Office of Institutional Advancement
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Director of Planned Giving and General Counsel
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Director of Alumni Development and Denominational Relations
by Michael McEwen
When Jay Todd began his studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, he knew he would need a Great Commission education to become a Great Commission professor.
A recent graduate of Southeastern, Todd said, “When I was in college, my pastor and I went out to lunch one time and he said, ‘Have you ever thought about being a college professor?’ I replied, ‘You know what? I had thought about it. I just love teaching the Bible.’” After completing his undergraduate degree at Baptist College of Florida, Todd began exploring options for graduate-level studies. In 2002, after praying through the decision to attend seminary with his wife, Todd began to make preparations to complete his Master of Divinity and later, his Doctor of Philosophy, degrees at Southeastern.
Knowing that he was geared toward a Ph.D. with the end goal of teaching in a college setting, Todd began working toward an M.Div. in Advanced Biblical Studies, an academically-excelled degree. While in the ABS program, he took Old Testament scholar John Sailhamer, who Todd said had a great influence on him and his future field of study. Reflecting on the Old Testament class he took in his third semester, Todd said, “I had no idea who he was, but I took the class, and after that, I knew I was going to try and do my Ph.D. in Old Testament.”
As an M.Div. student, Todd said he was prepared in the breadth of the scriptures and ministry while in the classroom. Because of their own passion for the truthfulness of the scriptures, Southeastern professors teach in a way that is vitally important for sharing the gospel, both in and out of the classroom, Todd said.
“To be biblically-based as a professor is necessary because of the pervasive secular worldviews in the culture and society,” he said. “Professors who can take students back to the scriptures are indispensable for forming and teaching them how to love Christ and their neighbors.”
Todd acknowledged the importance of being mentored while in the academic setting. You can tell professors at Southeastern have a heart for ministry, Todd said. “Ministry is not something merely taught, but rather it is an example permeating all arenas of life, especially the arena in front of the students.
“Those students who are pursuing a career in academia,” Todd said, “should have two important objectives in mind: First, they should expect to work hard in the classes, and secondly, I would highly encourage them to be mentored by a specific professor in their field of study.” Mentorship, he said, is a vital component to a Great Commission education.
In light of the Great Commission, Southeastern professors, Todd said, emphasize the importance of equipping students to engage the culture for the gospel. “I believe everything you do as a professor is ministry and I plan on continuing to fulfill the Great Commission at the College of the Ozarks.”
This fall at the College of the Ozarks, Todd will be serving as an assistant professor of philosophy and religion. He will be teaching an Old Testament survey class, as well as three Christian worldview classes, one of the core requirements for college students at the Branson, Mo., school. Todd said the invaluable and fruitful lessons he learned during his nine years at Southeastern, such as the benefits of mentorship, will shape how he teaches and infuses the Great Commission into the classes he leads as a Southeastern-trained professor.