Global Missions Week spurs students toward importance and practice of missions

This year’s Global Missions Week at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) included a number of new events, including the inaugural Southeastern 5k on Feb. 2 with more than 250 registered runners. The race ushered in the school’s annual focus on how students can fulfill the Great Commission both nationally and internationally from Feb. 2-7.

“We were excited to host the Southeastern 5k as a new way to kick off our Global Missions Week, which is designed to highlight needs around the world and to help our students experience aspects of different cultures,” said Scott Hildreth, the George Liele director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) and assistant professor of global studies at SEBTS.

All proceeds from the race helped directly raise funds for the Katy Hardy Memorial Fund, an endowed scholarship to help women and international students be equipped to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission in North America and around the world. Hardy, who was born and raised in Oklahoma, was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and always gave generously of her time and herself. In February 2017, Hardy passed away after battling cancer. She was the late wife of Chip Hardy, associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at SEBTS. Her devotion to helping others and advocating for international students lives on through the Katy Hardy Memorial Fund.

The week also featured a number of events that highlighted the importance and practice of missions by praying for the nations and hearing from missionaries serving around the world.

Later in the week, 26 students were able to attend the GO Panel Lunch, where they heard from four missionaries: *Caleb, *Rachel, *Jonathan and Page Mathias. Hildreth moderated the panel while also opening up the majority of the time for the audience to ask questions.

Questions from the audience ranged from understanding the difference between surviving and thriving on the mission field to what it looks like to make disciples in another culture.

“One of the things we try to do is have our kids involved in local school,” said Caleb, noting that this helps them connect with other families in their area. Caleb, who has served in Southeast Asia with his wife and three kids for 12 years, said doing this also helps create a “normal life” for their family.

Mathias explained that it was an adjustment for her living in a culture that separated men and women, causing her to rely on the Lord as she did ministry among Muslim women while her husband worked with Muslim men. For Mathias, she found down time valuable as she sought to enjoy the culture in which she was serving.

“Finding things that you enjoy doing in the culture [is important], said Mathias, who served in the Middle East with her husband and four daughters from 2003-2006. “If you can combine ministry with those things, [that’s] even better.”

For Rachel, she has learned that incorporating her interests into the place she serves is key for her thriving overseas.

“Learning to love your city or your place and starting to make it your own [is vital], but in ways that make you happy, too,” said Rachel, explaining that she also takes off one day a week to rest and do something she enjoys.

Jonathan, who has served for 13 years with his wife and three kids in Central Asia, noted that for him understanding the culture around him and the things that his friends valued required a commitment to learning the language. In connection to discipling people from other cultures, Jonathan said, “It’s not dependent on the program. Don’t think that any kind of program is the solution to discipleship.”

Other events throughout the week included an international prayer and worship night, Taco Tuesday and a coffee and culture class followed by an international cooking class. Throughout the week, organizations were set up in the Ledford Student Center and the CGCS to promote ways to get involved in overseas and domestic mission trips. Organizations represented included the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board.

The CGCS is a ministry center of SEBTS that helps students to engage in international and North American missions through events and short-term trips. To learn more about the CGCS, go to

View photos from Global Missions Week here.

*Last names withheld for security reasons

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