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In 2023, SEBTS equips students, churches to make disciples 

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — In 2023, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern witnessed God’s continued favor as students came from around the world to receive biblical and theological education from a Great Commission perspective. Equipped to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission, 537 graduates were sent out to make disciples in rural towns, urban centers, and hard-to-reach places around the world.  

These 2023 graduates represent hundreds of churches that partnered with Southeastern this past year to train men and women for ministry, and they now represent dozens of countries who are and will be reached with the gospel because of their obedience to King Jesus. 

As Southeastern prepared these students to be sent, the institution also witnessed record incoming classes and preview day participation as increasing numbers of undergraduate, graduate, and advanced students came to campus to experience what God has been doing at Southeastern. Southeastern also celebrated its largest year of charitable giving, receiving more than $7.1 million to fund its efforts to resource churches and train students to make disciples. 

Celebrating another year of God’s faithfulness, here are 8 highlights of Southeastern’s Great Commission efforts in 2023: 

Global Missions Week 

Southeastern hosted its annual Global Missions Week where students learned about upcoming mission trips through Southeastern; engaged with missionaries, pastors, and church planters; and learned about opportunities to serve with the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, as well as state conventions and other organizations. 

Military ministry training partnership 

Southeastern announced its partnership with MilSpo Co., a 501c3 Christian ministry that trains and mobilizes military spouses to make disciples in and around military installations worldwide. Through this partnership, Southeastern offers women in MilSpo Co. cohorts the opportunity to receive flexible theological education and ministry preparation from anywhere in the world. 

Training conferences on campus 

During the spring semester, Southeastern hosted its annual Exploring Personhood conference, casting a vision for how the Church can reach a culture indelibly shaped by science and technology. This year’s conference welcomed Christian scholars from various disciplines and was designed to help Christians develop a biblical perspective on human formation. 

A week later, more than 250 college students gathered on campus for the return of the Go Conference — a missions conference designed to mobilize college students for the Great Commission. This year’s conference focused on taking the next step of obedience and challenged students to say “yes” to Jesus’s commission, trusting him to empower them as his witnesses. 

First Persian Program graduation 

Over the summer, Southeastern celebrated the first graduation in its Persian Leadership Development program, honoring 23 Muslim-background believers in its first graduating class. The first of its kind, the Persian Leadership Development program provides strategically positioned Persian church leaders with access to fully accredited theological bachelor’s and master’s degrees completely in Farsi.  

Training for church and associational leaders 

Resourcing aspiring church re-planters and their wives, Southeastern hosted a two-day church replanting conference, highlighting strategies for replanting, offering biblical counsel, and answering common questions and concerns about replanting local churches.  

Southeastern also hosted its fifth annual Associational Mission Strategist conference to encourage and equip associational leaders for ongoing Great Commission ministry. This year’s conference focused on the priority of church renewal not only for addressing church decline in North America but also for developing partnerships to reach communities with the gospel. 

New certificate and curricular updates 

In the fall, Southeastern announced its new certificate in ministry to women, featuring several courses taught by Southeastern’s world-class women faculty. As a part of Southeastern’s larger efforts to equip women, the Go Certificate in Ministry to Women is a seven-course, self-paced certificate designed to train women to make disciples. 

Other notable curricular updates include: 

  • A new education minor as well as several revisions to the general core curriculum for The College 
  • A new Master of Education degree for graduate studies  
  • A new Master of Theology in applied theology with a concentration in theology and worship 
  • A new Doctor of Ministry in applied theology with a concentration in worship 
  • Two new Doctor of Education concentrations: organizational leadership and Christian ministry 

Faculty changes 

As Southeastern expanded its Great Commission efforts, the institution honored retiring faculty members, welcomed new faculty, and celebrated several staff and faculty changes. 

  • John Hammett, senior professor of systematic theology, retired after 28 years of teaching 
  • David Beck, professor of New Testament and Greek, retired after 28 years of teaching 
  • Al James, professor of missions, retired after 21 years of teaching 
  • Sam Williams, professor of counseling, retired after 23 years of teaching 
  • Nate Brooks was hired to faculty as associate professor of counseling 
  • Scott Pace was elected provost and dean of graduate studies 
  • Chuck Lawless was named director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership 
  • Seth Bible was elected vice president of undergraduate studies and dean of The College at Southeastern 
  • Steve McKinion and Tate Cockrell were installed as endowed chairs, McKinion as the John Leadley Dagg Chair of systematic theology and Cockrell as the Fulp Chair of biblical counseling 

To learn more about Southeastern, visit sebts.edu and collegeatsoutheastern.com where you can sign up for the Southeastern newsletter, read more about what is happening around campus, and find out how Southeastern can equip you to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission wherever God sends you. 

    About the Author

  • Chad Burchett/SEBTS