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Alumni of the Year

AGTS has selected one outstanding alum each year since 2003 to be honored at the annual commencement celebration and with framed photographs lining the halls of AGTS.

2016 Alumni of the Year

J.P. Smith

Major John P. (J.P.) Smith
Class of 2005

Major John P. (J.P.) Smith is a seasoned combat veteran, an author, holds a PhD and is an ordained minister. A 2005 graduate of AGTS, he has been a U.S. Army Chaplain for more than ten years and has served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his most recent deployment, he served as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan Command Chaplain.

Dr. Smith was raised in the absence of his biological father, lost his mother early in life and was told he would never amount to anything. In his book, The Image of My Father, he shares stories of how God took someone experiencing brokenness and, through His grace, created a champion. Overcoming all odds, he now holds two master's degrees, a Master of Divinity and an MA in Theological Studies (both from AGTS). He also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.

Chaplain Smith's wife, Veronica, worked on staff at AGTS in the development office from 2003-2006. They have three children ages 6 to 16.


2015 Alumni of the Year

david     beth

Daisuke and Yoriko Yabuki
Class of 2009 and 1999

Daisuke and Yoriko serve as the International Ministry Pastors at Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri. They are the first supported missionaries sent by the Japanese AG to minister in the United States.

At Central Assembly Daisuke and Yoriko minister to Japanese people, their American families, and international friends and teach conversational English classes. They partner with the Office of Ethnic Relations at the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center to host Japanese conferences and have recently formed the first Japanese fellowship in Assemblies of God USA, of which Daisuke is president and Yoriko is vice-president.


2014 Alumni of the Year

david     beth

David and A. Elizabeth Grant
Class of 1979

David and Beth Grant, founders of Project Rescue, have served with Assemblies of God World Missions for 37 years. While their ministry has been primarily focused on India, their hearts to share their faith and see victims of sexual slavery rescued and restored has carried them to over 30 countries around the world.

For 40 years, India has been the heart and focus of David's ministry. His visionary approach to world missions has inspired this generation to intercession, investment and involvement. Thousands of churches have been planted and scores of colleges established as a result of his passion and boundless energy. While continuing his commitment to the needs of India, David is increasingly engaged in the development of new Project Rescue ministries across Eurasia and Europe.

Beth's personal calling and passion is that of teacher. She is associate professor of intercultural studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. She also serves as faculty and guest lecturer in cross-cultural education and women's issues in colleges in India, Europe and the United States. In 2009, Beth became the first woman elected to the Executive Presbytery of the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Beth and David have two daughters, Rebecca and Jennifer, and two grandchildren.

2013 Alumnus of the Year

Stephen R. Tourville
D.Min. 2008, M.A. 1979

Dr. Stephen R. Tourville has served as the superintendent of the PennDel Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God since 2002. Previously he served as the national director of the Assemblies of God US Missions Intercultural Ministries Department, the PennDel District home missions director and a district presbyter. He also pastored for 25 years in Pennsylvania. He believes missions begins at home and the local pastor plays a key role in reaching the world for Christ. He is an encouraging resource to pastors and leaders across his district.

Stephen completed a B.S. degree at Valley Forge Christian College and was granted an honorary membership in Delta Epsilon Chi Honor Society. He earned an M.Div. at Evangelical Theological Seminary where he received the Allen J. Bodey Award in Expository Preaching, an M.A. (1979) and a D.Min. at AGTS (2008).

In addition to district responsibilities, Stephen and his wife, Marjie conduct marriage seminars and speak at local church functions. They have ministered in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, China, India and Bolivia. They have two grown children, Jason (AGTS class of 2002) and Julie (Evangel University class of 1997) and six grandchildren.

2012 Alumnus of the Year

Kermit S. Bridges
M.A. 1988

Dr. Kermit S. Bridges has served as president of Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) in Waxahachie, Texas since 1999. While serving as SAGU's vice president for university advancement (1994-1999), Bridges directed a highly effective capital campaign that resulted in the construction of the Sheaffer Full Life Center (SFLC) and the acquisition of the university's former North Campus.

During the last 10 years, the university has expanded its academic offerings and increased enrollment by 16 percent. Half of the university's under-roof square footage has been constructed since Bridges took office, including phase two of the SFLC, Teeter and Bridges Residential Halls, and the Garrison Wellness Center. Growth in communication arts led to the need for a World Communication Center. This new 79,000 square-foot building will be completed by fall 2013.

President Bridges graduated from SAGU, earned an M.A. in Biblical Literature from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, completed an M.Div. at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Prior to coming to SAGU, Dr. Bridges served as senior pastor at First AG in Grand Prairie, Texas. He was also an associate pastor at Oak Cliff AG in Dallas, Park Crest AG in Springfield, Missouri and First AG in Garland, Texas. Kermit and his wife, Jan, have two sons, James and Forrest.

