DR. Jay Givens


Dr. Jay Givens
Professor of Religion

Director of Religion Virtual Campus


1900 West 7th  Street, CMB 1276

Plainview, Texas 79072

(806) 291-1166     Fax: (806) 291-1969


Office:  FBB 104
Email Dr. Givens



Short biography:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas, 2000 (major – theology; minor – missions)
  • Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas, 1993 (church history and theology concentrations)
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, 1989
  • Licensed to the ministry by North Orange Baptist Church, Orange, Texas, 1989
  • Personal Information
    • Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana; grew up in Orange, Texas
    • Married Lucy Kyle Hancock in 1992
    • Sons, Christian Holliman and Isaac Walker, attend Hale Center High School

(Read his full biography here)

Personal Narrative

God has called me to serve at Wayland Baptist University—how else can I explain it?  I remember my first encounter with Wayland.  As a freshman in college, I was on vacation with my family driving from Amarillo to San Angelo.  Traveling down I-27, I distinctly recall seeing the large green sign saying, “Wayland Baptist University, Next Right,” and thinking to myself, “Who would want to go to school here?!”  After all, I was from Southeast Texas, with tall pine trees so thick they blocked the sky, a river for waterskiing ten minutes away, and the Gulf of Mexico just an hour away.  Nothing at all like the caprock!  Little did I know then that I would one day teach at that very school.

Providence continued to push me toward Wayland as I worked on my doctorate.  While teaching theology courses in Lubbock at a Southwestern seminary extension, one of my students told me I really ought to look into a position at the Wayland Lubbock center.  Then, in the early summer of 2000, a professor I knew at Howard Payne told me that he’d heard from a friend that Wayland might have a position at its Hawaii campus.  I didn’t pay too much attention to either individual, thinking they didn’t know what they were talking about and probably those positions were adjunct at best.  Little did I know at the time that Wayland had so many external campuses with many fulltime faculty and staff.

Then, in the late summer of 2000, as I was nearing completion of my dissertation, I noticed a job opening posted in the doctoral student carrels for a religion instructor at the Hawaii Campus of Wayland Baptist University.  Since I was looking for a teaching position, I quickly called the number and was disappointed to get a wrong number.  The World Wide Web was still very new at the time, so I may have been the only job-hungry doctoral student who thought about using it to look up the number for the Hawaii Campus.  I discovered the student worker who wrote the post had written the Lubbock/Plainview area code 806 instead of the Hawaii area code of 808!  I called, received an interview and immediate job offer and away I went to the Hawaii Campus of Wayland that I thought was non-existent!

In 2003, as Lucy and I felt we needed to move back to the mainland to be closer to family, I applied for various job openings but no school seemed interested to fly me out for an interview.  I had talked some to the dean of the Lubbock Campus about a possible job opening, but he told me the position didn’t make it into the budget that year as he hoped.  Lucy and I prayed about the situation and really felt God leading us to move back to the mainland, so I finally resigned my position with Wayland and we moved back in May 2003, without a job.  Almost as soon as we moved in with Lucy’s parents, however, I received a call from the Lubbock dean that a business position had suddenly opened up and he had decided to convert it to a religion position.  So I went to interview with him and was immediately offered a position.  In all, there was a two month gap in my service with Wayland.  In 2007, I accepted an offer to become the dean of the Altus Campus, and then in 2012 I finally came full circle to that green information sign when I accepted the professor of religion and duties to direct the online religion programs at the main campus in Plainview.  Through it all, God had his hand on this incredible adventure.


What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

As crazy as it may sound, my favorite book is also one of the shortest books of the Bible.  I love the book of Philemon!  In merely 25 verses you have the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You have the story of discovered faith, as Onesimus, a runaway slave, comes to faith in Jesus Christ and receives the forgiveness of God.  You also have the story of reconciliation, as Paul asks Onesimus’s master, Philemon, to forgive Onesimus, to welcome him as a brother, and even to liberate him from his servitude.  And as I imagine the ending, that this Onesimus is the same man as the bishop of Ephesus a few decades later by the same name, you have the story of Christian growth and service, as this individual matured in his faith and became a servant to his region where once he was a slave on the run.  That is the power of the good news of Jesus our Christ!

When I’m not in the Flores Bible Building, I love to . . .

Go camping and hiking, read, play video games with my sons

What person in history do you wish you could sit down with for a conversation?

Since Augustine of Hippo shaped Western Christianity more than any other Christian, I would think it would be fascinating to sit down with him and discuss many different topics on which I agree and disagree with him and learn from him.

What animal best describes you?

Australian Shepherd.  They are intelligent and hard working.  They care about the animals they are to herd and guide them to where they are to go.  They also are very energetic and always wanting to know everything that is going on.  In the same way, I care about my students and my curiosity sometimes get my nose in places it doesn’t belong!

Why are you glad to be part of the Wayland family?

As I shared in my personal narrative, there was a time in life when I thought, “Wayland?!?  Who would want a plain view?!”  Over the years of service at her various campuses, however, I have grown to love this institution because of its mission and vision.  Wayland truly lives by the message on the university seal, to go into all the world in order to let there be light, both the light of education and, more importantly, the gospel.  Wayland faculty and staff, regardless of the campus, truly seek to educate students in a Christian environment for service to God and humankind.  There might be local flavors to that mission, but that is only window dressing to the same heart and the character of service in education.  And I honestly LOVE to see the spark of understanding come alive in the eyes of my students.  When you see that, it makes even a plain view glorious to behold.  And when you are part of the family that is Wayland, you know that you are home.


                                                        Dr. Givens as a college student

                              Can you find Dr. Givens in this group of college students?