TRUSTEES: SEBTS adds student ministry partnership

Becky Gardner of Peoria, Ill., chair of Southeastern Seminary’s trustees, calls their Oct. 15-16 meeting to order at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.
SEBTS photo by Rebecca Hankins
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- A new student ministry degree and the announcement of a record enrollment increase were among the highlights of the biannual trustee and Southeastern Society meetings at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 15-16 at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

Trustees approved a master of arts in student ministry in partnership with Student Leadership University (SLU) in Orlando, Fla., to continue fulfilling Southeastern's call to equip students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission.

The M.A. in student leadership will be a 49-hour degree with a 37-hour core focusing on theological, biblical and ministry studies. Students will train with recognized leaders in the field, have the opportunity to network with Student Leadership University and receive world-class theological and biblical training.

"Being a student pastor is one of the most important roles in the church today," said Brent Crowe, vice president of SLU, voicing gratitude that Southeastern "has created a program custom made for those influencing and shaping today's students."

Keith Whitfield, SEBTS vice president for academic administration, noted, "Capturing the hearts and minds of students with the Gospel and teaching them to live their lives following Jesus is a crucial part of the church's mission.

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, addresses Southeastern Society seminary supporters during their meeting in conjunction with SEBTS trustees at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.
SEBTS photo by Rebecca Hankins
"We are excited about how this new degree will prepare leaders to equip a generation of students to give their lives for the cause of Christ in their communities and around the world," Whitfield said. "We are honored that SLU would bring their expertise and vast influence to partner with us."

Other items approved by the trustees include:

-- The doctor of ministry degree now including studies in church revitalization and Great Commission mobilization.

-- Granting Bruce Little the title of "emeritus professor." Little, who retired from SEBTS last year, formerly was senior professor of philosophy, director of the Center for Faith and Culture and the Francis A. Schaeffer Collection and a founder of the seminary's Schaeffer Society.

New trustees Ed Litton, John Onwuchekwa, Shawn Dobbins, Zack Little and Nate Millican were welcomed to the board and new faculty members Julia Bickley, Ben Holloway and Scott Pace were introduced.

SEBTS President Danny Akin, in an update on key developments at the seminary, highlighted the growth of the North Carolina Field Minister Program, in its second year, providing more than 50 current long-term inmates in North Carolina a bachelor of arts degree in pastoral ministry.

Akin also reported that SEBTS enrollment has risen to over 4,200 students, which he called the "single-largest leap in one particular year that we've ever had."

In Tuesday's chapel, Akin preached on Isaiah 52:13-53:12, titling his sermon, "The Passion of the Christ/The Suffering Servant of the Lord." Akin set forth five ways the passage portrays the significant stages of the Suffering Servant's ministry: Jesus' exaltation, His rejection, His passion, His submission and His salvation.

"The penal substitution of Jesus Christ is not a theory. The exalted King died in the place of His rebel subjects." Akin said.

During a dinner for trustees and Southeastern Society members (individuals who give at least $1,000 to SEBTS each year and partner with the seminary in training students to live out the Great Commission), three students shared how the generosity of donors has helped them pursue Great Commission training at SEBTS.

Following the testimonies, Akin highlighted the vision and mission of the seminary, saying, "Our goal is to build a school that loves and serves others like we have been loved and served by Jesus, with no distinction between race, gender or socioeconomics. Global … lostness is growing. I believe there has never been a greater urgency for a spiritual base to train navy seals for the mission. … We will only be able to accomplish what God wants us to do [with] all of us doing our part, all of us working together."

Steven Wade, associate professor of theology, speaking to Southeastern Society members on the evening of Oct. 14, preached through Titus 2:11-14 on ways Christians can live rightly in this present life with a full view of the Gospel in mind.

This full understanding of the Gospel, Wade said, "defines everything about who we are and how we live."

On Tuesday morning, SES members attended two breakout sessions in which faculty and student panelists discussed ways that Southeastern has prepared students to engage in the Great Commission and how professors have created a Great Commission atmosphere in the classroom.

The next trustee and Southeastern Society meetings will be April 7-9.

Photos from the meetings can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/southeastern/sets/72157702460727435.

Lauren Pratt is Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's news and information specialist.
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