2011 Alumnus of the Year

Manuel A. Cordero
M.Div. 1981

Dr. Manuel A. Cordero serves as the correctional ministries representative for the General Council of the AG. An ordained minister with the Pennsylvania- Delaware District Council, he has been involved in prison ministry for over 34 years, serving in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for nearly 24 years. Prior to retiring he was assistant to the Chief of Chaplains in Washington, D.C. He also served as associate pastor at Oasis City Church in Philadelphia until 2009.

Dr. Cordero is an adjunct professor at Nyack College (Washington, D.C.), Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.) and AGTS. He conducts workshops and seminars internationally. In 2010 he was named Chaplain of the Year by the Institute of Prison Ministry of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

He studied at the University of Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras), earned a B.S. in Bible at Central Bible College, an M.Div. from AGTS and a D.Min. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Palmer Seminary (Philadelphia, Pa.). Manuel resides in Maryland and is married to Christine (Kuykendall). They have two grown children and five grandchildren.

2010 Alumnus of the Year

Bishop Lemuel F. Thuston
M.A. 1981

Bishop Lemuel F. Thuston pastors The Historic Boone Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Kansas City, Mo., and has served other parishes in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Texas. Bishop Thuston serves the Church of God in Christ as dean of the International Adjutant Corp, associate commissioner of the National Board of Education and Doctrine, co-chair of the National Institutional Ministry, member of the National Constitutional Committee and assistant chief of the National Adjutancy. He is also the former dean of the National Youth Department. In 2004, after 25 years of pastoral leadership, Bishop Thuston was appointed Prelate Kansas East Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (52 parishes) for the Church of God in Christ.

Having answered the call to ministry in his youth, Dr. Thuston has ministered in 40 states and 14 countries. He is the author of Essential Ministry Tools, Tears of Jeremiah, The National Adjutancy and the soon-to-be-published Jabez, Tupac, and the Jesus Prayer. He hosts a weekly telecast and is the director of The LINK, a former inmate community re-entry program. In addition to his service with the Federal Department of Justice, he served in the United States Air Force Reserve Chaplain Corps.

Dr. Thuston has a doctorate from Faith Baptist Seminary and is pursuing a Ph.D. at Drew University. He earned an M.Div. at St. Paul School of Theology and an M.A. at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He serves as an adjunct professor at various colleges and seminaries. His wife and partner in ministry is Evangelist Marian Thuston. They have a daughter, Melody.

2009 Alumnus and Alumna of the Year

Floyd "Butch" Frey
M.A. 1999
Pamela L. Frey
M.A. 2004

Butch and Pam Frey began their ministry in 1980 in West Virginia, where they served as senior pastors. They have been missionaries to Latin America since 1989 working with youth and Bible school ministries and planting churches. Butch has served as the Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM) area director for Mexico since 1998. Another aspect of their ministry focuses on individual and family counseling. Butch and Pam are involved in training lay counselors and working with future missionaries in the area of crosscultural adjustment through the AGWM Personnel and Family Life Department. In 2009, they will begin full-time work to provide member care for missionaries and their families. They completed Master of Arts degrees in Licensed Professional Counseling at AGTS.

2008 Alumnus of the Year

David Crosby

David P. Crosby Jr.
D.Min. 2007, M.A. 1997

Dr. David P. Crosby Jr. is the founding pastor of Pocono Community Church, Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania. In October 2002, David and a core group of 75 adults began meeting for prayer and were determined to plant a church that would reach the unchurched with a culturally relevant and creative ministry.

Today, over 1200 people attend the contemporary, biblically-driven services each weekend. Pocono Community Church is committed to leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by celebrating God’s presence, demonstrating God’s love, communicating God’s Word, incorporating God’s family and educating God’s people.

David grew up in the Poconos and has a heart to see his community changed by the power of God. He is married to Rebekah, who was raised in the Philippines as a missionary kid. David and Rebekah have three children, Kathryn, David III and Henry. David completed his Master of Arts degree in 1997 and received his Doctor of Ministry in 2007 at AGTS.

2007 Alumna of the Year

David Crosby

Maria E. Khaleel
M.A. 2002

Maria Khaleel is senior pastor of New Life Assembly of God (AG), which she started in 1992. It is a multicultural congregation with more than 30 nationalities represented and over 700 attending. Eighty percent are first-time converts.

At age 11, she was saved, baptized with the Holy Spirit and called to the ministry. She was ordained in 1988, and became the first woman to be elected as presbyter in the Peninsular Florida District of the AG in 1998, a position she held until 2006. She has also served on the National Evangelism Committee and with the AG’s Network for Women in Ministry. She completed her master’s degree at AGTS in 2002, and received the “Continuing Education Outstanding Student Award.”

Maria is a nationally recognized evangelist. She is a motivating and dynamic speaker who skillfully applies the Word of God to the lives of hearers. She preaches the Word in power and in demonstration of the Spirit. The burden of her heart is for revival, a message which has taken her throughout the United States preaching revivals, camp meetings, district retreats and seminars. Her life’s ambition is echoed in the words of Paul “... this one thing I do ... I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

2006 Alumnus of the Year

David Crosby

Craig S. Keener
M.Div. 1987, M.A. 1985

Dr. Craig S. Keener has served as professor of New Testament at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, Wynnewood, Pa., since 1999. Keener completed his Ph.D. in New Testament and Christian origins in 1991 at Duke University, Durham, N.C. From 1992-1996, he served as professor of New Testament at Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury, N.C. From 1996-1998, he served as the Carl Morgan visiting professor of biblical studies at Eastern Baptist (now Palmer) Theological Seminary.

