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Midwestern Seminary Executive Board reaffirms Midwest focus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees have reaffirmed the heartland as home for the Kansas City-based seminary, rebuffing rumors of a relocation to another state. Trustee members of the Campus Planning and Building Committee met Oct. 7 to draft a resolution affirming the vision of the seminary to impact the Midwest/Great Plains region. Also approved by the Executive Committee, the statement will be presented to the full board for ratification at the regular trustee meeting of Oct. 16-17.

Committee chairman Reagan Bradford of Edmund, Okla., said the resolution was partly in response to rumors, which have been circulating, that Midwestern might merge with another Southern Baptist seminary and relocate outside of the Kansas City, Missouri, area.

Locations such as Colorado Springs, Denver, and Las Vegas have been among the sites mentioned in the various rumors. While some individuals have talked about a number of possibilities, Bradford said, “This was the first time our trustees have talked about this idea. We felt the need to speak quickly and clearly that we believe God has placed this seminary in Kansas City by choice not by chance. Our passion for prairie fire in the Midwest/Great Plains has not gone out,” he insisted. “We have no intention of changing that.”

“Our board is considering a number of new possibilities, including a new campus 15 minutes from the old campus in Kansas City,” said board chairman Carl Weiser of Lynchburg, Va. “We have received many suggestions, including the merger-relocation idea. After thinking about it, we do not see the possibility of a merger or relocation, for all the reasons set out in the resolution.”

The text of the resolution reads:

“Having prayerfully considered the suggestion that MBTS merge with another seminary and relocate the main campus outside the Midwest, the Executive Committee of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary respectfully rejects the suggested merger and relocation as being neither desirable nor feasible. The Board of Midwestern Seminary is fully devoted to the vision and mission of theological education in the Midwest, based in Kansas City, as assigned by the Southern Baptist Convention. We believe this is God’s will for MBTS.

“The Board of Midwestern Seminary is enthusiastic about the accomplishments of our faculty and students in advancing our mission to the Heartland from the Kansas City campus. Midwestern’s current student growth, faculty strength and financial health are positive indicators that provide every reason for thanksgiving and no reason for worry about the future of theological education in Kansas City. We are always willing to consider new opportunities, strategies or partnerships with other SBC agencies, wherever the Lord leads. We believe the Lord wants Midwestern to maintain her focus on the Midwest/Great Plains region of the United States while also maintaining a heart for the world.

“The Board of trustees wishes to assure faculty, staff and students of our heartfelt commitment to them and to the Heartland. The Board directs the Campus Planning/Building Committee to continue to study and pursue opportunities for real estate development and construction of facilities in Kansas City, which will enhance our growth and our mission accomplishment in the Midwest and around the world.

“The MBTS Board expresses its gratitude for each of the other SBC seminaries. There is no disapproval of any sister seminary implied in our decision not to pursue merger or relocation. We welcome every opportunity for new partnerships and cooperation that will help each seminary to accomplish its unique mission. The MBTS Board further encourages the staff and faculty to continue to seek opportunities for projects and partnerships with SBC seminaries, missions boards and other entities to help accomplish our mission in the Midwest and around the world, and to help in the fulfillment of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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  • Tammi Reed Ledbetter