SOUTHEASTERN SPRING 2021
FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION ONE STORY AT A TIME
Equipping disciple makers for every context for all people for the glory of God.
MASTER OF DIVINITY
L E A R N M O R E AT S E B T S . E D U / M D I V
President Daniel & Mrs. Charlotte Akin
Letter from the President ulfilling the Great Commission means we’re obedient to the final marching orders of King Jesus. I often tell folks that when Jesus ascended back into heaven, there were a lot of good and important things he could have told the disciples. Yet of all the things he could have said, he chose to say, “Go and make disciples of all the nations.” If that was on Jesus’ heart as he was bringing his earthly ministry to a conclusion, that ought to be on our hearts as his disciples. Though we may attend to the business of many important and good things, if we neglect fulfilling the Great Commission, then we have missed the heartbeat of our Lord.
around the globe that need to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of my goals at Southeastern is to inspire and mobilize Great Commission Christians so that as they go, God will give them the opportunity to live and write their Great Commission stories by sharing the gospel with those who have never heard. I don’t think everybody has to go overseas, but I do believe God calls all of us to be Great Commission Christians.
Today, God in his providence has called me to be a part of his story at Southeastern by equipping and training students to go across North America and around the world. At the end of my life, I hope to look back on my story and see how God used me Today, there are 6,500 unreached people for his glory in inspiring, training, equipgroups, comprised of about 3.5 billion people who have either limited or no access ping and sending many to cultivate their to the gospel. We have a Great Commission own Great Commission stories. The bottom line for all of us is to ask the question, “Lord, world clock in our missions center that how do I fit into your great plan?” And, constantly tells us how many people are believing the gospel, how many people are “Lord, how can my story be about fulfilling The Great Commission?” dying without the gospel and how many people don’t have access to the gospel. I’m haunted by the statistics that I see on that clock, because it reminds me of real people
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM DR. AKIN
Spring 2021 Table of Contents Headlines
8 A Lifetime of Leadership Dr. Charles Harvey Retires After Years of Faithful Service
9 Discovering God’s Design
Celebrating the Value of Women with Speaker Elyse Fitzpatrick
10 Training with an Eternal Perspective
Southeastern Society Meeting Highlights God’s Faithfulness
11 A Resilient Spirit Board of Trustees Fall Meeting Celebrates New Provost, Increased Enrollment
Southeastern Partners with Missouri Baptist University
15 Finishing the Race Southeastern Celebrates Fall 2020 Grads Online
GEORGE & JOAN BRASWELL
JOHN & JEANNE LUTHER
16 In Memoriam Southeastern Remembers Richard Headrick and William L. Palmer
19 Equipping the Church
Southeastern Offering New Certificate in Christian Ministry
21 More than a Golf
Southeastern Classic Makes an Eternal Impact
This is My Great Commission Story Honoring the SBC’s First Missionaries to Iran, George and Joan Braswell
Pouring into the Community How One Raleigh Café is Modeling the Gospel to Patrons
A Legacy of Faith Nurturing Faith in the Next Generation
New Approaches to Meaningful Gospel Conversations
Loving Londoners Through Gospel Intentionality
Planting with Perseverance
Articles by Lauren Pratt and photos by Rebecca Pate unless otherwise credited
This issue features an exciting interactive component! QR codes have been added that link to video messages from various people featured in the magazine. Scan the code with your phone’s camera and tap the alert that appears to see the video.
TRY IT HE RE ! PU LL OUT YOU R C A M ER A , SC A N TH E Q R CODE, A N D YOU ’ LL SEE A LI N K TH AT WI LL TA KE YOU TO SE BTS. E DU
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, NC Daniel Akin President Keith Whitfield Provost Ryan Hutchinson Executive Vice President for Operations Art Rainer Vice President for Institutional Advancement Marketing and Communications Sharon Chung - Director Jesse Chaney- Associate Director of Marketing Emily Gwyn - Graphic Designer Rebecca Pate - Project Manager Pamela Pfeffer - Administrative Assistant Lauren Pratt - News and Information Specialist Ryan Thomas - Senior Graphic Designer
Financial and Alumni Development Jonathan Six - Director George Harvey - General Counsel & Director of Planned Giving
Drew Davis - Associate Director Chris Allen - Denominational Relations &
HIGH POINT, NC
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC
Ministry Teams Coordinator
Michelle Ard - Events & Alumni Relations Coordinator Caden Farr - Donor Relations & Data Management Coordinator
Chandler Donegan - Gift Accountant Jonathan Goforth - Development Officer Jeff Hedgepeth - Grant Writer Becca Warren - Development Officer Billy Vernon - Alumni & Church Relations Specialist Stacie Hetrick - Administrative Assistant
To inform us of address changes or if you would like to receive the magazine, please contact us at 919-761-2203 or email email@example.com.
Bringing a Nashville Church Back to Spiritual Vibrancy
How Interior Design Reflects Church Revitalization
Moving the Mission Forward Through Gospel Friendships and Fluency
Seeing Each Season as a Great Commission Opportunity
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).
Reviving the Church
Transforming the Church
Cultivating Your Calling
Walking in Faithful Obedience
Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. Support comes through the gifts of the Cooperative Program and the individual friends of the seminary who provide assistance through wills, estates and trusts.
31 Featured Student Josiah Gwyn 70 At the Office with Keith Whitfield
Great Commission Magazine of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (ISSN 2327-154X) is published by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 1889, Wake Forest, NC 27588
80 A Letter from the Director of Financial & Alumni Development Jonathan Six
68 Newly Released Faculty Works
ND U O
A E H
1. SEBTS student Brogan Gaskill plays at the fall 2020 Autumn Acoustics concert
2. College House System leaders prayerfully prepare to welcome prospective students at College Preview Day
3. 3. Prospective students play a game with College House System students during College Preview Day 4. Dr. Matthew Mullins leads class outside on the Quad during a warm winter day
A Lifetime of Leadership Dr. Charles Harvey Retires After Years of Faithful Service
fter nearly a decade of faithful service as a director and professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), Dr. Charles Harvey retired from teaching and administration on Sept. 30, 2020. Dr. Tate Cockrell, who previously served as associate director of DMin studies, became director on Oct. 1, 2020. “Dr. Harvey has distinguished himself as a leader of leaders,” said Keith Whitfield, provost at SEBTS. “As the director of the Doctor of Ministry degree, he passionately and tirelessly pursued his calling to strengthen the Church by equipping church leaders. We are thankful that Dr. Tate Cockrell is stepping into the director position. We are excited about how he will use his gifts to build upon the leadership of Dr. Harvey. Dr. Cockrell assumes this role with a vast ministry and teaching experience. He is passionate
about equipping leaders and seeing the Church advance in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.” Harvey came to Southeastern in July of 2011 as the Doctor of Ministry program director and professor of Christian education. Throughout his years leading the DMin program at SEBTS, Harvey revolutionized the program in several ways. Harvey updated the seminar and workshop schedules to better accommodate the ministry schedules of DMin students, utilized technology to build a personalized modified residency approach, created new specializations and updated existing specializations. Under Harvey’s leadership, graduation rates and recruitment among DMin students increased significantly. He also made it possible for students to graduate within three years by modifying the DMin ministry writing project’s requirements. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Harvey received both his DMin and MDiv from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1987 and 1977, respectively. Harvey was an instrumental administrator and leader at NOBTS and served as vice president of development, associate director of the professional doctoral program and the director of
continuing education and conference planning. Through a partnership between NOBTS, the Florida Baptist Convention and the Baptist College of Florida, Harvey also directed theological education between the three organizations while at NOBTS. “Charles Harvey came to Southeastern at a strategic time and brought excellent direction and leadership to the DMin program,” said President Danny Akin. “SEBTS has, in my judgment, one of the premier Doctor of Ministry programs in the nation. Dr. Harvey has played a significant role in making this a reality. Charles Harvey has laid a firm foundation for the future. I am thrilled that Dr. Tate Cockrell will now take the reins of leadership, and I am confident under his guidance the best is yet to come.” Harvey has not only modeled a servant heart in education and administration, but he has modeled this heart in ministry to the local church as well. He served as associate pastor/minister of education and administration at Ridge Avenue Baptist Church in West Monroe, Louisiana from 1977-80. He also served from 1990-1997 as the associate pastor and minister of education at First Baptist Church in Windermere, Florida. Throughout his time in education and pastoral ministry, Harvey has always loved equipping and ministering to students. From 1980-1990, Harvey directed the Baptist Collegiate Ministries for Louisiana State University at Eunice, LSU-Alexandria and University of Louisiana at Monroe. “Dr. Harvey is responsible for the largest DMin growth in SEBTS history,” said Cockrell, who also serves as associate professor of counseling. “His heart for ministry and ministers, as well as his desire to be innovative and forward-thinking, have resulted in unprecedented gains in our professional doctoral program. He will be greatly missed, but we are very excited to celebrate this next chapter in his and Barbara’s life.”
Discovering God’s Design Celebrating the Value of Women with Speaker Elyse Fitzpatrick
ho are you? Really. More than 400 women gathered virtually to answer this question at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Oct. 17 virtual women’s workshop. Author and speaker Elyse Fitzpatrick believes answering this question of identity shapes a woman’s understanding of God and her role in his redemptive plan for the world. Fitzpatrick holds an MA in biblical counseling and has authored 23 books on daily living. She frequently speaks at women’s conferences on the Christian life and is passionate about proclaiming the good news of the gospel. During the virtual women’s workshop, Fitzpatrick explained the biblical foundations for understanding the unique value God has given to all women throughout history. “Women, like men, are created in God’s image and therefore have intrinsic worth,” she said, further explaining that God has created women as necessary allies to men in building his kingdom. In Genesis, she explained that the woman is referred to as Adam’s helper, a term that is often misused and misunderstood in today’s culture. Instead, the Hebrew word for helper, “ezer,” is most often used of God throughout the Bible to describe him as an essential ally to his people. “Ezer doesn’t signal need or weakness; it signals need and weakness in the person who’s in need,” said Fitzpatrick. Throughout history, God has gifted women to advance his mission in the world. Fitzpatrick highlighted
women across the pages of the Old and New Testaments through whom God worked for his redemptive plan of salvation. In the Old Testament, women like Tamar, Hagar, Ruth and Bathsheba played a strategic role in preparing the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. Similarly, women in the New Testament like Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well and Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist) were outsiders who had stories of brokenness, yet God displayed his love and value for them in allowing them to participate in his greater mission in the world. “If you want to know the way God the Father thinks about women, look at the way Jesus interacted with them,” said Fitzpatrick, who also noted the importance of the initiation of the new covenant and its implications for women through Christ. Gender-exclusive circumcision was replaced with the genderinclusive sign of baptism. “Our primary calling as women is no longer to marry and give birth; our primary calling is to make disciples and proclaim Christ’s excellencies everywhere,” said Fitzpatrick. The workshop also included a panel discussion from female administrators and professors at Southeastern, including Karen Swallow Prior, Missie Branch, Christy Thornton and Julia Higgins.
The discussion centered on how women in the 21st century can best engage the culture around them, based on a chapter from Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher’s book, “Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women.” The workshop also included an interview with Fitzpatrick and Dr. Kristin Kellen on biblical counseling. In addition, Dr. Higgins interviewed pastor Ed Litton and worship arts minister Abbie Maggio of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama on incorporating women into leadership roles that are biblically complementarian. “This one-day virtual conference was the fruit of our continued effort at Southeastern to promote the value and worth of women, as they partner with men to advance the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission,” said Higgins, assistant professor of ministry to women and associate dean of graduate program administration. “We wanted listeners to walk away with a biblical understanding – from Genesis to Revelation – of God’s unique and consistent plan for womanhood and to find encouragement in the pages of Scripture. We also hoped attendees would be called to action, thinking through their spiritual gifts and how God might be calling them to be on mission in the Church and around the world.”
Training with an Eternal Perspective Southeastern Society Meeting Highlights God’s Faithfulness n a spirit of unity and resilience, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) is continuing to equip gospel-centered men and women to reach the lost from North Carolina to the ends of the earth. This goal is made possible through the generosity of donors like those involved in the Southeastern Society (SES), who connected virtually on Oct. 20 to hear updates from President Danny
Akin and the Financial and Alumni Development Office. SES members received updates on the For the Mission campaign and how the mission of SEBTS is enduring despite the unique challenges of 2020. “Things are wonderful at Southeastern Seminary. COVID-19 has not stopped us in any way from pursuing our mission of training men and women to be Great Commission Christians,” President Danny Akin reported to SES members. In his presidential report, Akin praised God that students have continued to remain on campus and stay healthy during these challenging months. In addition, he reported record numbers of enrollment for both the 2019-2020 academic year and the current fall semester. Student enrollment at SEBTS has increased for 12 consecutive years,
with a record enrollment of 5,273 at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. Likewise, SEBTS continues to see an influx in applications to the seminary and college. Akin also noted that SEBTS is continuing to see great progress in its financial campaign, For the Mission, which has reached 59.2 percent of its $20.5M goal. These increases are a testimony of God’s grace in the midst of a global crisis. Akin also celebrated the recent election of Keith Whitfield as provost. Whitfield, who also serves as dean of graduate studies and associate professor of theology, will oversee development, coordination and implementation of SEBTS curriculum as well as faculty recruitment, evaluation and retention. In a panel discussion with Dr. Ross Inman and current students
Southeastern received $7.4 million last year because of Southern Baptist churches like yours committed to bringing good news to the whole world.