David CrosbyOne of the most prolific New Testament scholars in the world today, he has written full-length commentaries: Matthew (IVP NT Series); Revelation (NIV Application Series); 1-2 Corinthians (New Cambridge Bible Commentary Series); Matthew (Eerdmans Publisher—voted Book of the Year in Biblical Studies in 1999 by Christianity Today); Gospel of John, two volumes (Hendrickson Publishers); and soon to be released, Acts (Eerdmans). He has written Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul; Defending Black Faith; Black Man’s Religion: Can Christianity Be Afrocentric?; And Marries Another: Divorce and Remarriage in the Teachings of the New Testament; Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit’s Work Today; and Three Crucial Questions About the Holy Spirit. His 1995 publication of the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament has sold over 350,000 copies in nine languages and is being translated into Chinese and French. In addition, he has published more than 150 articles in scholarly journals.

Keener’s ministry of evangelism and discipleship has taken him across university campuses throughout the United States. His teaching ministry has led him to numerous nations on the African continent. His passion for racial reconciliation is seen in his commitment to pastoral ministry in inner-city Philadelphia. A brilliant scholar and passionate evangelist, he has been called “unsurpassed” in his generation as a Johannine scholar.

He is married to the former Médine Moussounga from the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). They have one son, David Emmanuel Keener.

2005 Alumnus of the Year

David Crosby

Capt. Olric R. Wilkins, ChC, USN
D.Min. 2008, M.Div. 1984

Chaplain Olric R. Wilkins assumed his current position as command chaplain, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, in June 2004, after serving as deputy director, Operational Ministries, Norfolk, Virginia.

A native of the Virgin Islands, Wilkins is a graduate of Southeastern College in Lakeland, Florida, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received the Master of Divinity degree from AGTS and attended post-graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin.

During his undergraduate studies, Wilkins served as senior pastor of Sunnyside Christian Chapel, Lakeland, Florida, and during graduate studies, served as minister of outreach and evangelism at Tampa Assembly of God, Springfield, Missouri.

After graduating from chaplain school, Wilkins was assigned to Naval Training Center, Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. He later served as battalion chaplain, Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, 2nd Marine Division, and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Wilkins was subsequently assigned to AIMD, Marine Security Force, VR-22 and VQ-2, Naval Station, Rota, Spain. He also served as command chaplain aboard USS Nashville LPD-13; assistant command chaplain, Naval Air Station, Oceana; assistant director of pastoral care, Portsmouth Naval Hospital; and command chaplain, USS Mount Whitney LCC/JCC-20.

Wilkins’ decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, two National Defense Medals, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Medal, the NATO Medal and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

Wilkins is married to the former Angela Alsberry of Strasburg, Virginia. He has two children: Olric II and David.

2004 Alumnus of the Year

David Crosby

Jean Pawentaore Ouedraogo
M.A. 1982

Jean Pawentaore Ouedraogo is the son of an Assemblies of God (AG) pioneer pastor who planted many churches in Burkina Faso. After high school, Jean attended an AG Bible school in Ivory Coast and, later, the International Bible Training Institute in Sussex, England.

Upon his return to Burkina Faso, he pastored a church and was a teacher at the first AG Bible school there. Later he became the principal and director of that school and trained many men and women for ministry.

In 1980 he came to Springfield to finish his B.A. at Central Bible College. Upon graduation, he earned an M.A. at AGTS and returned to Burkina Faso, where he was elected general superintendent of the AG, a position he has held since 1989. The AG is the largest Protestant church in Burkina Faso, with over one million members and adherents.

Currently, Jean is the chairman of the Africa AG Alliance, which interacts with all AG ministers in Africa. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Council of the World AG Fellowship, the chairman of the board for the West Africa Advanced School of Theology and the director of the World AG Relief Agency. He is widely respected in Africa and beyond as a model servant-leader.

2003 Alumnus of the Year

David Crosby

John V. York
M.A. 1983

John’s ministry had missions at its heart from the very beginning. He served as missionary in Nigeria, Malawi and Togo (1974-1997). For 16 years, he directed three Assemblies of God (AG) Bible colleges in Nigeria where the AG burgeoned from about 150,000 to well over two million.

In 1990, John became the director of Africa Theological Training Service, a support ministry involving extensive travel among over 200 colleges and training programs across Africa, serving 14,000 students. John taught at AG graduate-level schools in several countries and participated in training new missionary candidates each summer in Springfield, Mo.

He earned a bachelor of arts in religion from Southern California College/Vanguard University (1966), a master of arts in missions science at AGTS (1983), and a doctor of missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill. (1990). John and his wife, Joy, had two grown children, both in full-time ministry, and four grandchildren.



Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015 9:28 AM


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