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SBC-Affiliated Seminary Accuses Former President of Excess Spending, $1.5 Million on Home Renovations

By Josh Shepherd
SWBTS spending greenway
Adam Greenway, former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, resigned in September 2022. (Courtesy Photos)

The former president of a prominent Southern Baptist seminary in north Texas spent $1.5 million in home renovations and tens of thousands more in unchecked spending, according to a report from the institution. 

On Wednesday, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas, released findings of a task force convened last fall to investigate “improper stewardship” uncovered in “spending habits” by past president Adam Greenway, who resigned in September.

The task force found a years-long pattern of excessive spending by Greenway, including “over $1.5 million spent on renovations, furnishings, and related expenses to the President’s home” during his three-year tenure. Examples cited in the report included $59,865.79 for Christmas decorations, more than $25,000 for artwork, and $11,123.49 for an espresso machine.

The report stated “over $500,000 was spent on the President’s office” during a months-long period starting in summer 2020 during the COVID pandemic. Additionally, the task force found several “improper expenses” by Greenway or people he authorized to use his seminary credit card. These included $9,936.05 in first-class flights for Greenway’s family and a family friend to Anaheim, Calif., for the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting and $4,850.51 for framing Greenway’s diplomas. 

Greenway’s pattern of excessive spending occurred during a time of “significant budget cuts,” as the seminary faced rounds of faculty and staff layoffs, the report added. 

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It also noted that “a significant amount of the work done on the President’s home was carried out by the seminary’s facilities team, creating an unsustainable demand, and contributing to poor morale and high turnover.” Employees reportedly were “often asked to do the same job multiple times to meet Greenway’s demanding expectations.” And there were “multiple change orders” with outside contractors, “increasing the cost of the projects,” the report stated.

The SWBTS Board said it grieves the “pattern of poor stewardship evident in this summary of the task force’s findings.” It added, “We wish to express our gratitude to those seminary employees who sought to enforce existing policies and challenge the pattern of spending noted above, even as their efforts were met with resistance.” 

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Greenway, but he declined to comment. 

Ministry watchdog calls spending ‘insane’

Southwestern is one of six seminaries affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. These six institutions benefit from the cooperative funding of SBC churches nationwide. 

swbts seminary spending
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo via Facebook)

SWBTS has about 2,400 full-time and part-time students, a drop of 47% in the past 20 years, according to data from the Association of Theological Schools. 

Along with the task force summary findings, Southwestern officials also released audited seminary financials for fiscal years 2002 to 2022.

For the period during Greenway’s tenure, annual expenses for the seminary increased from $38 million in 2019 to $42.7 million in 2022. 

Nonprofit financial analyst Barry Bowen of Trinity Foundation in Dallas, whose now-deceased father attended Southwestern in the 1960’s, commented on the examples of excess spending reported by the SBC seminary. 

“It’s insane for a respected Christian educational institution to have expenses like this,” Bowen stated. He noted that spending large amounts of donor funds on personal remodeling projects is common for televangelists, but he doesn’t know how common they are at Christian colleges and universities. 

Years of difficulties, declines at Southwestern

In recent years, SWBTS has experienced financial and leadership difficulties. Disgraced former seminary president Paige Patterson was fired in 2018 after a series of controversies that drew national attention. 

Greenway succeeded him, and said when he resigned three years later that he had not been prepared for the enormity of the “legal and financial realities” facing the seminary.

David Dockery, formerly head of two other Christian educational institutions, was installed as SWBTS president in April. 

The report released Wednesday included a statement from SWBTS Board of Trustees chairman Danny Roberts, who said that seminary leaders are “committed to every appropriate measure that will ensure proper stewardship.” 

Roberts noted some additional “financial guardrails” are being put in place, including the chairman’s office reviewing expense reports every quarter. The statement added that publishing the task force’s summary findings provides “as much transparency as possible.” 

Bowen said he’s skeptical the new measures alone will change SWBTS’ trajectory. 

“Proper controls may lessen fraud and other financial abuses, but they often fail when executives know how to abuse the system,” said Bowen. “Ultimately, Christian institutions need to do a better job of screening employees and executives before they are hired.”

Next week, thousands of Southern Baptist administrators, pastors, and lay leaders will gather in New Orleans for the SBC Annual Meeting. Leaders of SWBTS and the other five Southern Baptist seminaries are expected to provide updates on their finances and future plans.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C. area.




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9 thoughts on “SBC-Affiliated Seminary Accuses Former President of Excess Spending, $1.5 Million on Home Renovations”

    1. Shelly Ann Moon

      Apparently their job is to perpetuate the good old boy club and allow SBC leaders to run amok.

  1. All I can say is what Peter and Jude warned us in their epistles !





    if that isn’t clear enough then the sheep must lose it all and give their lives to Satan where none of their sacrifice is redeemable or rewardable

    But worse condemned ! As written in 2nd John !

    Even giving Godspeed to one of these is literally equatable to PARTAKING in their EVIL deeds!

    That should pretty much settle it for God said wrote it in stone and settled it !

    If you’ve been deceived then it’s your fault ! For you never heard his voice his warnings

    The wolves can’t eat us if we come blindly to the table of ravenous wolves such as this one among many many more !


    And oh how they have taken over most churches especially Mega churches of today !

  2. ….hard working people give generously to all this religious organizations while the ministers, pastors, televangelists…live extraordinarily rich immoral lives.

    1. Tim only because the sheep are brainwashed into believing if you don’t give and give abundantly, you’re going against God. somewhere the evangelical industrial complex left out the “cheerful giver” part. I have heard that line toooooooooooo many times. very sad for those who still believe the 10% tithe rule. most mega church leaders use that as the main focus. Just look at Copeland and his ilk. AND people going weekly and dump their money more out of fear than righteousness. or expecting a return vs gladly giving out of love. And to the “10% is biblical people” ahhh no. Go to you tube. a lot of godly teachers break down why its OT stuff. Never even knew of the 10% rule until the eighties when the prosperity gospel hooligans hit the airwaves. ever wonder why they all have such pretty dresses and makeup and expensive suits?

  3. If the board is serious about effective stewardship that will really make a difference and permanently stop the plundering they should drop the quarterly expense review and change it to monthly with a 5 day period at months end to assemble a complete report so immediate changes can occur.
    Quarterly expense reviews are worthless because the money is long gone before anything can be done about it. Why should Christian accounting practices be any different than small business, large business or the corporate world

    1. And put a couple of tough stay-at-home moms on the committee. Those ladies know how to spot unneccessary spending and stay on a budget.

  4. Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the tip of the iceberg in dealing with highly monetized leadership. Christian ministry is a service, it is not a means to gain influence or wealth. Pastors should, of course, be compensated fairly, but comparisons to the income of worldly professions is utterly wrong.

    If a person is more likely to choose a higher paid worldly position over a Christian one, then the solution is not to raise income for that position to compete, but to search for the godly man/woman who will choose that position over a worldly career.

    (Note that my argument above is focused on those at the top of leadership, not those at the bottom. It’s focused on the head pastors and seminary presidents, not upon the janitors or people in administration. Christian organisations should always pay their lower staff at a liveable rate)

  5. I’m shocked at the inclination of the conservative camp to openly criticize the prosperity “gospel” all the while…

    And no, that’s not an endorsement of prosperity teaching by any means. If anything, it is observing that all humans are depraved beyond our understanding and ability to regulate.

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