About five years ago, Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, told messengers about a new initiative in Persian leadership that would provide biblical training to Farsi speakers.
“It was in its nascent form then,” Akin told messengers during his report to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting on June 15. “I’m happy to report today that currently we have 3,177 total students in our Persian program.”
Southeastern, he said, is the only theological institution in the world with a fully accredited bachelor’s degree in biblical studies exclusively in Farsi, and now “to my knowledge the world’s only master of theological studies degree completely in the Farsi language.”
Both of these things are aimed at helping to “equip the fastest-growing church in the Muslim world,” he said.
Fruits of the global theological initiative
All of this falls under Southeastern’s global theological initiative, which was involved in equipping more than 4,000 leaders from 40 nations last year in addition to the 5,300 trained in North America.
In May, “we had our first graduation of 28 students in our East Asian leadership program and we just celebrated our second graduating class at Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary in Lviv,” Akin said.
Almost all of those Ukrainian graduates have been serving through the convention to be a “lighthouse of mercy ministry and gospel proclamation to the many Ukrainians having to flee because of the war with Russia,” he said.
Akin also told messengers about Southeastern’s first graduation from a prison ministry in North Carolina where most of the men are serving 40 years to life.
“They came to know Christ, many of them within the prison, and they wanted to do something with purpose and significance for our Lord Jesus, and by God’s good grace we have been able to accomplish that in their lives,” he said, noting that 24 graduated with 80 total students now in the program.
Southeastern has also started a new business degree in its college.
‘For ministry, for mission and the marketplace’
“We believe it is our responsibility to train people for ministry, for mission and the marketplace,” Akin said. “We believe this is one of the great mission fields in the world, so we are delighted to enter into that arena as well.”
Bottom line, he said, the final marching orders was go and make disciples of all the nations.
“If that was what was on His heart, it is right for that to be on our hearts as well,” Akin said. “I’m so grateful that reflects the heart and the passion of a people called Southern Baptists, because we serve you.”
After the morning session in which Akin gave his report, Southeastern Seminary held its Alumni & Friends Luncheon with the theme “that all may know.”
To celebrate the going of the gospel around the country and the world, several testimonies were shared from those working to reach “every people, tribe and tongue.”
One of those testimonies came from Thomas West, a church planter in England. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, and a graduate of SEBTS, West recently planted Redeemer Queens Park in northwest London.
“We want to see every high place and every low place covered in the glory of God,“ he said.
View photos from this business session of the Annual Meeting here.
To see more photos from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, click here.
For more stories from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, visit thebaptistpaper.org/sbc2022.