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Kevin Kompelien To Step Down as EFCA President To Lead Trinity International University Amid ‘Budget Challenges’

Kevin Kompelien
Screengrab via YouTube / @Evangelical Free Church of America

Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) president Kevin Kompelien will be stepping down from his role leading the denomination to become the new president of Trinity International University (TIU) in Deerfield, Illinois, the school announced on Tuesday, March 5.

The announcement came alongside the resignation of Dr. Nicholas Perrin, who had served as president of TIU—as well as of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), the seminary affiliated with the university—since 2019.

According to a news release, Perrin tendered his resignation on Feb. 15, effective Feb. 29.

“While the last year has seen significant changes at TIU, the school’s theological training remains highly valued by students and ministries within evangelical circles,” TIU said. “The Board of Regents has established a plan for the institution’s next steps and is steadfast in its commitment to deepening relationships with local churches and renewing its focus on Trinity Evangelical Divinity School as TIU’s top priority.”

TIU announced that the leadership transition will be accompanied by several other changes to address “immediate budget challenges.”

“These measures include closing Trinity College Online, Trinity Graduate School, TIU-Florida regional campus, and reducing the staff associated with these programs. Trinity Law School will continue to operate in Santa Ana, California,” the school said. “The difficult decision to close these programs enables the Board of Regents to position the ministry of TEDS for continued service to the evangelical church worldwide.”

Kompelien will assume his role as TIU’s 17th president on April 1.

TIU has been faced with ongoing financial challenges in recent years. In February 2023, the school announced that it would move its undergraduate programs fully online. While TEDS students continue to meet on campus, undergraduates had their last in-person classes in May 2023 when the spring semester concluded. The school also discontinued its athletic programs.

“We know this new direction will be unwelcome news for some, but we believe this course of action will enable us to better serve the global church more effectively,” Perrin said at the time. 

The decision to end in-person classes for undergrads came roughly one year after TEDS reduced its budget by nearly $1 million amid declining enrollment.

Notably, TEDS is not the only seminary to face financial challenges in recent years. In June 2023, trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas, revealed that the school was operating with a $140 million deficit—an average deficit of $6.67 million per year from 2002 to 2022.