Caden and Jessica Farr, the three discussed the importance of theological education for personal and spiritual formation. In addition, they noted how the ability to attend seminary and receive Great Commission training has been made possible through the generosity of donors. “I see [seminary] as such an important and impactful season of one’s life and getting this sort of training that will endure to the end of one’s days,” said Ross Inman, associate professor of philosophy. Akin closed the meeting by asking SES members to continue praying for the health of students, faculty and staff so that the work of training for the Great Commission can continue. “Almost half of the world’s population have no access to the gospel. We believe God, in particular, has raised up Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to address that great need,” said President Danny Akin. “In partnership with our great God, we’re going to give our efforts until the day Jesus comes again to get the gospel to every tribe, every tongue, every people and every nation.”
Southeastern Society members give at least $1,000 to SEBTS each year and partner with the school to help train students in living out the Great Commission.
TO L E A R N M O R E , PLEASE VISIT S E B T S . E D U/S E S
A Resilient Spirit Board of Trustees Fall Meeting Celebrates New Provost, Increased Enrollment
n Oct. 12, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) Board of Trustees praised God for his continued blessings to the institution, namely through the election of Keith Whitfield as provost and reports of record-breaking student enrollment. “What God has done has been amazing in terms of our enrollment, our finances and the spirit of the campus,” said President Danny Akin. As provost, Whitfield will oversee development, coordination and implementation of SEBTS curriculum as well as faculty recruitment, evaluation and retention. Whitfield also serves as dean of graduate studies and associate professor of theology. Whitfield received both his Master of Theology and MDiv in biblical and theological studies from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2013, Whitfield received his PhD from SEBTS. Throughout his academic career, he has written extensively on theology and co-hosts a podcast encouraging church leaders to share the gospel here and around the world. In his presidential report, Akin reported record numbers of enrollment for both the 2019-2020 academic year and the current fall semester. Student enrollment at SEBTS has increased for 12 consecutive years, with a record enrollment of 5,273 at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. Likewise, SEBTS continues to see an influx in applications to the seminary and college. Akin also noted that SEBTS is continuing to see great progress in its financial
What God has done has been amazing in terms of our enrollment, our finances and the spirit of the campus. Danny Akin, SEBTS President
campaign, For the Mission, which has reached 59.2 percent of its $20.5M goal. These increases are a testimony of God’s grace in the midst of a global crisis. Trustees also voted to elect Ann White and David White (no relation) as interim board members. These interim replacements were due to the resignations of John Onwuchekwa and Joe Forrester. Ann White serves as founder and executive director of Courage for Life, a global ministry that helps others walk with courage in the face of fear and find healing through God’s Word. She wrote her book, “Courage for Life,” and founded her global ministry based on the restoration she experienced in her marriage. She has produced numerous books, Bible studies and leadership curriculum. David White serves as the executive pastor of First Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia. Prior to serving as executive pastor, David White was a partner at KPMG, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, where he oversaw the firm’s actuarial services practice. He has extensive experience in international business and leading teams through operational and administrative issues.
Trustees approved three endowment accounts: The Center for Faith and Culture Endowment, the Daniel Akin Preaching Student Aid Fund and the Tucker Student Aid Fund. The Center for Faith and Culture Endowment will provide financial assistance to the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture at SEBTS, The Daniel Akin Preaching Student Aid Fund will provide financial assistance to MDiv students in the expository preaching track and The Tucker Student Aid Fund will provide financial assistance for undergraduate students at The College at Southeastern. During their fall plenary session, trustees also approved the following: • A Certificate in Christian Ministry. The 12-hour certificate is for students seeking to gain proficiency in Christian ministry and can be completed in on-campus, online or hybrid formats. • Curriculum revisions for the MDiv in Ministry Leadership to provide a more seamless transition for students in the MA to transfer to the MDiv degree. The curriculum changes include two additional course selectives. • Changes to the undergraduate major and minor requirements. Students will no longer be able to double major in a degree that has six or more credit hours that overlap. Likewise, students will no longer be able to choose a major and minor that overlap in six or more credit hours.
• The forthcoming sabbaticals of Drs. Scott Kellum and Keith Harper. Kellum, who serves as professor of New Testament and Greek, will take his sabbatical during the Fall 2021 semester. Harper, who serves as senior professor of Baptist studies, will take his sabbatical from Fall 2021-Spring 2022. • To engage architects to update to the Campus Facilities Master Plan, which was last approved in 2016. SEBTS will plan to work with Design Development, an architectural firm who has assisted SEBTS in the past four Campus Facilities Master Plan updates. The seminary has a trusted relationship with Design Development through the firm’s assistance on the construction of Patterson Hall in 2008 and various smaller projects. The updated master plan will be presented at the Spring 2021 meeting. • Three committee assignments, including Ann White to the Institutional Advancement Committee, David White to the Audit and Investment Committee and Jeremy Freeman to the Student Services Committee.
Dr. Scott Kellum, professor of New Testament and Greek, taking sabbatical in Fall 2021
Dr. Keith Harper, senior professor of Baptist studies, taking sabbatical from Fall 2021 to Spring 2022
The Board of Trustees meet bi-annually during the spring and fall semesters.
Dr. Keith Whitfield, dean of graduate studies and associate professor of theology, elected as provost
“You’ve been a faithful, committed Christian all your life. What’s your lasting testimony going to be?”
George Harvey Director of Planned Giving & Staff Counsel, Timothy Society member since 2010, Southeastern Society member since 1994
Leave A Legacy of Faith The Timothy Society exists for supporters of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to make an impact though legacy giving dedicated to equip students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission. Training gospel-ready champions requires the support of Christians who believe in this mission. When the time comes that you are home with Christ, your support can continue to make a Great Commission impact for those in need of the gospel. Become a part of the Timothy Society by including Southeastern in your estate planning.
To join or for more information, visit sebts.edu/give, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Preparation Through Partnership Southeastern partners with Missouri Baptist University outheastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and Missouri Baptist University (MBU) are partnering together to provide undergraduate students with a seamless transition from a bachelor’s degree to the Advanced MDiv at SEBTS. The goal of this partnership is to help MBU students gain the theological and ministerial courses they need in their undergraduate studies so they can more successfully transition into the Advanced MDiv program. “We are grateful for the work Missouri Baptist University is doing to equip the next generation of effective ministry leaders personally, spiritually and vocationally,” said SEBTS provost Keith Whitfield. “Students coming to SEBTS from MBU will have an excellent biblical and theological foundation as well as develop practical ministry skills. With their background paired with the exceptional biblical, theological and ministerial education they
Check Out These Podcasts Where Our Faculty Are Being Featured! n 2020, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) professors were featured in Season 5 of the Knowing Faith podcast, which models for its listeners how both men and women can do theology together and encourages pastors and church members to think deeply and critically about God’s Word. Professors included Keith Whitfield, Benjamin Quinn, Ross Inman, Walter Strickland, Tracy McKenzie, Karen Swallow Prior and Ken Keathley. SEBTS preaching professor Jim Shaddix was featured on the Journeywomen podcast in the fall of 2020, where he discussed hermeneutics and how to study the Bible. The Journeywomen podcast seeks to come alongside women to move them to know and love God and his Word, to find hope in the gospel, and to invest deeply in their local churches as they go out on mission for the glory of God. Both Knowing Faith and Journeywomen can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
will receive by earning the Advanced MDiv from SEBTS, these students will be prepared to go anywhere in the world for the glory of Christ. It is exciting to partner with MBU to train those who have answered the call to serve Christ and the Church. We are proud to be in this endeavor with MBU.” The Advanced MDiv program allows a student to graduate and enter the ministry more quickly. This is possible because the program assumes a person has significant undergraduate preparation in biblical and religious studies. This program trains and prepares the graduate for a lifetime of ministry. “MBU’s partnership with SEBTS will further prepare students for a vocation in ministry after building a firm foundation in ministry and scholarship at MBU,” said Dr. Matthew Easter, director of Christian Studies at MBU. “The combined vision of MBU and SEBTS to train Great Commissionminded leaders for a life of ministry makes this partnership a natural fit. MBU students will not only graduate earlier and be able to opt for more electives but learn in a community that will also support them in their pursuit of ministry.” Counselors at both MBU and the SEBTS Admissions Office will be able to guide students through the process of applying and meeting the requirements of admittance to the Advanced MDiv program. Contact email@example.com to find out more.
Finishing the Race Southeastern Celebrates Fall 2020 Grads Online he coronavirus pandemic has certainly made for one of the most challenging and unique years in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) history. Despite being unable to meet in person for graduation due to the pandemic, family and friends gathered virtually on Dec. 11 to celebrate the school’s 274 fall graduates. These 274 graduates included 39 from the undergraduate level, 190 from the graduate level and 45 from the advanced level. President Danny Akin addressed graduates from the rotunda of Stealey Hall, the SEBTS administrative building. He congratulated them on their accomplishment and encouraged them to remain engaged in the mission to reach all people with the gospel. “My prayer is that your time at Southeastern has instilled in you the Great Commission DNA so that wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be on Great Commission mission for the Lord Jesus Christ.” Akin also provided graduates with a challenge from 2 Corinthians 9:15, which says, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” This indescribable gift that Paul is referring to is the gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ. The love that Christ demonstrated on behalf of sinful humanity should be demonstrated by all believers in all spheres of life. For this reason, Akin challenged graduates to serve wherever God call them because the gratitude of this indescribable gift fuels their mission. Deans from undergraduate, graduate and advanced degrees addressed their graduates during the
service as well, bringing a word of encouragement. “In some ways you’re crossing the finish line, but in other ways you’re still kneeling at the starting blocks of a new race,” Scott Pace, dean of The College at Southeastern, told college graduates. “You’re heading into this next chapter and as you do, I pray that whatever you do, you’ll work at it with your whole heart as working for the Lord and not for men.” Keith Whitfield, dean of graduate studies, celebrated the accomplishment of master’s level graduates saying, “As you leave Southeastern Seminary, you go out as an ambassador of that ministry of reconciliation, and we can’t wait to see how God uses you.” Chuck Lawless, dean of doctoral studies, gave a three-fold challenge to advanced level graduates: to not let their degrees become a source of pride, to not forget the nations and to let prayer become part of their spiritual DNA. Lawless described prayer as “both a cry for relationship with God and a confession of dependence on him,” and concluded the service with a prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21.
In some ways you’re crossing the finish line, but in other ways you’re still kneeling at the starting blocks of a new race. Scott Pace, Dean of The College at Southeastern
Watch the full service at youtube.com/sebts
Richard Headrick Models Lifetime of Faithful Evangelism n Oct. 5, faithful evangelist, donor and international businessman Richard Headrick went home to be with the Lord at 77 years old after battling cancer. Headrick served as a lifetime donor and supporter of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). On March 23, 1998, SEBTS established its second endowed chair, the Richard and Gina Headrick chair of world missions, continuing his legacy in the lives of students, faculty and staff today. Headrick’s love for the gospel and for people of every nation to know Jesus cannot be overstated. President Danny Akin recounted a two-week trip he and his wife, Charlotte, took with the Headricks to Southeast Asia to visit SEBTS students serving with the International Mission Board. That trip deeply impacted Akin in his first years serving as president of the seminary and shaped his vision for SEBTS to be committed to the Great Commission.
“Richard Headrick was one of the most passionate soul winners I have ever known,” said Akin. “He would talk to anybody and everybody about Jesus. He also had a love for missions that led him and his precious wife, Gina, to traveling the world sharing the gospel and encouraging missionaries on the field. I will miss Richard, but I am grateful I will see him again. And equally wonderful, I will see the many souls that are in heaven because of his faithfulness to tell others about the Jesus who saved and transformed his life.” Headrick’s love for the Lord was seen in the way he generously gave of his resources for the sake of the gospel. An international author and speaker, Headrick served as the CEO of The Headrick Companies, Inc. in Laurel, Mississippi. He served on multiple boards for a number of organizations, including Bailey Smith Ministries, Kendrick Ministries, Alpha International Ministries and Grace International Outreach. The Headricks founded Hope Foundations, the Good Samaritan Foundation, Hellfighters International and Mission at the Cross Ministries. In 2012, the couple helped produce a full-length film titled “Last Ounce of Courage.” After being radically changed by the gospel in 1989, Headrick lived a life fully dedicated to sharing that message with others. Headrick founded Hellfighters International in 2005, a ministry that seeks to reach all types of people with the gospel. One of the four ministries under the Hellfighters International umbrella is Mission of the Cross, which provides work for the homeless, former convicts, alcoholics and drug addicts. These men are provided jobs restoring damaged motorcycles while the Lord restores their hearts and lives through the influence of those like Headrick and others.
