Akin celebrates tremendous growth at Southeastern in report to SBC messengers
Lauren Pratt | June 17, 2019
During the 2019 seminary presidential report, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin celebrated the tremendous growth that has occurred in its enrollment and announced new partnerships, degree programs and staff changes within the seminary.
“If you ever walk on the campus of Southeastern Seminary, you will immediately catch the DNA of our institution, which is the Great Commission,” said Akin.
Southeastern Seminary and The College at Southeastern have seen significant growth with a current non-duplicating headcount of 4,700 students.
Akin also celebrated the recently announced partnership between Church Answers and the Revitalize Network to offer an M.A. in church revitalization, which will be taught by professors such as Thom Rainer, founder and CEO of Church Answers, executive director of the Revitalize Network and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Sam Rainer, president of the Revitalize Network and Church Answers, co-founder and co-owner of Rainer Publishing and pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida.
Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiative office has seen significant development in its Hispanic, East Asian and Persian Leadership Development programs, Akin reported. GTI works with strategic partners on six continents to create cohorts of selected, positioned leaders from their seminaries, mission boards, denominations and key churches. GTI’s goal is to equip these national leaders so that they may train the local pastors and missionaries from within their various contexts. Through this initiative, Southeastern is training faculty and administrators from more than 40 seminaries in Brazil, the third leading country in sending missionaries. Southeastern is also working to train faculty and administrators from seven schools across Ukraine and are currently working to create a partnership with more than 40 theological training entities from 20 separate countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“In all of this we are training leaders who we pray will also go out and train leaders as well,” said Akin.
During his report, Akin honored former dean of the college and recently elected president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Jamie Dew for his tremendous work in the college. Under his leadership, Dew more than doubled the student enrollment to over 1,200 students, Akin noted during his report. He expressed his gratitude to Dew’s work and counted it a joy to see his appointment to lead NOBTS in the days ahead.
“We are sorrowful in losing him, but we delight in God’s call upon his life to go to New Orleans Seminary,” said Akin. “He has done a phenomenal job and served us with faithfulness and dedication.”
Akin reported that Southeastern has appointed Scott Pace to succeed Dew as dean of The College at Southeastern. Pace previously served as director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership as well as assistant professor of preaching at Southeastern.
As a part of The College at Southeastern, Akin celebrated the Hunt Scholar Program’s growth, which has doubled since its inception and saw its first two graduates in May 2019. The program is designed to provide both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity in pastoral ministry in as little as five years.
Akin also highlighted the continuation and growth of the North Carolina Field Minister Program, which allows long-term inmates in the North Carolina prison system to receive a Bachelor Arts in pastoral ministry through The College at Southeastern. In its third year, enrollment has risen to 80 students with a 91 percent retention rate. Through partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and Game Plan for Life, the program is fully funded to date.
The Kingdom Diversity Initiative at Southeastern, likewise, has grown since its inception in 2013. Since its inception, the non-white student population has increased by 50 percent and the female student population has increased by 40 percent.
“We have more women studying today at our six seminaries than at any time in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Akin, which followed by a roar of applause from messengers across the area.
With so much growth occurring within the institution, Akin announced Southeastern’s launch of the For the Mission campaign, a four-year campaign that addresses four strategic initiatives that allow for Great Commission effectiveness to be strengthened among Southeastern’s students, faculty and staff.
In closing, Akin, who is celebrating his 15th year as president of Southeastern, thanked Southern Baptists for their prayers, love and support for the seminary.
“We continue to be consumed with a passion that allows us and drives us to be focused outward on the nation,” said Akin, explaining that this is coupled with deep conviction of belief, “flowing from a non-negotiable commitment to an infallible and inerrant Bible.”