More About Larry L. McSwain

I was raised in Oklahoma and responded to the call to ministry while in High School. During college at Oklahoma State University, I served a small church in my home town as pastor. I met my future wife, Sue, at OSU, married after graduation and completed seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological in Ft. Worth where she worked as a secretary. From there we went to Louisville and Southern Baptist Theological where I finished doctoral study, joined the faculty and taught for 23 years.

Our children, Laura and Michael were born in Louisville and we spent two sabbaticals together-Berkeley, CA and Houston, TX. Most of the last five years at Southern were in administration while I served as Dean of the School of Theology and Provost of the seminary. During this time Sue became a Certified Public Accountant and worked in public accounting. In 1993, we moved to Shorter College where we served as President until 2000 when we retired for a year. During 2001-2002 we served as interim pastor at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. In 2002, I became Senior Fellow of University Commons for Mercer University in Macon. We have three grandchildren, Hannah, Dillon and Joshua and two yorkies, King Henry and Prince William.

I am an inactive pilot, a poor golfer, and a fair fisherman.

Professional Information


1959-63 BA, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
1963-66 BD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth , TX
1966-1970 S.T.D. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
1976-1977 Visiting Scholar, University of California and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.
Completed Case Study Institute at Pacific School of Religion


1961-1963 Pastor, Morrison First Baptist Church, Morrison, OK
1967-69 Pastor, First Baptist Church, Vernon, IN
1968-1970 Senior Research Associate, Urban Studies Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
1970-1993 Educator, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY

Served in a variety of teaching and administrative roles, including Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Church and Community ; Assistant Director of Field Education, Director of M. Div. Studies, Dean of the School of Theology and Provost of the seminary. Ph. D. instruction in Sociology of Religion

1993-2000 President, Shorter College, Rome, GA
2000-2001 Adjunct Professor of Theology, Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida
2001-2002 Interim Pastor, Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fl.
2002-2003 Senior Fellow, University Commons, Mercer University, Macon, GA.
2003-- Professor of Ethics and Leadership, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA.


Co-author, Conflict Ministry in the Church and Church Organizations Alive! with William C. Treadwell, Jr. Author of numerous chapters and book reviews in Scholarly books, practical ministry books, and journals. I have presented scholarly papers at the Religious Research Association and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Current project of writing God's Invitation to You, a book on calling for youth with Dr. Kay W. Shurden.


Numerous congregational consultations in strategic planning and conflict conclusion. Referral consultant with Alban Institute for two years. PACT Consultant of the Year, Home Mission Board, SBC.

Memberships and Honors

Chairman of Board of Directors, United Way of Rome and Floyd County, Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools, Consortium for Global Education, and member of Georgia Foundation for Independent Schools, Rome and Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, International, and Education Commission of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Listed in Who's Who in Religion, 1976 and Who's Who in America, 2000.

Current Research

My focus over the past year has been on Christian vocation. A manuscript on calling for teenagers written with Dr. Kay Shurden is in process. I am also continuing study on conflict in the church.

I am working with several others to form a McAfee Institute for Healthy Congregations.
Mission: To provide resources to local church leaders to lead their churches in improved planning, implementation of new ministries, spiritual and numerical growth and ministry during church conflict.

The Institute will function through conferences, workshops, electronic resources, personal and group coaching, and consultations for church leaders to accomplish the following:

1. Envisioning/Revisioning Congregational Mission
Processes of planning that emphasize the congregation's opportunities to develop visions for its future with the guidance of consultants/coaches.

2. Leadership Development
Teaching congregational leaders (clergy and lay) how to accomplish the visions of the congregation in effective ways. Emphases on how to accomplish change, effective recruitment of volunteers, the work of Pastor/Staff Search Committees, and useful tools for administration will be offered.

3. Creative Conflict Ministry
Tools for understanding how conflict develops, levels of conflict in the church and the most appropriate strategies for concluding conflict.

4. Conflict Consultancy-The McAfee Network
A network of trained and experienced consultants to work with local churches has been organized and will be expanded through specialized training. Referrals to individual consultants will be made and each church will enter into written agreements for completion of consultancy relationships. The McAfee Institute for Healthy Congregations will provide referral only and is not accountable for the success or failure of any given consultant.

5. Leading Congregational Change
New visions often require change in the patterns of a given congregation. Attention will be given to the process of accomplishing change in ways that improve the overall health and effectiveness of the church in accomplishing its visions and goals.