George Robinson, the Bailey Smith chair of evangelism and associate professor of missions and evangelism at SEBTS, recounted with fondness the years he spent serving alongside Headrick at motorcycle rallies in Sturgis and Daytona. Robinson met Headrick in 2000 while serving as a missionary with his wife, Catherine, in South Asia. Robinson now sees that their meeting in 2000 laid the groundwork for 20 years of ministry together. “From his ministry to the church I pastored in Georgia to partnering with me to develop networks of evangelistic church planters in dozens of countries to evangelizing bikers together at the Sturgis and Daytona bike rallies, Richard (aka “Rhino”) exuded a passion for Jesus and for those who are far from God,” said Robinson. “In March while working his Hellfighters Biker Ministry tent, Richard and I were able to pray with many and lead a young biker to faith in Jesus. I am grateful for his life. Mine is richer because of his.” Today, Chuck Lawless, dean of doctoral studies and vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers, holds the Richard and Gina Headrick chair of world missions. Lawless noted that Headrick’s radical transformation led to his relentless pursuit to follow Jesus with his whole life. “Holding the Richard and Gina Headrick chair of world missions is a joy not only because of its priority on reaching the world, but also because the donors themselves have so passionately given themselves to evangelizing their neighbors and the nations,” said Lawless. “To read Richard’s life story is to read of the transforming, powerful grace of God evident in a man of unusual faith and passion for Christ.”
William Palmer Leaves a Legacy of Learning ormer instructor and alum, William L. Palmer, went home to be with the Lord on Nov. 25, 2020. Palmer received both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in 1957 and 1975, respectively. New Testament Koine Greek scholar, Palmer taught New Testament and Greek at SEBTS. He was also elected president of the National Alumni of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Palmer’s generosity has been an immense blessing to the institution. From his investment in the lives of students to his financial gifts to SEBTS, Palmer’s legacy lives on through the lives of those who come to the institution. The William Leroy Palmer Room in SEBTS’s Manor House was dedicated in his honor in 1995. This dedication was part of a larger dedication of rooms called the “House of Prophets,” honoring pastors, evangelists and laypeople within the Southern Baptist Convention. Palmer’s generosity extends to the library, where he graciously donated 2,500 books from his personal collection on a range of topics, including Greek, preaching and Old and New Testament surveys.
The family of William Palmer has provided a full obituary below. William LeRoy “Bill” Palmer, DMin, passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in his home at Asbury Place Kingsport, TN at 99 years of age. He was a World War II veteran and member of First Baptist Church, Kingsport. Born on August 17, 1921 in Prowers County, Colorado, Bill was the eldest child of the late William Ellis and Mary Agnes (Wells) Palmer. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord when he was eight years old. He was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1948. In his ministry, he served as pastor of Cross Roads Baptist Church, Greenville County, SC; DorchesterWaylyn Baptist Church, Charleston, SC; Edwards Road Baptist Church, Greenville, SC; First Baptist Church, Morristown, TN; First Baptist Church, Galax, VA; and Witt Baptist Church, Morristown. He was President of Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy (now the Kings Academy) in Seymour, TN. He served as an interim pastor at over 20 Baptist churches across East Tennessee. His love for people and Jesus Christ kept him active in ministry until he was 85 years old. His ministry continued through many different activities until his death. Dr. Palmer was a lifetime learner and educator. He graduated from Browns Business College and attended George Washington University in Washington, DC, while working for the Department of State, and Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater, OK during World War II. Following military service, he graduated from Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Arts and then a Master of Arts. He completed the
Clinical Pastoral Certification from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He taught New Testament Koine Greek at Bob Jones University. As president of Harrison-Chilhowee, he studied school administration at Grace Theological Seminary and pursued doctoral study in school administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Across his ministerial career, Dr. Palmer served in many leadership positions. He was first vice president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and president of the South Carolina Baptist Pastors Conference. He was first vice president and president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. He was elected moderator of the Charleston (SC) Baptist Association, the Greenville (SC) Baptist Association, the Nolachucky (TN) Baptist Association and the New River (VA) Baptist Association. He served as a Board of Trustees member for the following institutions: founding board of The Baptist College in Lower South Carolina (now Charleston Southern University); CarsonNewman University in Jefferson City, TN; Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, VA; and, East Tennessee Baptist Hospital in Knoxville, TN. He was a commissioner of the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In Tennessee he served on the State Education Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Non-Public School Education and was appointed to the Governor’s Job Opportunity Committee. Palmer was elected as president of the National Alumni of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southeastern Alumni Associations of South Carolina and Tennessee. While serving as pastor of Witt Baptist Church in Morristown, he was recognized by the Tennessee Baptist Convention as “Small Church Pastor of the Year”.
Graduate Certificates Our graduate certificates allow you to take four graduate level courses and receive a certificate in Ministry to Women, Church Revitalization, Student Ministry, Biblical Counseling, Christian Ethics and Christian Ministry.
START YOUR THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION TODAY. S E B T S . E D U/G R A D UATE C E R TI F I C ATE S
Equipping the Church Southeastern Offering New Certificate in Christian Ministry outheastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) is excited to announce its newest graduate Certificate in Christian Ministry, a 12-hour program for students seeking to gain proficiency in Christian ministry. “Graduate certificates provide students the opportunity to be equipped for Christian Ministry,” said Keith Whitfield, who serves as provost, dean of graduate studies and associate professor of theology. “For some, these certificates offer a way to start their ministry preparation, while others may use the program to build on the training they have already received. We are thrilled to provide a program of study that meets students where they are, so they can serve faithfully in the ministry God has called them to.” The Certificate in Christian Ministry, along with Southeastern’s six other certificate options, will provide a more streamlined process for students seeking to move from the certificate to the graduate level. The Certificate in Christian Ministry is intentionally broad in its focus and is the only certificate that allows students to enroll in any
core classes at SEBTS. It is perfect for the person who may be on the fence about entering into a graduate-level program or may be unsure which specific graduate degree to pursue. Each certificate provides four classes that equip and familiarize students with theological education at a foundational level. Certificate costs are $300 per course and $1,200 per certificate. SEBTS currently offers graduate certificates in Ministry to Women, Church Revitalization, Teaching English as a Second Language, Student Ministry, Biblical Counseling, Christian Ethics and Christian Ministry. Graduate certificates are designed for those just getting started in theological education and those who desire to add more specified training to their current degree track. Students in the certificate program have the flexibility to continue serving the church while getting the ministry preparation they need for effective ministry. Likewise, it provides an on-ramp for the prospective student who may be unsure about entering into a master’s level program.
Graduate certificates provide students the opportunity to be equipped for Christian Ministry. Keith Whitfield, Provost
he 15th for t an s n u
AUG UST 3 0 th 2021
OVER THE L AST 14 YEARS, THE SOUTHEASTERN CLASSIC HAS R AISED
THAT IS EQUAL TO PROVIDING FULL ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS FOR
To learn more, play or become a sponsor, please visit sebts.edu/classic or email Drew Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org Hosted at North Ridge Country Club 20
More Than a Golf Tournament Southeastern Classic Makes an Eternal Impact outheastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) celebrated another incredible year of the 14th annual Southeastern Classic Golf Tournament. Between fundraising, sponsorships and participation at this year’s event, over $90,000 was raised. This year’s tournament was hosted at The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 14, 2020. “North Carolina has a long, cherished history with the game of golf. Great professionals like Bill Haas, Davis Love III and Webb Simpson all hail from the old North State,” said Drew Davis, associate director of Financial and Alumni Development. “The King, Arnold Palmer, even played his college golf on what is now Paschal Golf Club on the campus of Southeastern Seminary. It is only fitting that this great, global game would be used to help equip and send Great Commission students and graduates all over the world.” After nearly one and a half decades, the Southeastern Classic is continuing to make an eternal difference in the lives of students. In 14 years, SEBTS has raised over $900,000 to help alleviate tuition costs for students. This dollar amount is the equivalent of providing 110 students a full scholarship for a year. Every dollar given at the Southeastern Classic is making it possible for students to be further equipped in reaching the lost throughout North America and around the world. Tournament participants like Kyle Tucker understand that the Southeastern Classic is more than a
tournament; it’s an opportunity to make an eternal impact in the lives of students and those to whom they will minister. “I was excited to play in this tournament because not only did we have a great time on the golf course together, we also were able to participate in the school’s mission of sending students around the world with the gospel,” said Tucker, a Southeastern Society member who has participated in the Southeastern Classic for nearly a decade with Captrust. This year’s Southeastern Classic had 36 teams and 144 registered players participate. For the third consecutive year, the tournament was divided into a morning and afternoon flight. SEBTS is grateful for the 63 sponsors who made this year’s tournament possible, including Deacon Companies who served as the Title Sponsor for this year’s tournament. Both Faith Baptist Church and Robling Medical Incorporated served as the Flight Sponsors.
Every dollar given at the Southeastern Classic is making it possible for students to be further equipped in reaching the lost throughout North America and around the world. “This tournament has had a great financial impact for our students, and we believe it also has a tremendous eternal impact,” said Davis. “We look forward to hosting the 15th annual Southeastern Classic in the fall of 2021 as we strive to break $1,000,000 raised over the life of the tournament so that we can see even more students equipped and sent to GO.”
Honoring the SBC’s First Missionaries to Iran, George and Joan Braswell
George Braswell, Jr. 1973 DMIN IN THEOLOGY AND MISSIONS First Southern Baptist Missionary to Iran, Emeritus Professor of Missions and World Religions, SEBTS 1987 Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, SEBTS 1998 Distinguished Professorship by the Board of Trustees
Story by Lauren Pratt
Photos by Rebecca Pate
r. George Braswell knows what it means to be on mission. He’s traveled to far off places, conversed with leaders of world religions and was the only Christian at the time to be invited to teach at the Faculty of Islamic Theology of the University of Tehran. He has led students to engage with world religions in their own communities and has pioneered mission work in Muslim contexts. As the first Southern Baptist missionary to Iran in 1968, Braswell has influenced thousands of students to give their lives to fulfilling the Great Commission and has led churches to be missions-minded for over 50 years. Sitting and chatting over tea and cookies, Braswell is never without a story to tell. Walking through their Wake Forest home feels like walking down memory lane. Persian rugs line the living room floors and photos and trinkets from Iran are in all areas of the house. Braswell’s home office is covered from wall to wall with memorabilia from Africa and the Middle East and even his hometown of Emporia, Virginia where he first heard stories from the Bible that would one day lead him go to the mission field. “I am tremendously indebted to my local church to sow those seeds of the Great Commission,” said Braswell. “I had no idea then I’d be a foreign international missionary, but that’s the way God worked it out.” From an early age, Braswell’s heart was drawn to foreign missions. Through Sunday school lessons on the magi and hearing missionaries speak in church, the Lord was stirring a desire in him to one day go to the nations. He was called to ministry in high school and went to college at Wake Forest University, where he met his wife Joan in his sophomore year. After graduating from Wake Forest University, he decided to pursue his master’s at Yale Divinity School.
Upon graduating from Yale, Braswell became pastor of Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Throughout his five years pastoring, he organized an annual trip for high schoolers from his church to attend Foreign Mission Week at the Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly, where missionaries would come to share about their experiences on the field. While Braswell prayed for students to walk the aisle to accept the call to missions, he felt
Dr. Muhammadi offered Braswell a job at the school teaching comparative religions except for Islam. The Islamic Theology Division at the university had approximately 600 students and 35 faculty members, and Braswell was the only nonIranian and Christian teaching at the university at the time. This opportunity to teach at the university opened up doors for Braswell to build relationships within a country that was 98 percent Shi’ite Muslim.
I am tremendously indebted to my local church to sow those seeds of the Great Commission. I had no idea then I’d be a foreign international missionary, but that’s the way God worked it out. the Lord tugging on his heart to go. Before he knew it, he and his wife Joan were walking down the aisle at that 1966 conference to say yes to God’s call to go to the mission field. Two years later, they were commissioned by the Foreign Mission Board as the first Southern Baptist missionaries to Iran. The Braswells set sail with their three children to Rome, boarded a flight to Beirut, and finally arrived in Iran— their home for the next five years. Braswell remembers the first time his wife Joan and their three children arrived in Tehran, Iran in 1968. Luggage in hand, the Braswells sought to obtain a work visa in the next 90 days before their tourist visa expired. In God’s providence, they connected with a Presbyterian missionary, who introduced Braswell to Dr. Muhammad Muhammadi, the dean of the Faculty of Islamic Theology of the University of Tehran. The two discussed topics from Iranian culture to Braswell’s educational background at Yale Divinity School over multiple cups of hot tea. At the end of their conversation,
This is just one of many crosscultural experiences that Braswell recounts in his new book, 14 Journeys. A prolific author in the field of evangelical missions, Braswell outlines encounters with religious leaders across a variety of world religions. His desire is for the Church to be encouraged and equipped to engage in gospel conversations in an increasingly pluralistic country. As the nations are coming to the United States, Braswell’s hope is that his book will serve as a guide for those seeking to better understanding how to converse with those of other faiths in their own backyard. “[Our country] is growing tremendously in religious pluralism, and our churches need to be awakened. This book tells a more personal journey,” said Braswell. In his book, Braswell tells the story of encountering magi in Iran. He had only heard about these men from stories in the Bible as a young boy. As an adult, he stood face-toface with them proclaiming the good news of the gospel to them just like he had read about in Luke 2.
