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Shout Gospel ‘from the rooftops,’ Patterson tells seminary students

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–At the close of every school year, President Paige Patterson commissions hundreds of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary students to foreign and domestic mission work with an air of triumph, a word of encouragement and a note of sadness.

But no matter how many sold-out servants for Christ Southeastern’s missionary fervor turns out, the sending service never becomes routine for Patterson.

“You have been called to go behind enemy lines and take beachheads and do what others have said is impossible to do,” Patterson told the students. “I am simply amazed.”

Patterson and the Southeastern faculty commissioned those students in a year-end chapel service on May 15, during which he challenged them to “do ministry in the plain light of day.”

Nineteen units will be going out this summer from Southeastern to East Africa, South America and Asia as part of the “two-plus-two” church planting program in which students study for two years in Wake Forest and then spend two years on a foreign soil, doing the work of the Great Commission.

Seventeen other units will be going out across North America to plant churches, from New Hampshire to Las Vegas, Delaware to Florida, and many more places in between.

Hundreds more students will be heading out on short-term trips across the globe with one distinct purpose: win souls to Jesus Christ. Patterson advised the students not to be reckless, but also not to be shy about sharing the Gospel, no matter the situation.

“I want you to be wise, but I want you to disregard the caution about carefulness,” he said, claiming that the truth of hope in Christ is too important to be kept hidden for any length of time.

All other truths are “unimportant by comparison,” he said. “Your mission is to shout it from the rooftops.”

At the close of the service, hundreds of students flooded the altar of Binkley Chapel, praying for each other and being prayed over by Patterson and the faculty.

Patterson further challenged the students not to “shrink back” from the task because of danger, but to confront it head on by sharing Christ immediately, whatever the context.

“The day you get there, find someone to share Christ with,” he said. “The reason you are there is to share the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

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  • Jason Hall