for a stronger articulation of Trinitarian doctrine. He wrote Centered in God: The Trinity and Christian Spirituality* (ACU Press, 2014), contributed to The T&T Clark Companion to Pneumatology (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, forthcoming), and reviewed books on the Trinity for Theology Today, Restoration Quarterly, and Stone-Campbell Journal.
Currently Mark is working on broader issues in Restoration theology. He is the co-author (with John Mark Hicks and Greg McKinzie) of Discipleship in Community: A Theological Vision for the Future* (ACU Press, forthcoming) and is under contract to write a chapter on the Stone-Campbell Movement for The Cambridge Companion to American Protestantism (Cambridge University Press).
Mark’s wife Debbie is an elementary teacher at Harding Academy in Memphis. They have one daughter and two sons. Mark enjoys sports, cooking barbeque, and camping.
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