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TRUSTEES: SEBTS adopted budget, celebrated Great Commission

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — During the spring meeting of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee board April 3-5, members heard stories of how SEBTS students and faculty are fulfilling the mission, and trustees voted on significant developments, including the launch of the Bachelor of Business Administration.

“Southeastern remains committed to being a Great Commission Seminary,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin to trustees. “Standing on the rock-solid foundation of the inerrant Word of God, we are passionate to love God, love the truth, love the Church, and love the world. In a world of so much confusion and pain, we are more determined than ever to maintain our fidelity to the final marching orders of King Jesus.”

During their plenary session April 5, trustees approved a $30.6 million budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, including a 3 percent salary increase for all full-time faculty and staff. The budget also accounts for the expansion of programs related to SEBTS church-based training partnerships due to recent grants. Trustees also approved three new endowment accounts to provide student aid and funding for the faculty and for campus maintenance. These new accounts include the Bigham-Ferguson Memorial Student Aid Fund, the John H. Sailhamer Old Testament Endowment, and the Mark and Shelly King Maintenance Fund. The Bigham-Ferguson Memorial Student Aid Fund will support students pursuing pastoral ministry with a preference given to students in the Hunt Scholars program, the five-year Bachelor of Arts to Master of Divinity program.

As recommended by the executive and academic committees, trustees unanimously voted to elect Ross Inman, associate professor of philosophy, to the faculty.

“Ross Inman has been a blessing to the Southeastern family since the day of his arrival,” Akin said. “His collegiality and excellence in the classroom have quickly made him a favorite among faculty and students alike. I am delighted by his election to the faculty and what he will bring to our Great Commission school for many years to come.”

Trustees also approved several faculty rank promotions, including the promotion of Scott Hildreth and Kristin Kellen to the rank of associate professor and Danny Akin, Scott Kellum, Chuck Lawless, and Mark Liederbach to senior professor.

Trustees also approved several academic degree additions and revisions, including:

  • The launch of a new Bachelor of Business Administration for the 2022 fall semester, which will train students in business skills and procedures and equip them biblically and theologically to serve in the marketplace from a biblical worldview.
  • The addition of three graduate certificates in preaching, global ministry and Great Commission studies, which will allow national leaders to receive robust theological education around the world through Global Theological Initiatives at SEBTS.
  • The addition of a Doctor of Ministry with a specialization in biblical and theological studies.
  • The addition of a free, zero-credit course on sexual abuse training that undergraduate, graduate and advanced students will be required to complete during their program at SEBTS. This training course will overview practical strategies for preventing and responding to sexual abuse as well as biblical and theological foundations for caring well for victims of abuse.

SEBTS celebrated trustees Charles Cranford and James Marston Jr. for their 10 years of service as they rotated off the board of trustees. The trustees also voted to approve Arthur Werry as chairman, Carlos Goodrich as vice chairman, Beth Wooten as secretary and David White as treasurer for the upcoming 2022-2023 cycle.

The Southeastern Society met April 4-5, concurrently with trustees. The society is a group of men and women who give to support the work of SEBTS.

During the Southeastern meetings April 4, Jonathan Six, SEBTS director of financial and alumni development, hosted a panel with Keelan Cook, Scott Hildreth and John Ewart where they discussed the Great Commission culture at SEBTS and how the faculty equips students to understand their lives missionally.

“Everything we do should be filtered through the grid of the Great Commission,” said Hildreth, assistant professor of missiology and George Liele director of the Center for Great Commission Studies. “Jesus has called us to be on mission as a part of His mission.”

During the For the Mission Banquet Monday night (April 4), SEBTS Provost Keith Whitfield reminded attendees that “the Great Commission animates everything we do at Southeastern.” Noting the remarkable global mobilization of SEBTS students over the last two decades, Whitfield expressed the institution’s ongoing commitment to send students to the nations: “We want to continue a mobilization movement that is as impactful and expansive as we move into the future.”

Southeastern Society members also celebrated nearly 2,400 donors who have funded more than 80 percent of the For the Mission Campaign – a four-year ongoing capital campaign to fund academic and student aid endowments, the renovation and construction of campus facilities, and the Southeastern Fund. Learn more about this campaign here.

During chapel on April 5, Scott Pace, dean of The College at Southeastern, closed the visit with a charge to live on mission from John 17.

“We are the Great Commission seminary because Jesus’ was passionate about this mission,” Pace said. “Jesus was the ultimate missionary. Because he came, we go.”

Recognizing students and their families who have committed their lives to this mission, SEBTS commissioned students in chapel who will be traveling this year with the International Mission Board or the North American Mission Board. Inviting church leaders and trustees to lay hands on their students, SEBTS students, faculty, and staff prayed for those being sent, including distance learning students who are going on mission.

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  • Chad Burchett/SEBTS