Major Spotlight: Religion

Barry Tryon, PhD, DMin, has been a professor of applied theology (the practical part of theological training) at Southern’s School of Religion for the past seven years. He was a graduate of the department back when Southern was still Southern Missionary College. While at SMC, he reunited with high school friend and married her. He then went to Andrews to master's and doctorate. He currently teaches Life & Teachings of Jesus, Intro to Ministry, Intro to Christian Leadership, Interpersonal Ministry, and Christian Spirituality. 

  • What are your thoughts to the stereotype that religion majors marry nursing majors? 
    It worked for me cause I married a nurse! But it really is a stereotype; I don’t think most theology majors go looking for a nurse. They just happen to see people they like who sometimes are nurses. I mean if you looked around the School of Religion professors here not everybody is married to nurses. I think it’s just a stereotype that people started to put, but it is a kind of fun one to talk about cause I married one.
  • Name one thing you like the most about your department.
    I love the colleagues that I work with, and I like the fact that we all have a very high view of Scripture. The Bible is important—it is the Word of God—and it needs to be treated and respected as the Word of God. That is really critical to me.
  • What do you and the other religion professors at Southern do other than teaching on campus?
    One of the big ones is that probably all of us get a chance to speak in our areas across the Southern Union, the North American Division, and even around the world. So we are good representation for Southern as we are asked to speak at camp meetings or week of prayers or professional meetings. Those in our school have been in quite a few communities with the General Conference. That one way of representing Southern. I think also we work well with the departments around us. There’s the biology and chemistry department that co-teach a couple of classes together. I help with the nursing department—not because of my wife—when they have a mock disaster practice. They bring in social workers, nurses, and they always give me a call to say, “Do you have some people who want to practice being a chaplain in an 'emergency situation'?" And the art department are brought in to make people look like they have big gashes. I think that’s just fun in working with the various departments and schools on campus to have a real good learning experience for the students.
  • What type of people would be a fit for the School of Religion?
    There needs to be a love for Jesus, a love for Scripture, and a desire in a church or chaplain or school setting to teach that. And I hope that everybody on campus, whatever their major, loves Jesus and wants to follow him. Specifically for a theology major who wants to work in a local church, you kind of have to have a love for people and decent communication skills.

To learn more about the School of Religion, contact Barry Tryon at or schedule an academic appointment through the Campus Visit office.

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