When he left for Wheaton College last year, Philip Ryken returned home. His father still serves on the Wheaton faculty, and Ryken sat on the board of trustees while leading Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia as senior pastor.
Indeed, Ryken's Wheaton roots run deep, but some had hoped the college would break with its long-standing tradition of hiring pastors. They lobbied for someone with more academic experience. Yet as Ryken reflects with me in this interview, he is hard-pressed to think of better preparation for his current job than his last one. He is a pastor-president living out his life-long call to gospel ministry.
I asked Ryken about how he exercises gospel-centered leadership in a broadly evangelical environment guided by a confessional statement that allows for considerable theological diversity. We also talk about his first-year emphasis on God's grace for a performance-based academic culture shaped by an activist college motto, "For Christ and his kingdom."
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of of Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists, and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, co-edited Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, and co-edits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.