1 | Braswell and Class Meet with Baha’i Leaders in Washington DC 2 | Braswell's Class at Islamic Mosque 3 | Braswell with Swami Kamala and Student at Hindu Temple
4 | Braswell Engages Muslim Leader at Nairobi Mosque in Kenya 5 | Braswell and Mormon Leaders at Mormon Church
6 | Braswell and Class at Buddhist Temple in Raleigh, NC 7 | Braswell Talks with Magi Priest in Iran 8 | Braswell's PhD Class at Muslim Seminary in Tehran, Iran Photos courtesy of George Braswell
Braswell recounts the story below in his newly released book, 14 Journeys. Visit With the Magi and Talk About Jesus
I was in luck. Just up the street from the guest house was a Magi temple. Knowing only a few words of greeting in the Farsi language, I set out by myself, boldly to find the temple.
The story about my visit to the Magi on my first morning in Iran became a media article later upon our return to the States. It was titled, “Meeting the Magi: Calm, Cool, and Collected.” That morning I could not sleep and got up and learned that the temple of the Magi was near-by. After my visit I returned to the guest house and had another breakfast with my jetlagged family. Traveling by jet from Beirut to Tehran, we arrived at 3.a.m. to a quiet Mehrabad International Airport. Since we were the first appointed missionaries from our mission agency to Iran, there were no Baptist missionaries to meet us. The Presbyterians did, and took my wife and three kids and me to their guest house in the center of the city. Upon settling in, it was about daybreak. They were exhausted and fell asleep upon the hard mattresses and doubly hard pillows. I was exhilarated and keyed up to capacity. It was 6.a.m. and bread with butter and jam and hot tea were being served to the early risers. After greetings, my first question was, ‘Where do the Magi live?’ My Sunday school teachers had taught me about the three Wise Men of Persia as a little boy. I had studied the biblical characters of the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius. At divinity school I had studied comparative religions with a professor who told us he visited the Magi in Iran and had studied their Zoroastrian religion. I was in luck. Just up the street from the guest house was a Magi temple. Knowing only a few words of greeting in the Farsi language, I set out by myself, boldly to find the temple. Along the sidewalks were ten-foot tall mud walls behind which were residences and other low-lying buildings. I came to the recognizable green gate. I pushed the buzzer. A man dressed in white robe and white cap and wearing sandals appeared. He let me in, took me to another Magi so dressed who knew English, and my life-long dream of conversing with a Wise Man began. I told him my story about the Wise Men, about the three Magi who traveled a long way to arrive at Bethlehem and present to the baby Jesus the very best gifts they had: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I told him how pleased I was that they did not tell old King Herod all that they knew. They really were wise and fearless. The Magi looked so calm, cool, and collected as he tended to the sandalwood fire. The fire has been kept burning for eons of time. Their deity, Ahura Mazda, wanted it to be. He told me of his prophet, Zoroaster, sometimes called Zarathustra, of the battle between good and evil, between light and darkness, between Ahura Mazda and the evil one.
Accolades for 14 Journeys “George Braswell has the mind of a scholar and the heart of a missionary. This book wonderfully combines both.” -Danny Akin, SEBTS President “Dr. George Braswell has filled a lifetime with faith-fueled scholarship. As his student, I was most impacted by his humble commitment to listen—to let people define themselves on their own terms. He taught us that good understanding comes through careful listening. I am excited to see a volume that chronicles both the discoveries he’s made and the lessons he has learned along the way.” -JD Greear, SBC President, Pastor of Summit Church, SEBTS Alumnus “I have known Dr. George Braswell for 25 years. I can testify that over the decades and through all his personal relationships and public ministry, Dr. Braswell has modeled what he commends in this book – Christian civility and charity. He has built countless positive relationships that have served as platforms for Christian witness. Read this book and learn from the best.” -Allan Moseley, Senior Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, SEBTS
I felt the warmth of the fire as well as the warmth of his personality. He told me there were so few Magi and Zoroastrians left in Iran and even in the world. He had studied the Bible and its narratives about the Magi. He said he honored Jesus as a prophet and a very wise man. As I drank my second cup of tea dissolving a sugar cube in my mouth, I looked at this Magi with his sparkling eyes and distinct Persian nose. After a few hours in Iran, I had found the Magi. He poked another piece of sandalwood into the flames, its incense refreshing in the air. I felt calm, cool, and collected around him. I told him the story of the Jesus I knew who grew up from that manger scene with the Magi and taught such beautiful lessons for the living of our days and who was crucified on the cross and was resurrected from the tomb. I told him I called him Savior and Lord. He looked at me and said that he too had heard that story and read it in the Bible. And then he said to me what I had heard years before in my studies of Zoroastrianism, “We teach that there is a ‘Son of Man’ coming in the future for whom we are to watch.” I smiled with him and said, ‘I believe that ‘Son of Man’ has come.’ As we walked to the green gate, I thanked him for letting a stranger in, for a warm cup of tea, and for the gifts long ago of the Magi to Jesus. As I walked back to the guest house, I felt like a little boy of long ago. I really talked with a Wise Man! Wait until I tell Joan and the kids. To read more about Dr. Braswell's story, check out his new book called, "14 Journeys: Engaging an Increasingly Pluralistic World with Christian Civility and Charity." Now available on e-book and print on smile.amazon.com.
“If you are looking for a book that brings differing perspectives to bear on Christian witness, 14 Journeys: Engaging an Increasingly Pluralistic World With Christian Civility and Charity is the book for you! Join veteran missionary and scholar George Braswell on thesegospel excursions that you are sure to find as edifying as they are instructive.” -Keith Harper, Senior Professor of Baptist Studies, SEBTS “George Braswell has effectively engaged people of different religions for decades as a missionary and professor. He has shared this commitment with others through his books, classes, and ‘field trips’ to engage practitioners of the differing faiths in their own contexts. Without compromising his convictions he always engages others in a respectful and winsome manner. It has been my privilege to call George Braswell a friend for over 25 years and I commend the writings of this friend to all who want to grow in their knowledge to understand and engage others of differing faiths.” -Al James, Professor of Missions, Associate Dean of Ministry Studies, EQUIP Network Coordinator, SEBTS
The year 2021 and beyond, we're growing tremendously in religious pluralism, and our churches need to be awakened. - Dr. George Braswell AVAILABLE ON
14 Journeys Engaging an Increasingly Pluralistic World with Christian Civility and Charity
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM DR. BR ASWELL
EXPERIENCE SOUTHEASTERN sebts.edu/preview
VISIT US FOR
Engage in gospel-centered teaching with exceptional faculty Tour Southeastern’s historic campus Experience a classroom driven by world-class curriculum Learn what it means to be a Great Commission student
OR SCHEDULE A CAMPUS TOUR
All precautions are being made to ensure safety and spatial distancing.
The College at Southeastern has been a community that has intellectually and spiritually equipped me to proclaim Jesus more clearly through honest, humble and compassionate ministry.
Josiah Gwyn BA in English & Theology
Featured Student: Josiah Gwyn first heard about Southeastern at church before I was even a Christian. My family and I had recently moved to Wake Forest. Several of the leaders at church were current students or had graduated from Southeastern. I planned to go to school for engineering at the time, but the Lord had a different plan for my life. Several years after moving to Wake Forest, I placed my faith in Jesus. I almost immediately felt the Lord’s call on my life to do ministry. I wrestled with this calling for a few years before speaking with some of the administrators and faculty for
The College at Southeastern. After praying and seeking the Lord’s direction, I enrolled in college here in the spring of 2017. The Lord has used my time here to work in me a desire to plant churches internationally and teach literature. In the Summer of 2017, I went on my first mission trip through The College at Southeastern to Toronto. The Lord used that trip to soften my heart for nations and cultures represented in Canada. I have been back several times, and I plan to move to Toronto someday to plant a church, preach the gospel and teach English.
In preparation for ministry in Toronto, I am currently working on a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English and in Theology. English has equipped me with various resources to read and interpret both biblical and non-biblical texts well. Theology has helped me to know God rightly through biblical reasoning. Thus far, my time at the College as Southeastern has prepared me mentally and spiritually for what I believe to be Lord’s calling on my life. The College at Southeastern has been crucial in my spiritual growth and ministry preparation.
Southeastern is a Great Commission school. From our undergraduate program through our doctoral degrees, our students and graduates are pursuing the nations for the glory of King Jesus. Last words are meant to be lasting words, and that means that Jesus’ final command is our first priority: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Our graduates are making an impact in all 50 states and in over 40 countries. Yet, the task is not complete, because there still remains over three billion people who have never heard the name of Jesus. Our goal is to advance the kingdom of God and combat global lostness by sending 1,000 gospel-prepared warriors every year to join over 16,000 graduates who are on mission for Christ.
FOR THE STUDENTS
FOR THE FACULT Y TOTAL RAISED
To achieve this goal, we are launching For the Mission, a four-year campaign that addresses four strategic initiatives that allow us to be more effective in fulfilling the Great Commission. This is for the students by providing more scholarships and financial aid. This is for the faculty by establishing faculty chairs, professorships and other academic initiatives. This is for the campus through the construction and renovation of needed facilities. And this is for the cause by giving mission critical support for our immediate financial needs. We are doing this for the mission. It’s four years. Four strategic initiatives. For the glory of God. Will you join us?
FOR THE CA MPUS
FOR THE CAUSE TOTAL RAISED
4 YEARS | 4 STRATEGIC INITIATIVES | FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
BECAUSE YOU GIVE, WE
FOR THE MISSION. WAYS TO GIVE
SCAN HERE OR GO TO SEBTS.EDU/GIVE
Cash or Check Please make checks payable to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and send to the address below: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Attn: Financial and Alumni Development P.O. Box 1889, Wake Forest, NC 27588
Donor Advised Funds
Matching Gifts Many companies offer their employees a gift-matching program. The percentages and amounts may vary, but you can inquire with your respective Human Resources Office to see if this is available to you. This is a great way to maximize your giving to Southeastern!
Donor-advised funds are tremendous giving vehicles that allow donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants from their fund over time.These funds are established at a public charity, and there are numerous organizations (including faith-based organizations) that provide this service across the country for donors to choose from when opening a fund.
Give a tax-free gift to Southeastern directly from your IRA. IRA distributions to Southeastern qualify for the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). You must be age 70 1/2 or older and the annual maximum donation is $100,000.
When you donate appreciated securities, both the gift amount and charitable deduction are the fair market value of the stock and there is no capital gains tax.
Featured Learn more at FORTHEMISSION.COM
Pouring into the
Community How One Raleigh Café is Modeling the Gospel to Patrons
John and Jeanne Luther RALEIGH, NC
2003 MDIV IN THEOLOGICAL STUDIES (JOHN) Owners, Sola Coffee Café
usiness owners John and Jeanne Luther believe welcoming customers into Sola Coffee Café is like welcoming them into their home. They have seen how good food and drink lift spirits and bring people together in a unique way. The Luthers have also seen how running Sola has given them a platform to love the Raleigh community and point people to Christ. “If you want to be strategic, enter a city and live out the gospel, a coffee shop is perfect,” said John. “You could go anywhere in the world and open up a shop and begin the process of loving people with an intentional desire of discussing who God is and who Jesus is. Food and drink over a table create an emotional interaction that you just don’t get anywhere else.”
