Dr. James F. Peak, Jr.
Dr. Peak’s first job in a congregation came during his sophomore year in college. While he was home on Thanksgiving break, the pastor of his home church asked if he would pull together Christmas musical presentations with the adult choir and youth choir, as the church’s long-tenured minister of music had retired. This opportunity ignited in Dr. Peak a desire to serve God in the church and he decided to transfer to Belmont College and major in music and continued to serve his home church for two years as interim minister of music. A summer youth ministry position followed this experience, after which Dr. Peak vowed to never again work with teenagers (he would later break this vow, however).
Dr. Peak’s final year at Belmont brought an opportunity to serve a small church as minister of music, where he learned two important and related lessons. First, he realized he very much liked working in the church, even while quickly learning he did not know what he was doing. Second, a wise mentor told Dr. Peak that the call to ministry and service in the church brought with it a call to preparation. Upon graduation, therefore, he enrolled at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville as a church music major. After seminary graduation, he served some marvelous churches in the Richmond area over a ten-year period before returning to school to work on a doctoral degree. Upon completing of his doctoral work, he worked at Bluefield College as director of the Bachelor of Christian Ministry degree program within the Division of Adult Continuing Education.
His experience in the church plus his work with under-prepared ministers and church workers at Bluefield prepared Dr. Peak to serve at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, an institution committed to seeking creative avenues to educate persons called to congregational ministry. He had the privilege of serving as the Vice President of Administration/ Chief Financial Officer there for twenty years. He considers it to have been the best environment in which he had the opportunity to work.