Southeastern exemplifies ‘Great Commission classroom’ motto

By Harper McKay

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary exemplified its motto of “every classroom a Great Commission classroom” in hosting the Evangelical Missiological Society’s southeast regional meeting April 9.

With nearly 50 papers presented during the EMS meeting, Southeastern participants included the president and administration as well as seminary and college students at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

“EMS was a very good showing for [Southeastern],” said Scott Hildreth, director of the seminary’s Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) and assistant professor of global studies. “We had presentations from every section of our family.”

SEBTS President Danny Akin opened the meeting with his presentation, “I am Going to the Nations with my Local Church.” The remainder of the meeting included sessions on such topics as “History and Theology” and “Immigration and Diaspora,” all with the aim of addressing the theme of the local church and missions.

In partnership with the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, the meeting also included presentations on the question, “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?”

Southeastern presenters included Akin, two vice presidents, six faculty members, two staff members, two advanced degree students, one M.Div. student and one undergraduate student.

“Our motto of being a Great Commission school where every classroom and every discipline has a Great Commission focus was on display,” said Greg Mathias, CGCS associate director of international missions and assistant professor of global studies. “The array of topics our students, staff and faculty talked about was impressive. Subjects ranged from a theology of church, mission, God and spiritual warfare. We also presented on women’s issues, African-American issues, church planting and even some of our projects and initiatives.”

The EMS southeast regional meeting also included presenters from the International Mission Board, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Columbia International University, Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, Carolina Graduate School of Divinity, Lee University, Southeastern Bible College, Ivy Christian College, Ambassadors for Christ, AfricaCare, Christar, Raleigh Road Baptist Church and The Church at Brook Hills.

A professional society of missiologists, teachers, pastors and students, EMS holds a national conference and eight regional meetings throughout the United States and Canada each year to advance the Gospel by studying and evaluating mission concepts and strategies from a biblical perspective to communicate sound theory and practice to the local church and mission agencies around the world.

SBTS releases ministry workbook, redesigns magazine

By Annie Corser & Southern Seminary Communications

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The importance of faithfulness is underscored by professors and pastors in a new ministry workbook released by SBTS Press, a publishing imprint of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Meanwhile, the seminary has moved its alumni publication, Southern Seminary Magazine, into new print and digital formats.

In the new interactive workbook, titled “More Faithful Service,” President R. Albert Mohler Jr. notes in the opening essay that faithfulness is necessary for sharing the Gospel, caring for people and devotion to one’s family and the Savior.

“Ultimately, the pastor’s calling is a call to serve the people of God in faithfulness. And that call requires the pastor to commit himself and his ministry to the Scripture and to the faith delivered to the saints,” Mohler writes. “The pastor who gives his mind and heart to the Bible will serve with greater effectiveness and greater faithfulness.”

The workbook is a sequel to Southern’s previous interactive workbook, “The Call to Ministry.”

“The book is designed to encourage reflection and interaction,” said Steve Watters, SBTS vice president for communications. “It includes questions to respond to and blank spaces where readers can capture thoughts raised by the essays and Scripture passages. Even the digital version will include a writable PDF for this purpose.”

The book is divided into sections on faithfulness, persistence and excellence, with lessons and strategic plans for pastors to put in place toward becoming more faithful to their tasks, project editor Matt Damico said.

“It’s likely that there will be pastors reading this book who are in the midst of deep discouragement, in a season of incredible fruitfulness and vitality, or in doubt about their own fitness for ministry,” said Damico, associate pastor of worship at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. “I hope this book can encourage all of them to keep their hands to the plow and stay faithful.”

Additional contributors include Hershael W. York, the Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching at Southern and senior pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky., and Daniel S. Dumas, senior vice president for institutional administration.

“The strongest churches in America are those who have enjoyed continuous, persistent, and strong pastoral leadership,” York writes in the workbook. “The most obvious common denominator is that leaders persisted and stayed long enough to harvest the vision they planted. People trust leaders they believe will be there in the future.”

York contributed two articles, discussing marks of a pastoral leader and reasons to plant and stay in a church. Dumas’ essay encourages ministers constantly to pursue excellence in their life and ministry.

Other titles in the SBTS Press guidebook series are “A Guide to Church Revitalization,” “A Guide to Biblical Manhood,” “A Guide to Adoption and Orphan Care,” “A Guide to Expository Ministry” and “A Guide to Evangelism.”

More Faithful Service is available in print and digital editions at sbts.edu/press.

For Southern Seminary Magazine, its spring issue marks a prominent transition, featuring expanded content on faculty and alumni while offering an innovative online version. The magazine also has changed its release schedule from quarterly to biannual for the 84th volume in its history.

“The new magazine format provides us a better avenue for telling the Southern story well,” Watters said. The free online edition, available at sbts.edu/resources/magazine, is responsive to all digital devices, contains a linked table of contents, and adapts many of the design features found in the print version.

The new issue of the magazine includes feature articles on two leaders with significant contributions to the seminary’s recent history: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a benefactor whose donation made possible the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization, and Greg Thornbury, president of The King’s College in New York City and a two-time Southern alumnus. The issue also includes a thematic section exploring the future of Christian higher education in light of the sexual revolution’s challenges to federal funding for religious schools.

With its roots in 1888, the final year of founder James P. Boyce’s presidency, Southern Seminary Magazine has experienced a number of changes, not unlike the institution it represents. In the 1930s, “Southern Seminary News” released six issues a year, then starting in 1951 it was called “The Tie,” after the well-known John Fawcett hymn “Blest Be the Tie that Binds.” The publication became Southern Seminary Magazine in 1994 after R. Albert Mohler Jr. assumed the seminary’s presidency.

The SBTS communications office has promoted S. Craig Sanders to executive editor of the magazine, following the departure of James A. Smith Sr., who is now vice president of communications for the National Religious Broadcasters. Sanders, who served as managing editor of the magazine for six issues, began his new role as director of news and information March 1. Prior to Southern, he worked in local television news for six years, most recently WDRB-TV in Louisville.

    About the Author

  • SBC Seminary Staff & Baptist Press Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Harper McKay of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Annie Corser of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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