Story by Lauren Pratt
Photos by Rebecca Pate
The smell of espresso, the sound of milk steaming and the aroma of food from the kitchen fills the Sola dining room as employees bustle back and forth to fill orders on a brisk, sunny day. It’s here at Sola that business is still running as usual despite the ongoing pandemic. But while customers still line up for Sola’s delicious hot mini donuts, Counter Culture coffee and mouthwatering lunches, the seats inside the beautifully decorated café are empty. It’s a sight that makes Jeanne Luther tear up just talking about it. Sola has become an integral part of the community, coming together over delicious food and coffee, and yet so much more. John and Jeanne have made every effort to get to know the customers who walk through their doors, walking from table to
table and catching up with regulars. It’s the everyday interactions over the past nine years that have made the difference. Even with the indoor café closed, John and Jeanne still wave through the window as they see familiar faces standing in line. When they pull up to the café in the mornings with their golden retriever Buddy, they have opportunities to interact with customers who continue supporting this local business they love as they sit bundled in their coats and blankets. Opening Sola wasn’t the Luther’s first attempt at running a business, though. Back in the 90s while living in Severna Park, Maryland, the couple opened up Chesapeake Bagel Bakery. The Luthers, who were fairly new believers by the time they married in 1989, grew in their intentionality to let their faith intersect with the way they ran the business and cared for customers. John remembers being particularly impacted by John Piper’s book, “Let the Nations Be Glad,” realizing that God had called him to be intentional to love people in his own back yard. Chesapeake Bagel Bakery was the perfect outlet to do that. “If God was to be glorified in all things, then running a business was to be a part of that,” said John. While running the business, John had the opportunity to take on pastoral responsibilities at church as well. In the process, he began developing a heart for vocational ministry. That’s when he started considering Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) to pursue his MDiv. In August of 2000, the Luthers sold their business, packed up their belongings and left their home of 12 years to move down south to seminary. In 2003 after graduating from SEBTS, John began serving at Christ Covenant Church in Raleigh, where he pastored alongside Tom Mercer overseeing missions and discipleship for the church.
John looks back on his time at SEBTS as one of building “a framework and a foundation of a life of learning.” As he served in the church and pursued the MDiv, he developed a deeper understanding of the importance of the local church. In addition, the friendships with peers, professors and fellow pastors sharpened him spiritually and still do to this day. In 2011, John began to sense the Lord calling him out of vocational ministry to be more present with his family. Through much prayer by John, Jeanne and the elders at Christ Covenant, the decision for John to step down was unanimous. John had been working for the church full-time for years and started to question how he would earn a living. Drawing back on his bagel days in Maryland, he began to think about starting another business—but this time it would be in coffee. Members of Christ Covenant played an integral role in helping the Luthers start up their business, starting with an advisory team of accountants and MBAs who could help them develop a successful business plan for Sola. In 2012, Sola opened its doors to the public. While the Luthers don’t publicly identify Sola as a Christian café, they seek for Sola to be a place where all people are welcome and where customers can experience the love of Christ through good coffee and intentional conversations. As John puts it, “Sola exists for the gospel.”
It’s a lot easier to invite people to walk through the front doors of a coffee shop than through the front doors of a church.
“It’s a lot easier to invite people to walk through the front doors of a coffee shop than through the front doors of a church,” said Jeanne. John has seen this firsthand through patrons like Tim, a Jewish customer he befriended at the café. One day while Sola, Tim informed John that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. This prompted John to ask him how he coped with such heartbreaking news. Through their conversation, John invited Tim to read through the Gospel of John with him. That’s why décor in the café like the sign that reads “Love is Here” isn’t just for looks. It’s a testimony to the warm spirit found in the way the Luthers, Sola employees and customers care for one another. Before the pandemic, Sola hosted a number of café events to bring the community together from pop-up markets with local vendors to live music from local musicians. As the Luthers have poured into their community, they have also seen how the community is caring for them. Despite the pandemic, the couple said they have not laid off any of their 30 employees. “We have poured into Raleigh, loving them, making this great space for them to enjoy and call their second home with great food and coffee,” said Jeanne. “But I feel like the community has now poured into us.” Customers and employees have supported Jeanne through her battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which she was diagnosed with back in 2018. The past two years, the café’s annual Hot Mini 5k has raised money to support ALS research. The five races prior to 2018 raised money to support the Wounded Warriors Project, but when the Luthers found out Jeanne’s diagnosis with ALS, the community rallied around her with support. The Luthers saw the largest amount of participation and fundraising this past year, with 900 runners and $94,000 raised. “God’s using ALS in a way that is hard for us but very sweet,” said John. “It’s very easy to have conversations with people. They can’t push back when we’re talking about having a joy that transcends ALS. Yes, we’re sad. Yes, we get frustrated. Yes, it’s hard. But our hope is seeing Christ face to face in a new heavens and a new earth where this stuff will be gone.”
John and Jeanne at Sola, pouring into their community with gospel intentionality, one cup of coffee at a time.
of Faith Nurturing Faith in the Next Generation
Brandon James 2020 DMIN IN PASTORAL MINISTRY Family Pastor, First Baptist Hendersonville
everal years ago, I came across a Volkswagen commercial that made me laugh. A son awkwardly throws a baseball to his father, who then returns the ball just as awkwardly. While the dad throws the ball, the narrator says, “Pass down something he will be grateful for,” and the camera pans to a new Volkswagen sitting in the driveway. As a father myself, and a family pastor charged with leading a next-generation ministry, that statement stirred within me a desire to help parents pass down something their children will be grateful for—not a new car, but a life of faith and surrender to the Lord. When thinking about a legacy of faith, I can’t help but consider my own family. My grandfather lived in China as a little boy, as my great-grandfather served as a medical missionary during the 1920s. He grew up and became a physician himself. He also raised my father, who became a pastor, to know and love the Lord. My passion for serving the Church and helping her accomplish the Great Commission was nurtured by my father, who modeled and taught me what it means to make disciples of all nations. I’m grateful for a family legacy of faith. It impacted my life and my children’s lives for eternity. Throughout Scripture, God reveals his desire for one generation’s faith to
Story by Brandon James
pass down to the next generation. If God thinks generationally, shouldn’t the Church? And if so, how can the Church help nurture generational faith among her people? Scripture asserts our faith affects children yet unborn (Psalm 78:6). The Psalmist also declares that “one generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4 ESV). I firmly believe the Church’s ministry to the next generation determines the Church’s health. A church that works hard to see children and students come to faith in Jesus, discipled and unleashed into the world as Great Commission Christians, is a church that reflects the heartbeat of the New Testament. However, it seems many churches struggle to do this. During my time studying in the Doctor of Ministry program at SEBTS, I focused my research on developing a strategic plan to help churches partner with families to cultivate generational faith, called the NextGen Parent Pathway. While researching, I learned parents often do not disciple their children because they feel unequipped. Sadly, many churches have not created avenues or pathways to guide parents on the journey of spiritually developing their children. Instead, parents become co-dependent upon the church to ensure their kids receive adequate spiritual formation.
Photos courtesy of First Baptist Hendersonville
During his DMin studies, Brandon James and his staff developed the NextGen Parent Pathway to help assist parents in his church with discipleship throughout each stage of their child’s life.
When Covid-19 hit in the spring of 2020, families all over the United States were no longer able to depend on regular church programming for their children. Churches that had adequately equipped and resourced parents to disciple their children and teens at home thrived, while others scrambled to develop a strategy. Through my study in the next generation DMin program, I became intent on ensuring that the Church helps parents develop a plan to make disciples in their home. At First Baptist Hendersonville, where I serve as family pastor, we recently introduced parents to the NextGen Parent Pathway. Our team
designed the pathway to partner with parents to spiritually invest in their children and cultivate faith in their family for generations to come. The pathway includes a visual overview of the parent’s journey from birth to graduation and contains tools for parents to foster faith in the home. By equipping parents, I believe the church can lead the next generation to embrace and live the Great Commission. The pathway has created a renewed excitement among parents in our church to take ownership of discipling their children. Not long after introducing the pathway and resources, one mom showed me the
Scripture memory cards associated with the pathway hanging in their van so their family can practice memorizing Scripture throughout the week. Another parent eagerly began sharing with families from the community about the church’s opportunity to help them on their parenting journey. The pathway gives parents a clear understanding of how they can engage in spiritual disciplines as a family while also presenting a plan for church and missions engagement. From the time a child is born, parents have 936 weeks until they graduate. Time goes quickly, and the church must work diligently to help
parents nurture their child’s heart toward the heart of God. I recently had the privilege of filling out two reference forms for former students applying with the International Mission Board. Both of these students grew up in a church that prioritized the next generation, emphasized the truth that every student ought to embrace the Great Commission and had parents who intentionally led them to surrender their lives to the Lord. Their hearts’ desire now is to make disciples of all nations. My prayer is that the Church sees many more like them for generations to come.
More affordable. More accessible. More achievable than ever before. N O W A V A I L A B L E F U L LY O N L I N E AND OPE N TO MA AND MDIV G R ADS
Brandon James is seeking to equip the next generation to love and follow Christ, one family at a time.
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM BR ANDON
D O C TO R O F MINISTRY
L E A R N M O R E AT S E B T S . E D U / D M I N
Cas Monaco 2020 PHD, APPLIED THEOLOGY IN NORTH AMERICAN MISSIOLOGY
Executive Director of Gospel in Culture for Cru City
Evangelism New Approaches to Meaningful Gospel Conversations
Muslim taxi driver, a nonreligious college student, a Wiccan and a selfproclaimed “social revolutionary.” What do all of these people have in common? They represent the growing diversity of the American religious landscape. They also represent those with whom Southeastern PhD graduate Cas Monaco has entered into gospel conversations. Through her conversations with these and many others, she realized she was living in a society that was becoming increasingly pluralistic and yet altogether non-religious. Monaco remembers her shock when a farm girl from Oregon said she had never heard of Jesus or the Bible. This conversation alarmed Monaco and caused her to realize that the religious landscape of t he United States was changing faster than she realized. According to a Pew Research study conducted in 2019, Christianity is in rapid decline. From 2009-2019, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults grew by 30 million. This reality along with the rapidly changing demographics in America and the emergence of Gen Z raise significant and exciting missiological questions for evangelicals today. How do we adapt the way we share the gospel in our increasingly secularized culture? This question is one reason why Monaco decided to pursue a PhD at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in 2016 in applied theology and North American
Story by Lauren Pratt
Photos by Rebecca Pate
missiology. As the executive director of Gospel in Culture for Cru City, Monaco decided to focus her dissertation on reimagining Bill Bright’s (Cru’s founder) Four Spiritual Laws for a twenty-first century context. Four Spiritual Laws is an evangelistic tract developed by Bright in the mid-twentieth century as a simple, transferable tool for use in personal evangelism.
Monaco critically evaluated the effectiveness of this tool in an American 21st century context as described by cultural critics Charles Taylor and Philip Rieff. The two characterize the current era as secularized—exclusively humanist and void of sacred authority, an era in which Christianity is implausible and even unimaginable.
“I first met Cas Monaco about a decade ago when she was working toward her master’s degree,” said George Robinson, Southeastern’s Bailey Smith chair of evangelism. “Her lifetime of experience working with Cru and her passion for communicating the hope of the gospel bled through in our conversation about a potential thesis topic. From that day until her December 2020 graduation earning the PhD in Applied Theology, Cas has exemplified an impeccable work ethic, and an ability to think and write well about the intersection of gospel communication and contemporary culture.” Monaco began her research in conjunction with a research project Cru City initiated in partnership with Cyrano, a marketing research collective. The project included qualitative and quantitative analyses drawn from an audience of 400 men and women between the ages of 24-56, who represented diverse backgrounds and religious worldviews in cities across the United States. Significantly, over half of the people surveyed claimed no religious affiliation and most described Christianity as offensive, inauthentic, unsafe or simply irrelevant. Yet, 84 percent were willing to have spiritual conversations with a Christian but didn’t feel certain that Christians cared to have these same conversations with them. Instead, many experienced Christians telling them
what to believe rather than having a meaningful discussion about faith. The research revealed that everyone has three core longings of peace, prosperity and purpose. Cru City wants to help believers articulate and show how Jesus meets all of these needs. That’s why Cru began implementing five key factors to engage the lost: Be present and listen, find common ground, walk in their shoes, talk like a real person and communicate a better story.
Cru City compares the landscape of gospel sowing to that of a wild field rather than a greenhouse. Unlike a greenhouse, the wild field is unpredictable and uncontrollable. These often complex, external factors create new challenges for sharing the gospel in the wild field of the city. Cru seeks to equip believers to cultivate a growing awareness of the 21st century context and to engage in meaningful gospel conversations in
dynamic and agile ways. Monaco recognized the significance of the changing culture and through her research contended for a narrative approach to gospel conversations and proposed a theological framework that rested on the four overarching themes in Scripture: creation, fall, redemption, restoration/ recreation. Using these four themes, Monaco introduced four prominent features of faithful recontextualization for the 21st century. Continued on p.48
City Theological Framework City’s Mission Statement:
Engage the curious and equip the follower so that people can find their place in God’s story
4 4 Themes
The True Story of the Whole World Four overarching themes run through the Bible, which is the True Story of the Whole World, and provide a theological framework within which both the follower and the curious can discover their place in God’s story.
