As chairman of the second phase of the capital campaign, Henry Williamson will be drawing on a number of resources the Lord has blessed him with.
Williamson, who served for 32 years with BB&T in management positions and as the Chief Operating Officer of the banking company, will be utilizing his expertise in the field of finances and contributing his own financial rewards as he heads up the second phase of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s capital campaign, Fulfilling the Great Commission.
In addition to his financial expertise and passion for the work of the institution, Williamson also has the support of his wife, Nancy, in chairing the campaign. “Me chairing this campaign is not only a reflection me, but on her,” Williamson said. “From the beginning, both my wife and I were tremendously impressed that Southeastern was doing a wonderful job training young people to serve the Lord, both in local church and on the mission field.”
The Williamsons involvement with Southeastern began over 20 years ago, when they were first approached about becoming friends of the institution as members of the Board of Visitors.
“We were living in Wilson, N.C., at the time,” Williamson said. “We were invited to a Board of Visitors meeting and then to join. We were just inspired by what we saw in the investment of the administration and the faculty in preparing and training these young people. Something that especially touched my wife’s heart was seeing the sacrifices of so many of these young people, especially young couples with children. So many of them were making sacrifices to go to seminary.
|"What we saw at Southeastern was a combination of young people that had a great sense of call to serve the Lord in the local church or on the mission field, and a staff and faculty who had the same calling to prepare them to go."|
“What we saw at Southeastern was a combination of young people that had a great sense of call to serve the Lord in the local church or on the mission field, and a staff and faculty who had the same calling to prepare them to go,” Williamson said. “We saw sacrifices on both sides: Faculty who could be making more money in other places probably, and the students, many of whom are married and are making the commitment and sacrifices.”
Williamson and his wife recognized the call to support Southeastern, and, in addition to serving on the Board of Visitors, he also accepted the invitation to serve as a trustee for the seminary. Additionally, the couple has financially supported Southeastern over the years, even giving a substantial gift recently as part of the second phase of the capital campaign.
“When the first part of the campaign began six or seven years ago, we prayed about it and felt led to be involved,” Williamson said. “When this campaign kicked off, we had been talking about what we and what the Lord wanted us to do as a commitment of support. We both feel a passion for what’s going on there.”
Each time they visit campus, Williamson said he and Nancy are both touched by the testimonies they hear about students giving their lives to serve on the mission field and taking their families. “We talk about it every time we go, about how inspiring it is to see young people go and take young children with them. What a great example of obedience to the Lord and to the call.”
When Williamson was first approached years ago with the possibility of chairing the capital campaign, he said he and his wife both felt the timing was not right, and that he should not and could not serve in that capacity at that time. However, when approached earlier this year with the request to serve as chairman of the second portion of the campaign, Williamson said they prayed about it and felt the timing was now right.
“Nancy has had a tremendous sense of the call that Southeastern is the place to invest our gifts and our resources. The Lord has opened this door, and specific doors that she and I have a passion for,” Williamson said.
In addition to giving of his time and resources to Southeastern, Williamson also journeys to Japan once a year as part of a marketplace ministry effort. The trips grew out of a men’s Bible study he was involved with at BB&T approximately 10 years ago. Originally, they met with Japanese bankers and used the commonality to share Christ. Since then, Williamson said the trip has evolved into a time to reach the young professionals in Tokyo.
Reaching the lost people of the world is one of the motivating factors that leads Williamson to continue supporting Southeastern in many ways.
“It’s hard to catch the depth of the commitment and sacrifice that people are making for the Lord and the Great Commission until they get on Southeastern’s campus,” he said. “Our challenge is two-fold: Get people thinking about and praying about Southeastern, and then get them on campus to see what goes on in a personal real-time basis, so they too can catch the passion.”
“Its interesting because I think you can describe what Southeastern does for people and that creates a context with them. The truth is until they get on campus – meeting students and faculty – they can’t get a really good sense of what’s going on. Until they can meet with people and talk with people and show them what the needs are, it’s hard to catch that depth of commitment.”