WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – The coronavirus pandemic has certainly made for one of the most challenging and unique years in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) history. Despite being unable to meet in person for graduation ceremonies due to the pandemic, family and friends gathered virtually Friday (Dec. 11) to celebrate the school’s 274 fall graduates – 39 from the undergraduate level, 190 from the graduate level and 45 from the advanced level.
President Danny Akin addressed graduates from the rotunda of Stealey Hall, SEBTS administrative building, congratulating them on their accomplishment and encouraging them to remain engaged in the mission to reach all people with the Gospel.
“My prayer is that your time at Southeastern has instilled in you the Great Commission DNA,” Akin told graduates, “so that wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be on Great Commission mission for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Akin also provided graduates with a challenge from 2 Corinthians 9:15, which says, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” The indescribable gift Paul is referring to is the gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ, Akin said. The love that Christ demonstrated on behalf of sinful humanity should be demonstrated by all believers in all spheres of life. Akin challenged graduates to serve wherever God calls them fueled by gratitude for this indescribable gift.
Deans from undergraduate, graduate and advanced degrees addressed their graduates during the service as well, bringing a word of encouragement.
“In some ways you’re crossing the finish line, but in other ways you’re still kneeling at the starting blocks of a new race,” Scott Pace, dean of The College at Southeastern, told college graduates. “You’re heading into this next chapter and as you do, I pray that whatever you do, you’ll work at it with your whole heart as working for the Lord and not for men.”
Keith Whitfield, dean of graduate studies, celebrated the accomplishment of master’s level graduates saying, “As you leave Southeastern Seminary, you go out as an ambassador of that ministry of reconciliation, and we can’t wait to see how God uses you.”
Chuck Lawless, dean of doctoral studies, gave a three-fold challenge to advanced level graduates, urging them not to let their degrees become a source of pride, not to forget the nations and to let prayer become part of their spiritual DNA. Lawless described prayer as “both a cry for relationship with God and a confession of dependence on Him,” and concluded the service with a prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21.
Watch the full graduation service below.