© Cas Monaco, Theological Framework, 2020
This theological framework establishes what we believe the message of the Bible is and shapes how we engage in mission
We Believe that the Bible tells the True Story of The Whole World
We Yield to the Full Weight of God’s Authority
| Our Theological Riverbanks |
| Our Willing Posture |
The True Story of the Whole World (TSWW) tells the story of God’s mission in the world
Yielding to the Full Weight of God’s Authority gives us confidence in a twenty-first century context
• The Gospel is good news for all people in every culture • God’s mission to redeem and restore all of creation is central to the TSWW and is summed up in Christ Jesus • The TSWW is comprehensive and provides meaning for all of history and meaning for each person’s life
• The full weight of God’s authority is declared and demonstrated in Scripture • The full weight of God’s authority is demonstrated in the promise and completed work of redemption • We follow God’s call to be witnesses to the TSWW in every context
We Reflect the Multicultural/ Multiethnic Reality Inherent in God’s Design
We Take the Initiative to Engage in Innovative and Meaningful Gospel Conversations
| Our Commitment to Pursue Oneness in the Midst of Our Diversity |
| Our Call to be God’s Witnesses |
This feature affirms that the TSWW is translatable and understandable in any and every culture
This requires a dynamic encounter with culture and includes the following four marks:
• This multicultural reality rests in the missional nature of God and affirms the incarnation, the community of the Trinity, and the partnership of the Spirit • This necessitates a willingness to engage in and learn through inter- and cross-cultural collaboration • The demonstration of living within a community of unified diversity is a key part of witnessing to the truthfulness of the Gospel
• an affirmation that the Spirit-created Church lives as the very body of Christ in the world • a dynamic and prophetic faith that involves transparency and authenticity • a cruciform (cross-shaped) way of discipleship • a heightened awareness of exclusive humanism of our day
Cas Monaco adapted her research to aid Cru City in their strategic efforts to reach young professionals with the gospel.
In society today, we need a heftier theological framework so that we can speak to the social issues that we face and the different beliefs that are out there. Cas Monaco
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM CAS
These four themes and four features have helped to inform Cru City’s purpose, “To engage the curious and equip the follower to help them find their place in God’s story.” Consequently, Monaco in collaboration with her Cru colleagues is developing new approaches for meaningful gospel conversations for twenty-somethings, working professionals and co-workers in urban centers, neighbors and friends, church planters and artists. Cru City is seeking to engage with people who are not wondering if Jesus is real, but why Jesus matters. Monaco and her husband have been seeking to minister to their own neighbors as well. In a heartbreaking year like 2020, instability wasn’t hard to find and continues to be a common experience worldwide. In response, they decided to initiate a weekly prayer meeting at their neighborhood gazebo. There they acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety and pray for the people in their neighborhood. Every week from the neighborhood Facebook page they invite people to join them virtually or in person for 30 minutes of outdoor prayer. On a more personal note, on September 10, 2020 Monaco’s father passed away at the age of 84—just one week after she submitted her dissertation for review. In the days following his death, she also learned that he had also trusted Christ. For years, Monaco had prayed for two things: that the Lord would bring her dad to faith and that her dad would live to see her finish her dissertation. The Lord answered both of her prayers. “It was really sweet that God would answer my prayers at the time that he did,” said Monaco. After graduating from Southeastern in the fall of 2020, she looks back with a sense of gratitude for all that the Lord taught her through years of hard work. She is deeply grateful for the support she received from her professors and peers. “The Lord has used [Cas] to both speak and train myriads of people in an approach to thoughtful, compassionate evangelism,” said Robinson, who also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. “I am thrilled to see how her research will shape Cru’s evangelism in the coming years by honoring Bill Bright’s legacy and furthering it so that Cru’s global impact can continue to expand in the 21st century context. Dr. Monaco and her insights will most definitely reverberate for years to come.” Monaco is grateful for Southeastern’s ongoing commitment to champion women who pursue theological education. “I have watched the seminary change over the past several years in the areas of diversity and women,” said Monaco. “I really appreciate Dr. Akin’s leadership in that way. I have been encouraged as a scholar and as a woman, and I always felt believed in.” This is Cas Monaco’s Great Commission story. She’s seeking to train others to better think and engage the lost in today’s secularized context. Find resources on evangelism, devotional Bible studies and more from Cas Monaco at casmonaco.com
The Lord has used Cas to both speak and train myriads of people in an approach to thoughtful, compassionate evangelism. Dr. George Robinson Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism Professor of Evangelism and Missions
It’s more than a college. It’s a calling. The College at Southeastern equips students to give their lives for the cause of Christ in the Church, among the nations and in every aspect of society. Come visit us or learn more at
Wake Forest, NC
Perseverance Loving Londoners Through Gospel Intentionality
Thomas West LONDON, ENGLAND
2017 PHD IN THEOLOGICAL STUDIES 2011 MDIV IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY Pastor and Church Planter, Redeemer Queens Park
It is the very heart of the gospel that it both gives everything and requires everything. Lesslie Newbigin, British Theologian
here does the call to ministry begin? It starts with faithfulness in small steps of obedience. Jesus talks about this kind of obedience when he tells his followers in Matthew 28:18-20 to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” That’s why Southeastern PhD graduate Thomas West is seeking to make Christ known as a church planter at Redeemer Queens Park in London, England. When West thinks back on how he ended up in London, it all started back to his willingness to say yes to the Lord.
He said yes to the Lord when he felt called to pursue his Master of Divinity at Southeastern. He said yes when the Lord called him to go further in his education and pursue a PhD. He said yes to the Lord when he was asked to come on staff at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh as the college pastor. And in June 2019, West and his family said yes to go to London to plant Redeemer Queens Park (RQP) to lead one of the most culturally diverse teams sent out by the Summit Collaborative.
The call to London came as West studied the works of British missionary and theologian Lesslie Newbigin during his time in Southeastern’s PhD program. In 2016, West traveled to Birmingham, England for a week to do research for his dissertation, and he sensed the Lord stirring a love in his heart for England. With a desire to see churches planted in Western urban centers, West and his wife, Elizabeth, decided to take a vision trip to London. The Wests began to see confirmation of how the Lord was moving them to plant in London. What started with a desire became a clear calling through the affirmation of the those around them—friends like Daniel and Paige Evans, who served alongside West at Providence, told them they were hoping to move to London and start a business as a way of sharing the gospel. Likewise, West’s in-laws affirmed the passion they saw in he and Elizabeth and their love for the city of London. As the Wests waited for the Lord to help them come to a feasible place of moving overseas, they held onto the promise of Psalm 37:3 -
Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. In June 2019, they moved with their three kids to London and began to lay the groundwork for Redeemer Queens Park. They were joined by Daniel and Paige Evans, and today the church planting team consists of 25 adults and 10 kids from both England and the U.S. West and his team understand that in a postChristian environment like London, reaching residents with the gospel means creating environments for building relationships that lead to honest conversations. And these honest conversations come from meeting people where they are. 52
Story by Lauren Pratt
Photos by Rebecca Pate and courtesy of Thomas West
Left: Queens Park neighborhood Right: London skyscrapers Bottom Left: Musicians on the streets of London Bottom Right: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge
West and members of RQP are fulfilling the Great Commission through caring for their community. One example of this is through the Queens Park Gardens Hub, an organization that provides activities, classes and meals to underserved children in the area. Through volunteering with The Hub, members of RQP are building genuine friendships in the community with the gospel in mind. “People out here don’t want proofs for the existence of God. Instead, they want cultural apologetics,” said West. “They want to know in what ways Christianity is real and good and beautiful and true.” Another way that Redeemer Queens Park is seeking to show how God is good, beautiful and true is through Redeemer Sessions. West describes the structure of the church’s Saturday afternoon service as a “church information session,” a non-threatening environment where non-believers can come hear from him as he walks through a 20-minute sermon, or “Bible talks,” as West describes them. Redeemer Sessions are a way to engage the spiritually curious in an increasingly secularized culture. “This place is not ready to come to a church preview service,” said West. “They’ve got to be able to see this thing coming. If they walk into a room and see 30 people singing with their hands raised at a flat screen TV. I mean, they would lose their minds.” That’s why he’s not only creating safe spaces for spiritual conversations through Redeemer Sessions, but West also began Pub Chats. Think couches, candles and conversations. It’s a low-key environment that West describes as a “social lubricant” in a bustling city where people keep to themselves. The pub is a place where people can let down their guard and have meaningful conversations. Every Tuesday night at 8pm, West and members from his team hang out with locals and build relationships. This is the foundation
for gospel ministry in London, where gospel ministry takes longsuffering. On average, it takes between 18-24 months for a Brittish resident to follow Christ after hearing the gospel for the first time. West compares sharing the gospel in England to pebbles in a shoe. In fact, he keeps a jar of pebbles in his office to remind him of that concept. The idea is that every time he is with a friend for coffee or serving someone in the community or talking to someone at a pub chat, he’s trying to place spiritual “pebbles” in their shoes that they cannot ignore. It’s like spiritual food for thought. He’s seeking to do this through conversations with friends like Tim, another father at his children’s school. He’s also seeking to do this virtually through outlets like The Public Truth, a blog and podcast targeted at those who he may not have the time to meet with during the day due to conflicting schedules. The Public Truth was born out a heart to enter into a virtual public square and dialogue about the intersection of faith and culture. “What God is doing in and through Thomas West gives us a good picture of what could be all over the country,” said Todd Unzicker, who serves as an associate pastor at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham. “We have a SEBTS graduate, working with multiple churches across multiple states, being sent out, partnering with the IMB and bringing many with him under the #Go2Years banner. I thank God for Thomas and his obedience to make disciples who make disciples.”
Thomas West is seeking to make Christ known in London, one “pebble” at a time, one person at a time.
L E A R N M O R E AT R E D E E M E R Q P.C O M & TH E PU B LI C TR UTH .U K
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Check out these great podcasts for the mission-minded from the centers at Southeastern.
The Sent Life is the podcast of the Center for Great Commission Studies, discussing the various ways in which we as a missionary people are called to serve a missionary God from our hometown to the ends of the earth.
The Pastor Matters Podcast of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership fosters conversations that will both equip and encourage you to lead healthy churches that make disciples for the glory of God.
WAYS TO LISTEN
Christ and Culture is the podcast of the Center for Faith and Culture, exploring how the Christian faith intersects all avenues of today's culture through conversations with leading thinkers.
At Southeastern, we don’t want you to feel like ministry and theological education have to be in competition with one another.
S TA R T N O W. G O W I T H U S . S E B T S . E D U/G O C E R TI F I C ATE S
Our Biblical Women's Institute aims to equip women with biblical and theological training for any ministry context God has given them.
TRAINING WOMEN, SERVING THE CHURCH. S E B T S . E D U/ B W I
MEET Southeastern Dr. Akin invites you to
is a gathering for prospective donors to learn more about Southeastern. By coming to campus, they will learn more about how the Lord is working through our students to reach the nations with the gospel and what it looks like to partner together to accomplish this goal. This event includes an overview of the history of the school, a campus tour, a faculty panel and dinner with President Danny Akin.
For future dates and more information Email Becca at email@example.com
I want to personally invite you to join us for Meet Southeastern. Come and see for yourself how God is using Southeastern to accomplish the Great Commission. I hope to meet you there. - Danny Akin
The Church Bringing a Nashville Church Back to Spiritual Vibrancy
Nik Lingle 2015 MDIV IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY Senior Pastor, Westwood Baptist Church
n West Nashville, Tennessee sits Westwood Baptist Church, a congregation of about 30 members. Nestled within a changing neighborhood of upscale housing and wealthy, young professionals, this part of the city is a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality. Tearing down the old brings with it an opportunity to breathe new life back into the city. This is the picture that comes to Southeastern graduate Nik Lingle as he’s seeking to revitalize Westwood, where he began pastoring in August 2020. The difficulty of church revitalization during a pandemic is not lost on Lingle either. His biggest concern for his church during his first few months is discipleship. In his estimation, it is far more important for his congregation to have biblical literacy and a clear understanding of the gospel before they seek to evangelize the community. Discipleship happens within the church, but Lingle is also seeking to meet people one-on-one in their homes. In these conversations, he wants to hear from those in the community, asking them about the decline of the church and why that seems to be happening. The difficulty is helping people within the church see that the problem isn’t “out there” but within the congregation itself. In his first few months pastoring Westwood, Lingle isn’t after growing a large gathering but deepening discipleship at Westwood. One way this is happening is through Wednesday night Bible studies. At the beginning of each Bible study, Lingle asks a different person in the congregation to share their testimony. This helps challenge each member to articulate the gospel, and it helps Lingle better discern where they are at in their faith. The question he’s seeking to answer is, “Can they articulate their faith clearly, and explain how it is chang-
Story by Lauren Pratt
ing their life?” Lingle is also seeking to deepen discipleship through the messages he preaches each week, messages that promote a passion for the Lord that leads to a love for the lost. “The vision we’re after is that Westwood would be a healthy church and that they would be faithful followers of Jesus,” said Lingle. West Nashville is where old and new collide. The area is filled with history as well as up and coming businesses that offer entertainment for tourists and locals alike. Lingle sees how the church needs to create new patterns for engaging the twenty and thirty-somethings living in this part of town. “I want our congregation to think through their own faith carefully before they go out to engage someone who’s half their age and has a very different set of cultural assumptions and sensibilities,” said Lingle. Bringing a church back to spiritual vibrancy is far greater than any one man. It takes dependence on God to work through faithful obedience. And it takes dependence on other believers to encourage and help along the way. That’s why Lingle has been grateful for the community he has found among other men who are pastoring new or dying churches in Nashville. These pastors, who represent nearly 25 churches, meet monthly to discuss what it looks like to build healthy churches in their city. The support and relatability of the group has been an encouragement for Lingle in a difficult time of transition for him and his family. The Lord’s call to move to Nashville didn’t come without sacrifice. “It’s like fasting, you know. We’ve set aside good and legitimate things for a time for a greater purpose. God willing, we’ll have a feast again at some point in the future. But right now, it’s fasting, not feasting.”
