KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College celebrated hundreds of new graduates this fall, as the school held its 72nd commencement exercise Dec. 9.
After welcoming graduates and guests, President Jason Allen recognized God’s faithfulness in providing hundreds of new graduates to serve the Church and the Kingdom.
“This December’s graduating class is our largest December graduating class in this history of this seminary,” Allen said. “Today, all of us are joy-filled over these men and women, not only for who they are but who they represent, and what they are poised to do in serving on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Following his opening remarks, Allen delivered a message from Matthew 11. In these verses, as Allen explained, Jesus Christ gives the greatest invitation ever issued to a group of people. Jesus invites all to find their rest in Him.
He went on to explain this invitation as one of the great paradoxes of the Christian life. Christians are called to give their lives to Christ and to find their rest in Christ. Allen explained the need for this invitation in the current cultural moment.
He said, “There are many ways to describe America today, but perhaps more than anything else America strikes me today as a tired and exhausted people. Many ministers and churches strike me that way as well. We need to hear Jesus’ invitation this morning.”
He continued, “Jesus speaks to us amidst all the noise and exhaustion in the world and delivers this invitation as a promise. As we come to Christ, we find the rest our hearts desire. Those who know Christ know rest.”
Allen also gave a word of application for graduates, “Be busy about the work of ministry. We should be a people who, through our service and testimony, remain rooted in Christ and resting in Him.
“This morning, to the graduates, I say, this is the Savior you know and love and are devoted to serving. Don’t let this invitation fail to reverberate in your life and leadership.
“Understand that in God’s sovereignty, the task of leadership is not doing everything that needs to be done but raising up others to stand next to you and do the ministry alongside you.”
During the ceremony, more than 270 students received their diplomas, many of whom will begin to serve the Lord as pastors, missionaries and ministry leaders. More than 40 states and 13 countries were represented in the graduating class.
Alongside the continued growth in the school’s total enrollment, which now approaches 5,000 students, the number of graduates has also increased. The number of graduates at the December ceremony is up from the 244 students who graduated this time last year.
Allen gave a final word of encouragement to the graduates, reminding them of Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20. “God bless each one of you, and may this Commission from our Lord be your mission in life and ministry.”
Before concluding the ceremony, Allen shared a special institutional announcement of a newly endowed chair at Midwestern Seminary, the Rich and Judy Hastings Endowed Chair of Old Testament Studies.
“This couple has been committed to this institution for several decades, during my presidency and the previous two presidencies as well,” Allen said of the Hastingses. “Rich and Judy are not only friends to us and supporters of this institution in many ways, but they are faithful church members and active civic servants in the Kansas City area.
“It is such an honor to have your names on this endowed chair. The financial gift means a great deal to this institution, but the names on the endowed chair mean so much more. These names represent a genuine Christian testimony and lives devoted to this school and the students who train here.
“The discipline chosen for this endowed chair was not arbitrary. Rich and Judy have a profound love for the Old Testament and the Jewish people. This endowed chair is intentional and strategic.”
Rich Hastings spoke at the ceremony, expressing his love for Midwestern Seminary and his hopes for the endowed chair.
“Judy and I have spent our whole lives fighting antisemitism, in support of the Jewish people, and in witnessing throughout the world,” he said.
“If you don’t know the Hebrew Scriptures, it will be difficult to reach the Jewish people. That’s why it’s an honor today to establish this commitment to Old Testament Studies at Midwestern Seminary.”
An endowed chair is an enduring way to support a specific discipline of study and the training of students under the discipline of study. Over the past few years, Midwestern Seminary has announced several newly endowed chairs in the areas of New Testament Studies, Pastoral Leadership, Church History, and more. An endowed chair is not only about a financial investment but signifies a sense of stewardship from donors in the life of an institution.
Allen concluded the ceremony saying, “An endowed chair comes with the intent to see this institution thrive and conduct its ministry in faithfulness until our Lord returns. May the Lord bless this endowed chair to this end.”
To watch the graduation ceremony, visit here.