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Patterson turns over SBC report to students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–To demonstrate that missions and evangelism are at the center of an education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Paige Patterson turned over his report time during the SBC annual meeting to testimonies from current students.

Patterson first showed videotaped interviews of students Adam Groza from California, Josh Rolf from Hawaii, Jack Rantho from Botswana and Leila Varnadeaux, who was born in the United Arab Emirates and raised Muslim before moving to Texas and converting to Christianity as a young girl.

Each student said the reason they went to Southwestern Seminary was because of its historic and continuing commitment to missions and evangelism training.

Patterson then introduced Philip Barber and Anthony Moore. Barber went to the podium and told how he first took illegal drugs at the age of 12, and before long was living the life of a high school dropout and junkie. He told messengers that he got saved through the witness of an off-duty police officer during Crossover Dallas prior to the SBC annual meeting in 1997. Now he is preparing for fulltime ministry.

“Southwestern is equipping students for a wide range of competencies,” Barber said. “Thank you for your gifts to the Cooperative Program.”

Moore quipped that he used to think that if he were ever to appear in front of so many people it would be on a professional basketball court. However, Moore said that God called him into fulltime ministry, and then to prepare for ministry at Southwestern Seminary. Now he coaches children at his church’s “Upward” basketball program while he pursues a master of divinity degree. As a black student, Moore said that he found an atmosphere at Southwestern that favored racial reconciliation.

Patterson summarized the Southwestern model for ministry training.

“We believe that properly done seminary education involves the ultimate in academic endeavor tied closely to world missions and evangelism,” Patterson said. “When you put it all together you have servants of God like these two young men who can be so uniquely used of God … Thank you, Southern Baptists, for the sacrifice you make in order to train the next generation of young men like these who will shake our world for Christ.”

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  • Brent Thompson