Photos courtesy of Nik Lingle
I want our congregation to think through their own faith carefully before they go out to engage someone who’s half their age and has a very different set of cultural assumptions and sensibilities.
Before moving to Nashville, Lingle spent nine years as an associate pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Raleigh. In 2011, when he began pastoring at Christ Covenant, Lingle also began his MDiv at Southeastern. Looking back six years later after graduating in 2015, Lingle is thankful for the time spent building a theological foundation so he could better serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission. Classes where he learned hermeneutics, biblical exposition, and ministry formation provided a foundational grounding in his pastoral ministry today at Westwood. “It’s the kind of reputable established seminary you’d be happy to say you went to [and] at a price that’s doable,” said Lingle. “The donors make that possible, so I’m really grateful for that.” From a pastoral perspective, Lingle also had the opportunity to teach and mentor students at Southeast-
ern who took classes through internships at Christ Covenant. This was made possible through Southeastern’s EQUIP program, which allows students to receive seminary credit through ministry in the local church. “I love the EQUIP program and that idea of the partnership between the church and the seminary to train men and women for future ministry,” said Lingle. “That ended up being a big point of formation for me as well to mentor and help teach those classes.” Lingle is now using those formative years as a student, pastor and mentor to love and serve the congregation of Westwood Baptist Church. While the work of revitalization will take much time and patience, seeking to bring new life in Christ through death is what the gospel is all about. This is Nik Lingle’s Great Commission story, serving the church no matter the cost. Because Christ is worth it.
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM NIK
The Church How Interior Design Reflects Church Revitalization
Lyles Webster 2014 BA IN BIBLICAL STUDIES Church Renovation Consultant, Church Interiors
HIGH POINT, NC
y role as Renovation Consultant with Church Interiors places me on the front lines of serving the local church in the renovation effort. The local church is our priority and transforming churches into beautiful, healthy, vibrant, Christexalting places is my assignment. We work with a range of churches, from thriving, healthy churches that only need our assistance with cosmetic upgrades to declining churches that need to address all facets of church revitalization. I recently enrolled in Thom Rainer’s Church Consultation University. Our long-term vision for Church Interiors is to not only help the church with construction and cosmetic needs but to join them in the labor of transforming their declining church into one filled with Christ followers. My job is to serve all churches, and assist them in fulfilling the Great Commission. My occupation allows me to help build up the church so it may reach as many people with the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful to Southeastern and the training it provides men and women to fulfill the mission. Church Interiors has performed over 12,000 complete or partial renovations and LifeWay recommends Church Interiors as their national preferred renovation specialists. I would love the opportunity to serve you and your church.
Contact Lyles at: firstname.lastname@example.org Find out more at: churchinteriors.com
Story by Lyles Webster
Photo courtesy of Lyles Webster
MAKE AN IMPACT
You’ll Help Future Alumni Go
Your membership dues, $50 per year or $600 lifetime, help us equip students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission while keeping tuition affordable for students.
JOIN THE GIVING SOCIETY EXCLUSIVELY FOR ALUMNI
You’ll receive these great benefits:
• Audit courses for free • Retain access to the ATLA Religion Database • Retain access to the Share Shop • Join an intramural sports team • 50% Off transcripts • 40% Off on conference registrations at SEBTS • 10% Discount at the Locker • Use of Ledford Center Fitness Room
For more info or to join the ALUMNI ASSOCIATION , connect with us @
sebts.edu/saa 919.761.2822 email@example.com
Your Calling Moving the Mission Forward Through Gospel Friendships and Fluency
stepped onto the campus of Southeastern Seminary in February of 2016. Leading up to my campus visit, God had loosened roots and was preparing me for the next chapter in my life. He had begun to give me and my wife a desire to serve the local church and to invest in and train others for ministry. I remember reading signs on the drive up to Stealey Hall saying, “Every classroom a Great Commission classroom.” On that cold February day, God clarified that Southeastern was the place where I would spend the next season. Over the next four years, God helped me to understand the call to make disciples and the role local churches play in training workers for the harvest. Through my studies at Southeastern, I began to grow more and more passionate about church revitalization and church replanting. I remember wrestling with the thought, “What about the churches that are dying?” God gave me a desire to serve in a setting where the Spirit of God would take a dying congregation and move it toward multiplication.
Tyler Daniel NORTH CHARLESTON, SC
Story by Tyler Daniel
2020 MDIV IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY Executive Pastor, Centerpoint Church
Gospel Friendships At Southeastern, God showed me the importance of gospel friendships. As I watched friends be sent throughout the entire globe, I grew discouraged. There I was, sitting in Wake Forest, while others were articulating their gospel call to foreign countries, urban settings or rural churches. It was hard to watch friends “Go” while God was telling me “Wait.” I sit here now, reflecting on this time, and smile. I am now serving the Lord in a church replant in Charleston, SC. Just last week, I reached out to a friend in Louisiana with questions about their Sunday morning gathering. I receive monthly updates from a friend who is currently serving in Utah. I have friends who are busy planting a church in Rock Hill, SC. I have a friend currently serving in North Africa and the Middle East. The kingdom is far larger than I could have ever imagined, and God continues to send workers out into the harvest. Gospel friendships help us to see the Great Commission being actively fulfilled. They help us to see that we are not alone. At Southeastern, God showed me other brothers and sisters who were serious about training, sending and going wherever the Lord wills.
Gospel friendships help us to see the Great Commission being actively fulfilled.
God gave me a desire to serve in a setting where the Spirit of God would take a dying congregation and move it toward multiplication.
Gospel Fluency I am also seeing just how beneficial theological education is. Leading in ministry is very difficult. While it’s true that writing a position paper can be a rather daunting task, it’s also true that God uses these assignments to solidify our convictions. It’s as if the Lord is developing muscle memory in us. Charles Spurgeon said, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” In my time at Southeastern I was consistently challenged to do just this. The number of good books that were “visited” is far more than I was expecting to take in. As I pored over these books and spent time in God’s Word, convictions were clarified. A few months ago, God helped me to apply what I had learned at Southeasetern. I realized that many are literate in the Scriptures. Many can quote the Bible, many know the truths of God’s Word and can point to theologians who back their perspectives. There, unfortunately, are not as many followers of Jesus who are fluent in the Word. Gospel fluency is the ability to take the truths of God’s Word, the call to go, and apply them to everyday life and ministry. At Southeastern, God made me both more gospel literate and gospel fluent. He moved me from merely knowing truths to being more fluent and knowing how to apply truths. Application So how do these two ideas collide? How do we take gospel friendship and gospel fluency from being ideas or concepts and move them toward mobilizing God’s people? At Centerpoint Church, we are pressing into gospel friendship by encouraging our congregation to celebrate and partner with other churches in our area. We are building relationships with other local pastors in hopes that God would align us as we seek to take the gospel to North Charleston, SC. We believe that we are better when serving together, and desire to see healthy, multiplying, gospel-centered local churches. We are leading our church to be fluent in the gospel through expositional preaching. With each message, we challenge our congregation to put faith into practice. We desire that our members take the gospel to their friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. We desire that every man, woman or child has multiple opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the gospel. Southeastern Seminary helped to solidify biblical convictions. These convictions are helping our team to take slow, meaningful steps as we seek to make disciples of Jesus.
Tyler Daniel is seeking to further the Great Commission by discipling his congregation to put their faith into practice.
NEW LY RELE ASED
SOUTHEASTERN THEOLOGIC A L RE V IEW
Exalting Jesus in Psalm 119
Christ-Centered Exposition Daniel L. Akin January 2021
Academic Excellence for Thoughtful Ministry Leaders
Exalting Jesus in Psalm 51-100 by Dr. Danny Akin is part of the 47-volume ChristCentered Exposition series. This book will move the hearts and minds of believers to see the majesty of Christ in Psalm 119. Readers will come away spiritually refreshed and theologically grounded in their understanding of Psalm 119. Get your copy today!
Answering God’s Call
Finding, Following, and Fulfilling God’s Will for Your Life (Hobbs College Library) R. Scott Pace and Heath A. Thomas June 2020
This free resource is perfect for pastor-theologians and Christian academics. This semester’s journal is full of top-notch Evangelical scholarship on Scripture and theology, as well as book reviews of the most significant current titles.
Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out 2nd Edition
Steven A. McKinion and D. Scott Hildreth July 2020
Exalting Jesus in Psalm 51-100 Christ-Centered Exposition
David Platt, Jim Shaddix and Matt Mason June 2020
Beginning with New Testament Greek
An Introductory Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament Benjamin Merkle and Robert L. Plummer August 2020
Read or download your copy at
FACULT Y WORK S
A New Baptist Catechism
Important Questions and Answers to Instruct Children About God and the Gospel
Raising Kids with a Heart for Mission Daniel L. Akin October 2020
Dwayne Milioni September 2020
Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament L. Scott Kellum November 2020
CAMPUS STORE Exalting Jesus in Psalms 101-150 Christ-Centered Exposition
M-F 9 am - 4 pm SAT 11 am - 2 pm
Daniel L. Akin, Johnny M. Hunt and Tony Merida January 2021
Enjoying the Bible
Literary Approaches to Loving the Scriptures Matthew Mullins January 2021
“Jesus Christ” by
Steven A. McKinion and
“Salvation” by Stephen
Brett Eccher in
Historical Theology for the Church Jason G. Duesing and Nathan A. Finn, editors February 2021
Frankenstein: A Guide to Reading and Reflecting Karen Swallow Prior and Mary Shelley March 2021
Jane Eyre: A Guide to Reading and Reflecting Karen Swallow Prior and Charlotte Brontë March 2021
TO PURCHASE SEBTS FACULTY WORKS, VISIT SEBTS.EDU/BOOKS
USE THE CODE sebtsmagazine TO GET 15% OFF YOUR ONLINE ORDER
with Keith Whitfield
eith Whitfield’s office is filled with symbols of the journey that has brought him to Southeastern and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Whitfield also has a number of items in his office that remind him of the urgency of the Great Commission and the role he plays in leading others to see this urgency in the classroom and on the field. A carving from Israel of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet reminds Whitfield of servant leadership. Framed portraits of past theologians and preachers remind him of the importance to remain pastoral in his disposition. An hourglass that sits on his shelf reminds him of the urgency of the mission to reach all people with the gospel. Whether he’s leading Southeastern faculty, teaching his theology students or mentoring PhD candidates, Whitfield seeks to do everything with a pastoral disposition and a missional heart.
What are things that you and your family like to do for fun? A few years ago, our family took our first RV trip with two other families who are close friends. It felt like we were in “The Amazing Race.” It was a big “out west” trip. Seven national parks. 1,700 miles. In 10 days. We were hooked after that. The next summer, we took another trip, which was a little slower. We camped in a provincial park in Canada for a week. We’ve found a pastime and recently purchased an RV for our family. The best thing about an RV vacation is that the party starts when you leave home. You don’t have to wait until you get to the destination. The other great thing about RV’ing is that everything slows down. You travel slower. Your schedule slows down. This adventure has been a happy medium for me and Amy, my wife. She grew up staying in four-star hotels. I grew up sleeping under tarps off the side of hiking trails. With an RV, she does not have to sleep outside and I get to spend as much time outside as I want to spend.
What have you enjoyed most about your role as Provost? What I like the most about it is the opportunity it gives me to serve the mission of Southeastern through leading and supporting others. Central to my calling is to help people pursue what God has called them to do. This responsibility gives me a unique opportunity to pursue my calling. What has been a helpful lesson or resource that impacted the way you pastor and minister to others? I think the most important lesson was learning what the role of a pastor is. The primary function of a pastor is to inspire, to provoke and to nurture people’s faith in God. People need their faith to grow stronger to navigate difficult times, to follow God in obedience and to step out into what God’s calling them to do. The primary responsibility is to point people’s eyes to Jesus, to help them believe in the gospel, to help them listen to what God is saying and to guide them to respond in obedience and faith.
2. 1. 3.
