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Southeastern’s new missions center to serve missionaries, churches

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The vision of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s new Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center is to open the doors to global evangelism and close the geographical gap that often hinders international missionary efforts.

“The center will be a mobilization conduit for churches and communities at large by resourcing them with most current information available,” said Keith Eitel, professor of Christian missions and director of the seminary’s Center for Great Commission Studies. “The missions center will help expedite factual information about the status of global evangelization around the world.”

Incorporating today’s latest technology with Southeastern’s emphasis on mission education and world evangelization, the center “strives to offer comprehensive academics with a purpose and seeks to engage the community in the global missionary movement,” said Eitel, a former missionary to West Africa.

The new technology allows local churches to train their missions teams at the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center and offers overseas missionaries the opportunity to work toward doctorate of ministry requirements from virtually anywhere on the globe.

Southeastern currently has 39 families on the international mission field under the ‘two-plus-two’ program, a highly specialized four-year program of study including two years of international field-based service in cooperation with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

“While yesteryear’s students simply graduated and left for the mission field, today’s students partake in a course of study that incorporates time spent on the mission field as a part of the course requirement,” Eitel said.

The outside of the missions center is constructed to resemble a lighthouse, with a bright light shining from the cupola day and night, representing the resolve of Southeastern Seminary to take the gospel of Christ to the world.

Designed by architect James M. Edwards III of Raleigh N.C., the 21,300-square-foot building is strategically positioned on the southeast side of the campus so the light of the cupola is visible to all passing by the seminary.

The center is named in honor of trustee Jim Jacumin and his wife, Nancy Nell, and their parents, Emile and Mamie Jacumin and Roy and Muriel Simpson.

“We want to thank the Lord this morning for giving us godly parents,” Jim Jacumin said during the dedication ceremony. “The gift of giving and missions all started with our parents.”

Jacumin voiced his desire for the missions center to be used so that Southeastern students can travel the world and win lost people for the Lord.

“This building will supply many, many missionaries to the lost of the world year after year until the Lord returns,” he said.

“The new Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center is not about brick and mortar, it is a building to say to a watching world that what really counts is getting the gospel to the people,” said President Paige Patterson at the Oct. 16 dedication ceremony.

The Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center houses the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies and will be used as a state-of-the-art training facility for future Southern Baptist Missionaries.

The purpose of the new missions center is evident immediately to all who access the main entrance from the courtyard. The words of Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission, are written inescapably in brass on a mahogany wall, underscoring the mandate of the center: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

“Upon entering the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center, the student is automatically motivated to aid in the cause of evangelism both in the present and in the future,” Eitel said. “The walls lack missions artifacts, lending to the urgency in the atmosphere which create a motivational environment that draws everyday people into world evangelism.”

Reminders of the need for world evangelism hang over the brass-lettered Great Commission wall. Charcoal sketches of children from Kenya, Indonesia, Kashmir, Tibet, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt and Sudan adorn the entire railing of the rotunda and serve as representations of the faces of the gospel-deprived Last Frontier regions of the world.

A stained glass rendering of the missionary enterprise of the Waldencians, a group of Protestants from northern Italy who were thought to be the first to build a missions building, prominently stands in the rotunda as a reminder of the Christian missionary heritage.

To the right hangs a large map of the world representing the many nations and peoples who still need to know the love of Christ.

To the left is the Eitel Auditorium. Named in honor of Keith Eitel, the 111-seat auditorium is the place where seminary students, local church groups and other Southern Baptist entities will have the opportunity to interact with international missionaries through teleconferencing.

“That forevermore until Jesus comes,” Eitel said, “that all who flow through here, the Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center will be captured by this statement [the Great Commission] on this wall and that they will be committed solely and fully to the Lord who stated it and to the gospel message that is embedded in it until he comes.”

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  • Kelly Davis