“It Meant Everything to Us”: Keith Myatt and the DMB Scholarship
Keith Myatt with his wife Heather and their three children (Kara Jane, Kendrick, and Hope).
Keith Myatt didn’t make it to the interview stage the first time he applied for a Dora Maclellan Brown Ministry Scholarship. For many candidates, that would have been the end of it. But not for Keith.
Transformed, then called
A Chattanooga native, Keith graduated from The McCallie School in 2007 and then the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2011. Although he was raised in a Christian home and grew up in Brainerd Baptist Church, his faith didn’t become real to him until college. During those formative years, Keith started going to Brainerd’s college ministry and began learning what it truly meant to know and follow Christ.
According to Keith, at 20 years old he experienced “an immediate transformation,” which was followed closely by a strong call to ministry. Shortly after, Keith met his wife Heather at church, and they were soon engaged and married. He then began his career in ministry by working with middle school students at Brainerd.
After two years, Keith felt a call to seminary, which took the couple to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina in 2014. At the time, he wasn’t altogether sure where the Lord was leading him. But after a year in seminary, one thing had become abundantly clear: the Myatts needed some financial aid.
Rejected but not dejected
Keith can’t remember a time when he wasn’t aware of The Generosity Trust (TGT) and their work. This is partly due to a personal connection: one of his childhood friends, Hamilton, was the son of Jim Barber, President of TGT.
“I’ve known Keith since we moved to Chattanooga in 2000,” said Jim. “He’s remarkably talented and also tremendously humble—a wonderful combination in a preacher/pastor.”
At Brainerd, Keith knew friends who had gone to seminary and received financial aid from TGT. They told him when the time was right, he should apply for one of their scholarships. After a year in seminary, Keith decided to apply for the Dora Maclellan Brown Ministry Scholarship. Since 1965, the scholarship has been awarded to students from the greater Chattanooga area who are studying for current or future ministry service.
But Keith interviewed in a very competitive class, and unfortunately, he did not receive a DMB scholarship that year. He felt it was at least partly due to the fact that he wasn’t able to clearly articulate his call. “It hadn’t been truly formed yet,” he said. Despite the rejection, Keith maintained a hopeful attitude.
“Even after receiving a rejection letter in the first round, it was still a blessed experience,” he said. “I knew it just wasn’t the right fit yet.” Although he wasn’t selected, the committee encouraged him to apply for the DMB scholarship again next year.
However, Keith did pursue and receive a Timothy Scholarship, which helped lighten the financial burden of seminary. Buoyed by the support, he then immersed himself in his second year of studies. That year was a season of tremendous maturity and growth for Keith. It was also the season, he says, when God formed his call for pastoral preaching.
“I knew that he’d called me to be a teacher of his word, to be a sharer of his truth to edify his saints,” he said. According to Keith, the seeds of his calling could be seen throughout his life.
“My greatest fulfillment and joy is when I’m able to share the truth of God’s word and it encourages somebody else just like it encourages me…whether it’s with my wife sitting at the dinner table, visiting with my mom when we go back home, or teaching in a small group at our church. It’s such a joy.”
“It meant everything to us”
After completing his second year of seminary, Keith decided to apply for the DMB scholarship again. This time, he had a much clearer idea of what it was God was preparing him for.
“I knew God had called me to be a pastoral preacher who taught his word by the power of his Spirit. I just remember sharing that with [the scholarship committee] with conviction and clarity and being so confident that God had done a huge work in my life.”
According to Jim Barber, the committee could sense the difference as well.
“The combination of the tremendous poise and maturity he exhibited in the interview, along with his clear call and commitment to being a world-changer…overwhelmed the committee,” said Jim. “They awarded him the largest scholarship of that year.”
When Keith received the call with the good news, he was floored.
“I just could not believe God’s blessing through this organization,” he said. “It meant everything to us. From a practical standpoint, it allowed me to continue full-time coursework. And it also allowed Heather to stay at home with our first-born child. Financially, it was everything that we needed.”
But the scholarship also had a profound spiritual impact on the Myatts’ lives as well.
“From a spiritual standpoint, we were in awe of God’s care for us and his providing hand. It’s just pretty amazing when, even down to the detailed numbers, he provides. We could go on and on about how special it was and how cared for we felt by the Lord.”
Preaching the word, in season and out
Keith went on to get his M.Div at SEBTS, and in 2019 he received a call from Third Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN, to be a Teaching Pastor. For the past two and a half years he has preached virtually every Sunday, an experience which he says has been “extremely challenging but extremely blessed.” He is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. at SEBTS in preaching.
As he considered the impact The Generosity Trust has had on his life and ministry, Keith was almost at a loss for words.
“We just felt like there was a true connection [with TGT], and they really cared for us. They were for us, you know? They believed in God’s calling on our lives, and they not only expressed it to us verbally but showed it to us through their investment in us.”
For Jim Barber, and for all of us at The Generosity Trust, that investment is an honor and a privilege.
“Many candidates who don’t make it to the interview stage never return,” said Jim. “Keith persevered, and our committee recognized God’s hand on his life. If he hadn’t returned, we would have never had the privilege of saying that Aunt Dora invested in him. That would have been our loss.”
The 2022 Deadline for Dora Maclellan Brown Scholarship applications is Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Please send completed applications to Jennifer Sheffield at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Dora Maclellan Brown scholarship and the work of The Generosity Trust, visit thegenerositytrust.org/scholarhips.
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