News Articles

SBC DIGEST: SWBTS to provide full ride for missionaries; Lifeway help for disaster-stricken churches

SWBTS announces 100 percent scholarship for IMB missionaries

By Ashley Allen/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Calling it a “historic new initiative,” Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Adam W. Greenway announced in a video released Thursday (August 11) that beginning with the fall 2022 semester, the Fort Worth institution will provide a full tuition scholarship to all International Mission Board missionaries enrolled in the seminary’s master’s degrees and doctoral programs.

“Our mission is to penetrate the darkness of lostness around the globe with the light of the Gospel, and we are committed to lowering financial barriers to that service while providing the very best theological education to prepare you to live your calling for more faithful service,” Greenway said. “We believe that those of you who have given your lives to serving on the frontlines around the world are worthy of this type of investment on our part so that you may, indeed, fulfill your calling.”

Joined in the video by IMB President Paul H. Chitwood, Greenway also announced students who are current IMB applicants who have yet to receive appointments will have 100 percent of their tuition covered for a 36-hour Master of Theological Studies degree, which meets the mission board’s theological education requirements for missionary appointment.

Chitwood noted theological education is “one fundamental mark” required of IMB missionaries who serve on the mission field. He called Southwestern Seminary’s tuition announcement an “unprecedented step” as the institution makes “theological education more accessible and more affordable for those who are preparing to serve on the mission field as well as for those who are already serving on the mission field.”

Greenway said a “trained missionary force is a more effective missionary force,” while also noting the tuition scholarship “is made possible because of generous ministry partners who support Southwestern Seminary.”

Since its founding in 1908, Southwestern Seminary has trained more missionaries for service through the IMB than any other seminary in Southern Baptist history. Chitwood said the IMB has “sent many Southwesterners to the nations through the IMB” and through the new tuition scholarship he believes that “we’re about to send many more.”

Chitwood added, “I’m certain that this full tuition scholarship for IMB missionaries, and those in the appointment process, will result in more missionaries getting overseas with more training, more quickly, and more free of financial worries, all for the purpose of them being more effective at getting the Gospel to more people.” He encouraged existing missionary personnel and candidates who are trying to meet the IMB’s theological education requirements to “take advantage of this historic opportunity” at Southwestern Seminary.

Greenway concluded with the affirmation that both Southwestern Seminary and the IMB “seek to send out the next generation of missionaries who will reach the world with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ” through the “new partnership.”

Southwestern’s fall 2022 academic semester begins August 15.

More information about the tuition scholarship, and the application process to Southwestern Seminary, can be found at swbts.edu/imb.

Lifeway provides help for churches affected by natural disasters

By Aaron Earls/Lifeway

NASHVILLE (BP) – Natural disasters impact homes, schools and businesses, but they also damage church buildings and parsonages. During these times of recovery, Lifeway Christian Resources has established multiple ways to walk beside pastors and congregations.

As churches in Kentucky look to emerge from the recent deadly flooding in their state, Lifeway is aiming to help those impacted.

Since 2008, Lifeway has established a disaster assistance program that helps churches recover resources lost during natural disasters. “When disaster strikes, we want pastors and churches to know we’re here for them and want to come alongside them in their time of need,” said Ben Mandrell, Lifeway president and CEO. “Replacing some of the resources they’ve lost is a tangible way for Lifeway to show we care about them and their ministries.”

Southern Baptist pastors affected by the flood can receive core resources for their library, including a “CSB Study Bible” and study tools. Churches can also apply for replacement of one quarter’s worth of Lifeway-published ongoing curriculum materials. In addition, specific discounts on pew Bibles, hymnals, books and other Lifeway resources are available for affected churches.

Since 2022, Lifeway has helped several churches and one state convention during recovery from disasters such as fires, flooding and tornados. One congregation that received assistance was First Baptist Cedar Valley near Salado, Texas. In April, an EF-3 tornado ripped through the area between Waco and Austin damaging or destroying more than 70 buildings, including First Baptist’s building.

“The tornado wiped out everything,” Cedar Valley pastor Donnie Jackson told the Southern Baptist Texan. “It’s a difficult time for us. A lifetime of memories. What held those memories is now gone.”

While the church is in the process of rebuilding its facility, Lifeway has already provided Jackson with some replacement resources for what was lost in the tornado. “Lifeway supplied a very nice Bible for the pastor’s library and several other books,” said Linda Jackson, Donnie’s wife. “We appreciate all [Lifeway] did.”

Pastors and churches recovering from a natural disaster can email [email protected]. After collecting names and contact information, Lifeway will coordinate with the pastors to find the best way to provide them and their congregations with the needed resources.

Additionally, Lifeway is encouraging employees to volunteer for disaster relief efforts with Send Relief and Southern Baptist disaster relief teams in their state. Lifeway is offering paid time off for those seeking relevant training or serving with Send Relief in affected areas.