In his president’s report at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and The College at Southeastern, celebrated the institution’s ongoing Great Commission efforts to mobilize students and equip Christian leaders in hard-to-reach places around the world.
“Southeastern is well known as a Great Commission seminary,” noted Akin in his report. “We speak of every classroom as a Great Commission classroom, every professor as a Great Commission professor and hopefully, every graduate as a Great Commission graduate.” Akin celebrated the missional heart of Southern Baptists and shared how SEBTS embodies that heart in its Great Commission approach to biblical and theological education and ministry preparation.
Akin reported how SEBTS thematically focused its efforts this year on “loving the truth” (based on Jesus’s instruction to teach the nations to observe all that he has commanded), highlighting the core convictions and confessions of Southern Baptists. “We affirm without apology the inerrancy and sufficiency of Holy Scripture,” noted Akin. In addition, Akin reported that SEBTS unapologetically affirms and teaches the exclusivity of the gospel and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, the centrality of penal substitution, the truth of complementarian theology, the importance of the local church and the inherent and eternal value of every human life, including the lives of the unborn.
Expressing the institution’s unwavering commitment to train students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission, Akin reported significant expansions in Global Theological Initiatives (GTI) at SEBTS, which allow Christian leaders around the world to receive biblical and theological training and ministry preparation in locations with little access to theological education. “In addition to training 5,300 students here in North America, this last year, we were involved in equipping more than 4,000 positioned leaders from over 40 different nations around the world,” shared Akin.
Akin also rejoiced in God’s blessing on the largest GTI program at SEBTS, the Persian Leadership Development Program, which not only provides the world’s only fully accredited and theologically driven bachelor’s degree completely in Farsi, but also offers the world’s only Master of Theological Studies degree completely in Farsi to serve the fastest-growing church in the Muslim world. Akin reported that SEBTS has 3,177 students currently enrolled in its Persian Leadership Development Program.
In his report, Akin shared that during graduation this past May, SEBTS celebrated its first graduating class of 28 students from its East Asian Leadership Program and its second Master of Theological Studies graduating class in partnership with the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary (UBTS). Many of these graduates are currently serving at UBTS, and as Akin narrated, “These leaders are also working throughout their Ukrainian Baptist Convention across the nation to provide care and love and ministry.”
In addition, Akin reported that SEBTS celebrated its first graduating class in its North Carolina Field Minister Program, a bachelor of arts program at Nash County Prison that has been designed to equip and mobilize incarcerated men to fulfill the mission by making disciples in the U.S. prison system. SEBTS also graduated five students from its associate of arts program at North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, equipping these incarcerated women for life post-release.
Announcing the recent launch of a new bachelor of business administration (BBA) program, Akin shared his conviction that the BBA program strategically complements the mission of SEBTS. “We believe that it is our responsibility to train people for ministry, for mission and for the marketplace,” noted Akin. “We believe this is one of the greatest mission fields in the world, and so we are delighted to enter that arena as well.”
Under Akin’s leadership, SEBTS continues to remain committed to a Great Commission focus that reaches from North America to the ends of the earth. “The final marching orders of the Lord Jesus was ‘go and make disciples of all the nations,’” commented Akin. “If that is what was on His heart, it is right for that to be on our heart as well.” Seeking to obey the final marching orders of Jesus, SEBTS not only equips students on campus in Wake Forest, N.C., but also trains missionaries and national leaders to lead churches and ministries and disciple people in rural towns, urban centers and hard-to-reach places all around the world.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Burchett is a writer for the SEBTS office of communications.)