KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College celebrated another record-breaking number of graduates this spring, as the school held its 71st commencement exercises May 6.
Noting the seminary has experienced an increased number of graduates each year since 2012, Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen began this year’s ceremony celebrating God’s faithfulness in providing hundreds of new graduates set to serve the Church and the Kingdom.
In his opening remarks, Allen said, “We believe this ceremony is more than an academic event; it is a spiritual event. As such, it is a delight to honor each of our graduates this morning with tremendous hopefulness in what God will do through them in the many years and decades to come.
“Today, we recognize that we are a Southern Baptist institution that exists to serve churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. As a confessional institution, we believe the Bible is our foundation, the Great Commission is our call, and that Lord Jesus Christ is building His Church. We rejoice today that these graduates have not come here despite our doctrinal commitments, but because of them.”
Allen went on to address graduates from Proverbs 3:5-6, saying, “In the midst of economic fear, cultural change, religious liberty concerns and global tumult, the world these graduates are going into may indeed look daunting. But that’s a world in which it’s exhilarating to represent the Lord Jesus Christ.
“These verses in Proverbs remind us that God is not distracted, too busy or disinterested in you. He has a perfect plan for you that will take you to a place you could never imagine, to sacrifice for Him in ways you did not expect, to honor Him in ways you never thought possible and to find joy amid circumstances you could never have deemed possible. God is not merely directing your way; He has designed your path.”
During the ceremony, more than 300 students from 40 states and 11 countries received their diplomas, many of whom will begin to serve the Lord as pastors, missionaries and ministry leaders. This year’s graduating class represented one of the most diverse degree presentations in the seminary’s history, including 29 different degrees awarded at the ceremony.
Spurgeon College graduate Grace B. said the day was a time to reflect on the ways God has worked in her life.
“I was honored to walk alongside the life-long friends I have made at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College,” she said.
After recognizing each graduate, Allen announced Sung Jin Park as the recipient of the 2021-2022 Midwestern Seminary Professor of the Year Award. As dean of Asian studies and associate professor of biblical studies, Park has faithfully served not only in his academic roles, but in the church, having previously served Cincinnati Chinese Church and Arlington Chinese Church. He is the author of several books focused on the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Isadore and Goldie Millstone Fellowship.
Before concluding the ceremony, Allen gave a final word of encouragement to the graduates. “To each one of these men and women before me, you’ve accomplished a great task that has been recognized today,” he said. “But that’s not the end, it’s just the beginning. The Great Commission is now before you. Remember, though, you are not alone. Not only do you have family, friends, and churches behind you every step of the way, but the Lord is with you to the very end.”