1. Whitfield’s dissertation, which he defended in 2013 // 2. Whitfield’s favorite theologians and preachers // 3.A figurine of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet from Whitfield’s trip to Israel // 4. A Clemson figurine passed down to Whitfield from his grandfather // 5. A few of Whitfield’s many books on theology, pastoral ministry and more line the shelves of his office // 6. An hourglass gifted to Whitfield as a reminder of gospel urgency // 7. A painting by Eric Peters showing the light overcoming the darkness, a concept reflected in Whitfield’s dissertation
What’s a lesson you’ve learned that has influenced your teaching in the classroom? In my first year at Southeastern, I learned that people may have the same ministry assignment but do it differently in accordance with their own calling. I learned this while walking across campus. I was thinking, “Why am I here?” I understood my role as a pastor, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I understood my role as a professor. Also, in conversations with my colleagues, many of them taught for seemingly different reasons than I was teaching. I realized that while we had the same job, we did the job for slightly different reasons. I started to understand that while my calling is still pastoral, what I feel called to do is to provoke people to believe, to help people discover who God’s called them to do be and to find a place to serve God in that way. I was walking across campus and I thought, “What does it look like to do that in the context of teaching theology?” The transition
for me was when I realized that: I’m not just trying to give information or to give clarity of thinking; I’m trying to connect life and belief. That, for me, was the answer to the question, “What am I doing here?” Who is one of your favorite theologians? This is a tough question. I think I have to say John Calvin because I realized what theology was through reading him years ago. He wrote to help Christians understand what they believed and how to live it out. And he seemed to do this with a lot of ease. I was captivated by that. He helped me see that the purpose of theology was to live the Christian life. What is your favorite doctrine to study? The doctrine of Scripture and the doctrine of the Christian life. These doctrines revolve around the two questions that got me into studying theology in the first place: What does it mean to be biblical, and how do we
*This article was edited for length and clarity.
change? Central to the Christian faith is that God came to transform us. He didn’t come to leave us the same. The doctrine of sanctification is where a lot of our understanding of the Christian faith comes together to understand how God is at work in and through us by his Word. What has God been teaching you this year? COVID has been disruptive and has introduced a lot of uncertainties for everyone. What God has been teaching me through this season is a simple reminder that he is holding us all up. Schedules and routines and ways that we do things are different. In the process God has sustained us, and he’s held us up. The other one is just how important where he has us is. We’re not able to travel as much or have the freedom to think beyond our local community. It’s important where he’s got me, and it’s important for me to renew my commitment to making a difference where I am. Where he has me is where I need to be investing. 71
Faithful Obedience Seeing Each Season as a Great Commission Opportunity
Shanee 2005 MA IN INTERCULTURAL STUDIES Missionary (Last Name Withheld for Security)
here has God placed you right now? What is your season of life? Do you see this season as an asset or an obstacle for your involvement in the Great Commission? Sixteen years ago, I moved to South Asia as a missionary, newly married and with no children. Over the years, my ministry context and season of life have changed many times. Through these transitions, God has revealed two truths to me: 1. God wants to use every believer to accomplish the Great Commission. 2. Every season of life includes unique opportunities to be used by God. I spent my childhood years feeding bottle calves and riding horses on a farm in rural Missouri. The nearest Walmart was 30 miles away, and we considered the people who lived in that town “city slickers.” I now live in one of the most densely populated cities in the world— a crowded, in-your-face, South Asian urban center of 25 million people. Our family of five resides in a small flat on the eighth floor of a 22-story tower, in an apartment complex that houses around 10,000 residents. We are surrounded by people above us, below us, in front of us and behind us. The first time I visited this apartment complex city with the intent of moving here, I stood in the center and looked up at all the towers overflowing with people. With tears brimming from my eyes, I laughed! How did a country girl like me end up here? I entered college as a business major, with ambitious plans to become a lawyer or CEO. If someone had asked me if I would move to a developing country as a missionary, I would have laughed in his face! But somehow I ended up on summer mission trips (at least partially for the adventure, admittedly), and God did something I never expected: For the first time I thought to myself, “Maybe the corporate ladder and the six-figure salary aren’t everything. Maybe God is calling me to take the gospel to those who have never heard it. And maybe, just maybe, obedience to that calling would bring me joy.”
Story by Shanee
Photos courtesy of Shanee
Looking back, I recognize that God placed our family in every location to advance his mission. Often, God worked most fruitfully outside of our well-laid plans.
That may sound cliché, but it truly reflects the miraculous work God did in my heart to change my desires. Over the next couple years in college, I began an international student outreach on campus, and God grew in my heart a desire to take the gospel to unreached peoples. Moving to South Asia as a missionary went from being laughable to becoming a dream. God provided an amazing husband with the same calling, Jesse, and the year after our wedding we relocated to South Asia and were simultaneously learning marriage, a new culture and a foreign language. In our 16 years of church planting work, Jesse and I have made our home in three different cities and experienced significant changes in our seasons of life. We began “just the two of us” in a backwards South Asian city, cruising from village to village on a Honda dirt bike. We trained South Asian believers in church planting, and we were always together. This season of life allowed for side-by-side ministry, a life “on-the-go,” and long days and busy weeks of ministry outside of our home. After three years in villages, we moved to a larger city, started a sizable team, and began applying the multiplication methods we taught: We added three children to our family in three years. To say that children brought changes to our daily schedule and my involvement in our work would be an understatement. I was no longer able to be involved in every training or travel with Jesse on every trip. Jesse traveled regularly, usually by overnight trains to rural areas, while I changed diapers and nursed babies. We packed the baby gear and took the whole family along for trips every few months, but I no longer knew every detail of every ministry network like before. However, my decreased capacity for ministry outside of the home did not change my heart’s desire to get the gospel to those who needed it, and I found ways to remain involved in that work. Instead of always going to our ministry partners, we brought them to us, and hosted them in our home regularly. We held meetings and trainings in our home, often for days at a time. Our children joined a half-day preschool and began learning the local language, fostering more connections in our community. Home life was usually on the chaotic side: managing kids’ homework while serving chai to national friends, discipling new believers while our children ran in and out, and the constant snack-making and messcleaning. Babies bring immense delight and fulfillment, but also fatigue and frequent interruptions. Yet God is not perplexed by how to use new moms in his kingdom. This too is a season of life to joyfully embrace and expect God to leverage for the Great Commission. As the years went by and our children grew, our family put down deep roots in this city. Our South Asian brothers and sisters became family. We walked through
significant difficulties and saw abundant fruit alongside our team of Westerners and South Asians. After eight years in this place, the only home our children had ever known, the time came to pull up our roots and move. Again, God did the unexpected. For various reasons, God led our family to move to the nearby city that I had years earlier said I would never move to. Our family transitioned to the urban life of cramped living spaces, elevators, and bumper-to-bumper traffic. This move brought other major changes. All three children joined elementary school, allowing more time to engage in local ministry. Our ministry target became a city instead of an entire state, resulting in less travel for my husband. Jesse and I could work together more, both in leading our city team and in local ministry. And with all our children out of diapers, I had increased energy and capacity to engage more in leadership and ministry outside of the home. Family Bible study over breakfast became more interesting as our children’s understanding grew and they asked thoughtful questions about God. Family ministry trips were more manageable, because the children could now pack their own bags, entertain themselves and even help out at times. And with time and prayer, this city also became home. Looking back, I recognize that God placed our family in every location to advance his mission. Often, God worked most fruitfully outside of our well-laid plans. Every season of life came with different challenges and opportunities. Our first three years on the field were a treasured time of togetherness and full immersion in language, culture and ministry. Even in the chaotic years of newborns and toddlers, God kept my heart in the work and provided ample opportunities to pray, reach out to our lost community and encourage our ministry partners (not to mention the privilege of staying home to care for our children). Our most recent season with children in elementary school has brought much joy in local ministry together as a family. Looking ahead, it seems God is again directing us to some unexpected changes. We are transitioning into a new season of middle schoolers and homeschooling. Challenges and unknowns are certainly ahead! However, though new to me, homeschooling children and discipling preteens are not challenging for God. Certainly, God wants to use me in this
Whether in local churches or on mission teams, we should see great potential in every believer and actively seek to equip men and women of all seasons of life to accomplish the Great Commission.
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM SHANEE
new season too, for his purposes, and I can look ahead with great expectation. My teammates also exemplify the reality that God leverages all seasons of life for his mission. We serve on a diverse team of Western and South Asian workers, married and single, empty nesters and millennials, all co-laboring in the gospel. One single sister on our team has invested years into sharing Christ’s love with the women of the Red-Light districts and slums of our city. One empty nester couple is targeting upper class businesspeople through Cross Fit coaching. Another couple new to the field is persevering in language and culture learning while raising four children. A dear South Asian coworker is a pastor’s wife, mom of teens and tirelessly teaches children’s Sunday School. I rejoice in the diverse and powerful ways God works through our teammates in their various seasons of life and ministry contexts. And this is the biblical model, isn’t it? Paul’s coworkers included Lydia, a successful businesswoman, the first known believer in Philippi (Acts 16:11-15, 40). Priscilla and Aquila, a working couple committed to gospel expansion, traveled with Paul and planted churches in more than one city (Acts 18:1-4, 18-19; 1 Cor. 16:19; Rom. 16:3-5). Mary, the mother of John Mark, hosted church in a time of dangerous persecution (Acts 12:5, 12-17). Erastus, the city treasurer of Corinth, assisted the Apostle Paul in mission work (Acts 19:22, Rom. 16:23). Eunice and Lois, as mother and grandmother, taught Timothy God’s Word from a young age (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). Where do you live? God put you there to share his love with your community. What is your season of life? God wants to capitalize on it for his glory. Whether in local churches or on mission teams, we should see great potential in every believer and actively seek to equip men and women of all seasons of life to accomplish the Great Commission. Shanee is a disciple of Christ, wife, mom of three and missionary. She graduated from Southeastern with an MA in Intercultural Studies in 2005 and immediately moved to South Asia, where she and her husband have been serving ever since. She enjoys tea, friends, books, exercise, guacamole and talking about God’s Word.
Biblical Studies and Theology Foundational for Ministry and Scholarship
MASTER OF ARTS
VOCATIONAL Be equipped with fundamental skills and training for ministry. SEBTS.EDU/MAVOCATIONAL
RESEARCH Prepare for advanced scholarship in a variety of biblical and theological disciplines. SEBTS.EDU/MARESEARCH
Southeastern Society Featured Members
Jack & Toni Davis
I graduated from Southeastern with a master’s in Christian education, but more recently we became involved as financial supporters when we heard about Southeastern’s solid theological training and missions focus. We were astounded at the number of Southeastern students going out to spread the gospel among the nations. The Davises have been members of the Southeastern Society since 2016 Toni graduated with an MA in Christian Education in 1981
We hope our support encourages others, supports pressing needs and enables the growth of the school and the fulfillment of its mission. - Toni Davis
Who We Are The Southeastern Society is a group of generous men and women from all walks of life, who share a desire to assist Southeastern as she seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.
Why We Give Due to the faithful giving of SES members, Southeastern is able to keep tuition affordable. As a result, graduates have more financial freedom as they heed to God’s call to serve him wherever he leads.
How To Join Join by giving $1,000 or more annually to fund the work of training gospel-ready champions for Christ. For more information or to become a member, contact Drew Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spring 2021
Jonathan Six Director of Financial & Alumni Development
Letter from the Director still remember it like it was yesterday—my first day as a Southeastern student. I walked into an 8:00 am evangelism class in Adams Hall. That morning marks a life-altering experience that shaped my thoughts on life and ministry. One of my favorite memories is hearing the stories of how my classmates came to know Christ, how they ended up at Southeastern and what they aspired to do to advance the kingdom of God around the globe. You might call these stories their Great Commission stories. The longer I’ve been around Southeastern, I’ve watched students come in and share their desire to give their lives for the cause of Christ on the mission field, as a pastor or in the workforce.
These students commit their lives to the cause of Great Commission ministry no matter the vocation they choose. Over the last 14 years, thousands of students have come to Southeastern for theological training and ministry preparation, and I have the great privilege of seeing them sent to their ministry field. What I have learned is we all have our own redemption story, our calling, a great urgency to serve and reach a particular people with the gospel. The triune God has molded and shaped us all with different talents, giftings and passions. We all have our own Great Commission story, but in the end, we have one great mission—the command to make disciples. My prayer for all of us is that we lean into our Great Commission story as a profound moment of God’s work in our lives. We must also recognize that together we are on one mission. May we join together to advance the gospel around the globe for the glory of King Jesus!
SCAN HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO FROM DR. SIX
Marketing and Communications Office P.O. Box 1889 Wake Forest, NC 27588-1889 (ISSN 2327-154X) (Occupant) or Resident
Join us in Nashville!
SEBTS ALUMNI & FRIENDS LUNCHEON AT THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
With Musical Guest Ellie Holcomb Wednesday, June 16; 12pm – 2pm Featuring an Address from Dr. Danny Akin
SCAN HERE FOR $15 TICKETS + UPDATES Please contact email@example.com or call 919.761.2293 with questions
Photo by Tanner Boriak on Unsplash