In Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s annual report, President Danny Akin said the main question he asks is “What can we do to produce more and better missionaries?”
“We see the prison system as a great missions field,” said Akin and celebrated that 25 prisoners are scheduled to graduate in December with a bachelor of arts in biblical studies. They will be sent to other prisons across the state to share the gospel with other prisoners.
Upper level high school students to older adults are getting education opportunities through the Wake Forest school, Akin said. In addition, the school has given $3 million in scholarships to International Mission Board personnel over the last five years.
As part of the Global Theological Initiative, students from other countries are working toward master’s degrees from SEBTS, and Akin estimated 2,800 international students are “working toward some level of training from certificates to degrees. The hope is that they “disciple and raise up more leaders,” he said.
Almost 2,450 Farsi speakers are working toward a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, and he estimated that figure to grow to 3,000+ next year.
Thanks to ‘your generosity’
“All of this is being done through your generosity,” Akin said, stressing that the school is a Great Commission seminary existing to glorify God.
Questions from messengers for Akin included how to place pastors in pulpits.
“More students are coming, but less are going into the pastorate,” Akin said, asking for prayer for men to have an “undeniable calling” toward the pastorate.
“I don’t think you will last if you don’t sense in your heart,” he stressed.
Another messenger asked if SEBTS was teaching critical race theory. In reply, Akin answered, “yes and no. We teach them about what it is so they can explain it well to their people. But are we advocates of critical race theory? Absolutely not. We see it as an anti-Christian worldview.
Alumni and friends
Each year, the seminary hosts a lunch for alumni and friends of the seminary. This year, attendees were challenged to give toward the creation of the Sam James Church Planting Endowment named for a former International Mission Board missionary to Vietnam. James was also the man who planted Homestead Heights Baptist Church, Durham, North Carolina, which is now The Summit Church, which SBC President J.D. Greear leads.
With the contention leading up to the Southern Baptist Convention, Greear said he was happy to say, “These are good days for Southern Baptists.” He said it was encouraging to see most messengers “rallying around the right things.” The luncheon also featured former SBC president Johnny Hunt and Ed Litton, the newly elected SBC president.
Missie Branch, assistant dean of students to women and director of graduate life for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, moderated a panel of women leaders, which included: Annie Locke, wife of Ronjour Locke; Lynette Ezell, wife of Kevin Ezell; and Kandi Gallaty, wife of Robby Gallaty.
Someone once described Locke as a “radiant, joyful hugger. It’s because I’m a forgiven, loved and redeemed sinner,” she said. She advised single women that “a good leader will not have to tell you to follow Him. You will want to. He won’t have to say a word.” At one point in the Locke’s ministry, they were living in Baltimore in the red light district next to the church where they served.
“I learned more about what it means to pray without ceasing from converted prostitutes than I did from anyone in the church,” she said.
The women at the breakfast and everyone at the luncheon were encouraged to share their Great Commission story: tell what God has done and is doing in your life.
In a time of political and social strife, when so many lives have been impacted by COVID-19, and social media battles even in the weeks and days leading up to the annual meeting, Locke said she had been discouraged about attacks on people of color.
“I’m supposed to be about casting my nets instead of fighting on the docks,” she said.