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TRUSTEES: MBTS vision is ‘For the Church’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary unanimously approved a resolution April 29 titled “For the Church” underscoring seminary President Jason K. Allen’s vision for the institution.

The biannual meeting also was the first event held in Midwestern’s newly completed chapel complex.

Presented in the main plenary session Monday afternoon, the resolution stated that all trustees “celebrate and affirm President Jason K. Allen’s vision for Midwestern Seminary to exist For the Church and fully support the institution bending its energies and resources toward this end.”

The resolution noted the seminary’s original mission of training “pastors, ministers and evangelists for the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and furnishing pastors, ministers, and missionaries to found and serve Baptist churches internationally,” while also speaking to the accountability of the seminary to the Southern Baptist Convention.

“We are all so excited about the unity and cohesiveness that we feel,” Kevin Shrum, chairman of the trustees, told those in attendance. “This is a tremendous resolution.”

The resolution and response came after hearing Allen’s presidential report in which he spoke specifically regarding his vision for the seminary.

“We are building a culture that esteems the church,” Allen told trustees. “We are not merely in the credentialing business.”

Allen also highlighted an increased desire for cultural renewal on campus, a greater missiological emphasis in the classroom and institutional expansion at Midwestern.

He further announced the new branding of the seminary, which encapsulates the vision of the institution to exist For the Church. Ongoing branding changes include campus signage, the launch of a new website on May 6 and complete overhaul of the visual identity. Midwestern’s new logo is a reflection of the new vision and tagline for the seminary.

Additionally, Allen noted that the seminary not only is positioning itself to serve its current students more effectively but also is anticipating increased growth. The administration announced record spring enrollment for 2013, surpassing the previous record set in the spring of 2012.

Midwestern also received positive reviews from an Association of Theological Schools accreditation visit earlier this year. The team said they originally approached their visit with apprehension but in their final report said they had “experienced transparency, mutual support and confidence in the future.”

In response to the favorable review the seminary received from the accrediting agencies and other encouraging developments on campus, Allen said, “We believe that as we are faithful to His church He will be faithful to us.”

In other business, trustees approved the launch of Midwestern Baptist College’s new undergraduate dual-major programs. This initiative is aimed at enabling students to be better prepared for bivocational ministry.

The dual-majors allow students to receive degrees in either Christian ministry or biblical studies but also they will graduate with a secular degree in a field such as business, music, communications or humanities. The programs will enable students the opportunity to serve in closed countries by having a platform with which to enter safely.

The seminary also will add three new concentrations to the master of divinity track, including preaching and pastoral ministry, Christian ministry, and biblical and theological studies.
Tim Sweetman is director of communications at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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