Southeastern honors students for exceptional scholarship and ministry

Since 1950, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) has sought to equip students for excellence in theology and Christian practice.

The purpose of this excellence in scholarship is to equip graduates to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission from Wake Forest, North Carolina to the ends of the earth. This spring, the faculty awarded 28 students who excelled in a variety of disciplines, including biblical studies, music, evangelism and more. These students represent the core character and academic rigor that SEBTS desires to see in each student who leaves the seminary and college. 

“We are thrilled to honor these students who have exemplified excellence in scholarship and spiritual disciplines this semester,” said SEBTS provost Bruce Ashford. “The men and women receiving these awards exemplify the kind of students we hope to continue training now and in the future.” 

One such student is Ryan Ross, who received the Mark Corts Preaching Award. Ross is pursuing his M.Div. in Preaching and Pastoral Ministry at SEBTS and noted his deep gratitude for the influence of his preaching professors. 

“I can’t say enough about the influence that Dr. Pace and Dr. Shaddix have had on me and how much they have shaped my view of expository preaching,” said Ross, whose award represents a student who has excelled in expository preaching and shows great potential for future preaching ministry. “They have equipped me with tools, strengthened my convictions and modeled what it looks like to preach what God says.” 

Each semester, students are selected by the faculty in each academic area of focus. The entire faculty votes on these award candidates to finalize the selection process. 

Sara Billingsley, the recipient of the EvanTell Evangelism Award, expressed what she has learned about her understanding and practice of evangelism during her time at Southeastern. 

“From growing alongside fellow students and fellow ambassadors [for Christ], I have come to experience the full joy of knowing Christ through being on mission with his Church,” said Billingsley, who is graduating this spring with her Master of Divinity with Advanced Standing. “Jesus said, ‘Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ I have learned that the invitation to follow comes with a new identity. If we follow, then we fish.” 

Chloe Farley, likewise, shared in this sentiment of gratitude for the lessons she has learned during her time in Southeastern’s music program. Farley is a recipient of the Ben S. Johnson Church Music Award, which honors a student who has exemplified excellence in musical performance and potential for future music ministry. 

 “My time at Southeastern has been monumental in my growth in not only my musicianship but also my understanding of worship and how music plays a vital role in that,” said Farley, who will graduate this fall with a Bachelor of Arts in Worship Ministry and a minor in Global Studies. “My confidence in the Lord and my abilities have grown immensely from the time I stepped on this campus to now, and I will be forever grateful for those that have poured into me and the opportunities I have been given to serve in my time here at Southeastern.” 

SEBTS awards a monetary gift as well as a certificate for recipients’ academic and ministerial achievements. While COVID-19 has prevented the regular awards chapel from occurring this spring, SEBTS desires to honor these students who are excelling in their areas of study for the glory of God. The next awards ceremony will be held during the last week of chapel during the Fall 2020 semester. 

The full list of award recipients can be viewed here.

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