FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduation is a time to commission students to go to the ends of the earth in obedience to Christ to preach the Gospel. For many of the graduates who received degrees this spring, it also was a time for reflecting on the lessons they learned at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.
“I can look at every class I have taken and say, ‘That’s what I was supposed to learn here,'” said Brent Roberts, a master of arts in Christian education graduate. In professor Malcolm Yarnell’s systematic theology class, for example, he learned that “the Bible has to be the center of your theology.” In professor Richard Ross’ student ministry classes, he was reminded of the importance of a daily relationship with Christ, and he saw that lifestyle modeled in Ross’ life.
Now that he has completed his degree, Roberts, his wife Corrie and his daughter Brendle are moving to Hot Springs, Ark., where he will serve at First Baptist Church as a minister to children and their families.
Graduation is “bittersweet,” he said. “It is a good feeling to be done, to finish what you started a long time ago. And it is exciting to see God’s hand placing you where He wants you. On the other hand, it is bitter because you have created so many memories here.”
Another graduate, Lauren Johnson, came to Southwestern not knowing what to expect, but she never anticipated being a wife and a mother when she graduated. Johnson, who received a master of divinity with a concentration in women’s studies, and her husband Chris, a Ph.D. student in preaching, are expecting the birth of their second son in less than 10 weeks.
Aside from meeting Chris on campus, Johnson’s favorite memory at Southwestern is writing the commentary portion on Numbers and the second half of Genesis for the Women’s Evangelical Library’s Old Testament Commentary.
“This was such an honor,” Johnson said. “The fact that Mrs. [Dorothy] Patterson had faith in me to do this is still incredible to me.” Johnson was pregnant with her son Elijah while working on the project, so she laughs while recalling her “feet propped up, in front of the computer, surrounded by books and decaffeinated tea.”
Having graduated, Johnson plans to concentrate on her family and continue preparing to minister to women and families in the church where Chris is called as pastor. Eventually, she said she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in theology or church history so that she might be able to teach women at the seminary level.
Brent Colee, a bachelor of arts in humanities graduate who was part of the first graduating class from the College at Southwestern, said he has gained “a love for reading, a desire to never stop learning and some amazing friendships with men of God.”
Colee plans to continue working with the strength-based ministry Team Impact in the coming months. His wife Marianne expressed excitement about the ministry opportunity, saying it is where God has placed her husband.
Benjamin Hawkins & Michelle McNatt are writers for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To see video highlights of the centennial spring graduation, visit www.swbts.edu/2008SpGrad.