KANSAS CITY (BP) — Celebrating graduates amid the Christmas season, the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College community recognized its students’ hard work, dedication and perseverance, as the school held commencement exercises Dec. 10.
“This is the 70th commencement exercise in Midwestern Seminary’s history,” said Midwestern President Jason Allen in his opening remarks. “This is not like an ordinary commencement service; it is a worship service. We are here to celebrate graduates and honor our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Further, we are a Southern Baptist institution which means we are a confessional institution, committed to our 45,000-plus local congregations. We believe the Bible is the Word of God, we take sound doctrine seriously, and we are committed to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and fulfilling the Great Commission. Echoes of these commitments are heard throughout our service. That is intentional. We are not reluctant; we do so wholeheartedly.”
During the ceremony, 224 students were conferred degrees and began their ministry service as the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and ministry leaders. Alongside continued growth in the school’s total enrollment, which now exceeds 4,000 students, the number of graduates has also increased. The number of fall graduates in 2021 is up from the 203 students who graduated this time last year.
Midwestern Seminary also celebrated a noteworthy milestone during the commencement ceremony, as 29 ministry leaders earned their Spanish Language Certificates.
Following his opening remarks, Allen introduced Steve Dighton, founding pastor of Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, Kan., as the ceremony’s guest speaker. In introducing Dighton, Allen expressed gratefulness for the ongoing investment of time and resources by Steve and his wife Mary to Midwestern Seminary.
Dighton based his commencement address to the seminary and college graduates on the apostle Paul’s charge in 1 Corinthians 4 concerning faithful stewardship in ministry service.
Dighton’s first encouragement from the scriptural text was for graduates to consider God’s calling on their lives to serve faithfully.
“Paul understood what you must understand,” Dighton said. “It is enough to be considered as a servant of God. We are not merely professionals or proud of being the most educated man in any room. Instead, we are servants of God. Is that how you will be remembered? Is that enough for you?”
Secondly, Dighton encouraged graduates to succeed in their stewardship. “The matter of stewardship is no small matter,” Dighton said. “We will build a reputation on how well we handle what God has entrusted to us.”
Dighton added that the text refers specifically to the ministry leader’s stewardship of the Gospel, saying, “We do handle holy things. We handle the precious and powerful truth of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a calling! Until you walk in humility, devoid of pride, pretense, and hubris, you will never effectively steward the Gospel. Today, we need sober-minded, humble servants who can find great delight in diligently doing the work of God.”
Dighton concluded the commencement address urging graduates to remain faithful. “Don’t falter in your faithfulness,” he said. “It is an imperative, a divine decree: wherever God is calling you, you must be found faithful. Before long, you will find yourself in a situation where it will seem easier to quit. I am admonishing you today: don’t do it.”
“At the end of it all, the question will be, ‘Were you faithful?’ God is concerned about your faithfulness, and you need to be as well. Consider your calling, succeed in your stewardship, and don’t falter in your faithfulness.”