Fall Board of Trustees and Southeastern Society Meeting
January 19, 2017
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) held its semi-annual Board of Trustees (BOT) and Southeastern Society meetings on October 12-14. Attendees were encouraged by reflecting on past successes and planning for the future.
On Sunday, October 12, Drew Raynor, pastor of Harvest Church in Cary, North Carolina, spoke at a special chapel service about his experience as a recent Southeastern graduate working to revitalize a church in his community.
In the area surrounding the church, only five percent of the population claims to have a personal relationship with Jesus. “God is continuing to move his church, gospel and kingdom onto places of darkness,” Raynor said.
Sunday marked the launch of Harvest Church, a church plant out of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, led by Tony Merida, the Johnny Hunt chair of Biblical Preaching at Southeastern.
Raynor preached from the book of Acts, focusing on the fact that God sends Christians out full of power and purpose to fulfill the Great Commission.
Though he has no experience pastoring or planting a church, Raynor recognizes God is at work. “God has blazed a trail with Harvest Baptist Church,” he said. “He is acting in spite of me not because of me.”
On Monday, October 13, the BOT and Southeastern Society met for the presidential address and reports. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern, noted recent accomplishments of the seminary including the fifth year of record enrollment at 3,220 students.
“God is bringing more students here than ever before,” Akin said. “I see a younger generation that has a lot of courage and passion. It is a wonderful time to be a part of something that is making a difference for eternity.”
Akin continues to lead the seminary in the Kingdom Diversity initiative. “We have a deep passion to train ministers and reflect what our church will look like in heaven,” he said. “There are no subdivisions in heaven. We are all calling on the same Father and indwelt by the same Holy Spirit!”
In the evening, a banquet celebrated Southeastern’s $50 million campaign goal and honored George Harvey for 25 years of service to the seminary. Harvey joined Southeastern in June 1989 during difficult financial times as the seminary was undergoing a significant transition.
Bart Neal, retired vice president for institutional advancement and former interim president at Southeastern, launched the campaign in 2002 and opened the banquet in prayer.
Akin addressed the filled banquet room. “The Lord has accomplished many significant things through your faithfulness in the past 10 years,” Akin said. “It is easy to talk about what the campaign does in dollars and cents, but it is the relationships that God has allowed us to build over these years that have knit us together as family.”
Akin noted that the campaign was successful in the midst of two of the greatest economic downturns in America since the Great Depression. “Even though the campaign was launched in economic turmoil, God was faithful,” Akin said.
“We need the gifts of brothers and sisters like you to help us do what we are doing here for the glory of God,” Akin explained.
“Students are becoming more and more aware of what a blessing it is to study here,” Akin said. “It blesses me to no end to see the many ways God is using our graduates for the glory of God.”
He mentioned graduates serving in the public square, helping young mothers to choose life for their unborn children and writing legislation to protect freedom and religious liberty.
In 1990, Southeastern became a new school in many ways, and George Harvey was recognized for the significant role he played.
After a unanimous vote of the Board earlier in the day, Todd Linn, chairman of the BOT, and Akin presented a resolution to Harvey.
The resolution honored and celebrated a man that left a highly respected career in law to come to a failing seminary, and trusting the Lord and his purpose for the institution.
“We cannot help but say thank you to George Harvey for being a faithful servant,” Akin said.
Ryan Hutchinson, executive vice president for operations, said, “No one on campus has more of a servant spirit as Harvey serves our students and others.”
For a quarter of a century of service, a scholarship fund of $100,000 was set up in honor of Harvey and his wife, Ann.
On Tuesday, October 14, Akin welcomed special guests to campus in chapel and preached on “A Great Commission Church” from Revelation 3:7-13.
In addition, during their fall meeting Southeastern’s trustees:
— were introduced to new faculty members: Adrianne Miles, assistant professor of English and linguistics; and Chip Hardy, assistant professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages.
— approved the name change for the Board of Visitors to the “Southeastern Society.”
— approved a new military rate currently equivalent to the Southern Baptist Convention rate structure for those that are serving and have served with an honorable discharge in the armed forces of the United States.
— were introduced to new board members Rick Butterworth and Earle Finley.
To view photos from the Southeastern Society and BOT meetings, please click here.
To listen or watch portions of these events online, please click here.