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MBTS celebrates 75th commencement exercises

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Two hundred sixty graduates from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College received their degrees on May 3 during the institution’s 75th commencement exercises. President Jason Allen led the ceremony, presenting diplomas to graduates and awarding recognitions to two faculty members.

After opening the ceremony with a word of welcome and a reading of Psalm 93, Allen said, “Men and women are going forward from this place, some in the marketplace, others in churches, still others to the mission field around the world.

“They have been equipped and are now being commissioned to honor Christ, share His Gospel, be faithful to His Word, and serve His people wherever they find themselves in their futures.”

Drawing his commencement address from Mark 6:7-13, Allen commended graduates to preach the Gospel of repentance. He said, “This passage speaks to all of us who name the name of Christ to be about the business of going and sending.”

Allen related several key aspects of the passage to the graduates and believers gathered at commencement, beginning by observing Christ’s call of the disciples and the preparation they had received through following Him.

“The needs of ministry and their personal development have brought them to the place where it is time to step out,” he said. “Every minister and follower of Christ faces that moment when they must step forward and name the name of Christ as a faithful witness.”

Noting the disciples’ lack of formal training and position, Allen highlighted that Jesus gave them His power for the mission and that He gives His power to all believers through their union with Christ. “Each one of you today who are graduating are in Christ and called by Him to serve Him. Understand your life not as willing to be sent, but as having been sent,” he said.

Identifying Christ’s instruction to pursue the mission in pairs, Allen focused on the companionship and mutual strengthening required for ministry. He spoke of the many friends made during seminary years, and he encouraged graduates to cultivate their friendships for lifelong encouragement and accountability.

Reminding graduates of God’s power, Allen said, “Wherever you go, you do not go alone. You go into a church that Christ is building. You go to be faithful to the name of Christ with the Spirit working in you and through you. He has gifted you, and He is with you. We have trained you, and we are with you. You do not go alone.”

Allen reminded graduates to be dependent and devoted to God despite opposition, saying, “The message of repentance that you’re about to preach will not resonate with everyone, but your call is to be faithful and courageous.”

Finally, Allen drew attention to the message of repentance Christ gave His disciples to preach. He outlined the Gospel from creation to redemption, culminating in Christ’s sacrificial death for sinners.

“He yielded His life for sinners, He was raised gloriously from the dead, and He ascended to heaven, but not before commissioning and promising to build His Church,” Allen said. “So here we are, 2,000 years later, pointing people to repent and believe that message of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.”

Allen encouraged the graduates to remember that at the very center of their endeavors, their call is to preach the gospel of Christ. He invited guests who do not know Christ to embrace Him as their Savior.

Following Allen’s address, degrees were awarded to 260 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level graduates of Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College. The graduates represented approximately 5,200 students enrolled at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College during the 2023-2024 academic year.

In addition to diplomas, awards were presented to two graduates during the graduation ceremony. Jeorge Hicks received the Spurgeon College For The Kingdom Award, and Trevor DeField received the Midwestern Seminary For The Church Award. These awards are presented annually to the members of the graduating class who achieved the highest grade point average of their respective degree levels.

Five additional graduates received awards at a recent chapel service. From Spurgeon College, Isaiah Callarman received the Spurgeon College Ministry Award, and Jackson Mohn received the Spurgeon College Marketplace Award. From Midwestern Seminary, Brandon Alley received the Midwestern Seminary Biblical Studies Award, Blake Patterson received the Midwestern Seminary Theological Studies Award, and Micah Bruner received the Midwestern Seminary Applied Theology Award.

To conclude the presentation of degrees, Allen delivered a charge to the graduates from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

Two faculty members received special recognitions at the commencement ceremony. Allen presented the annual Faculty Member of the Year Award to Bobby Sena, director of Spanish studies and professor of ministry.

Finally, Allen honored Charles W. Smith, Jr., former senior vice president of Institutional Relations and assistant professor of Christian leadership, for his 12 years of service to Midwestern Seminary. In March, Smith was elected to the presidency of the University of Mobile in Mobile, Ala.

The ceremony concluded with a prayer of benediction led by Travis Montgomery, assistant dean of Global Campus and assistant professor of Christian Studies at Midwestern Seminary.

To watch the graduation ceremony, click here.

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  • Michaela Classen