Southeastern welcomes trustees and donors to campus for fall meetings
Lauren Pratt | October 13, 2021
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary welcomed its Board of Trustees and Southeastern Society (SES) to campus for their biannual meetings Oct. 10-12.
The past three days celebrated the way in which students are carrying the doctrinal convictions, biblical veracity, and missional urgency instilled at SEBTS to the nations. These two days also celebrated the tremendous impact donors and trustees are making in the life of students each and every day through their giving and governance of the institution.
During Tuesday’s Board meeting, President Danny Akin reported to trustees that SEBTS has experienced both record enrollment and its strongest year of giving. Southeastern continues to exceed 5,000 students and has raised 32 percent more in 2021-2021 than the prior fiscal year. This is 22 percent higher than the highest year of giving in the school’s history.
Trustees also approved a strategic institutional focus for 2021-2022 put forth by the Cabinet. This focus, Love the Truth, is one of the guiding Four Loves of the seminary (Love God, Love the Truth, Love the Church, and Love the World). SEBTS seeks to communicate the seminary’s commitment to spiritual vibrancy in the life of its students through Love the Truth, which includes six essential doctrinal emphases: the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture; the exclusivity of the gospel; the importance of penal substitution; complementarian theology; the importance of the local church; the inherent and eternal value of every human life.
“It’s been one of the joys of my life to be one the Board of Trustees at Southeastern Seminary, in large part because of the fidelity the seminary has had, under Danny’s leadership and others, to God’s Word and to the mission that Jesus Christ left us,” said Tim Dale, Chairman of the SEBTS Board of Trustees. “…I’m just truly excited and pleased to serve with a wonderful group of fellow Christians who love the seminary and love the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Likewise, trustee Rusty Small noted, “I’m appreciative of Southeastern’s ongoing commitment to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, the exclusivity of the gospel, and the importance of the local church.” Small serves as the Lead Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Appomattox, Virginia and as Assistant Professor at Liberty University’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity.
During their Tuesday meeting, trustees approved several items, including:
- Proposals and revisions to college, graduate, and advanced curriculum. Main changes include the addition of the Minor in Ministry to Women, an MDiv in Pastoral Ministry and Counseling, and changes the Church History ThM emphasis to Historical Theology.
- The Butler Family Student Aid Fund
- Sabbatical reports from Drs. Aucoin, Hammett, Kellum, and Moseley.
- Sabbatical requests for Drs. Keathley, Miles, and Quarles
The Board also welcomed nine new trustees, including Boris Alfaro (to serve on the Student Services Committee), Aaron Burgner (to serve on the Campus Planning Committee), Raymond Brown (to serve on the Student Services Committee), Michael Byrd (Audit & Investment Committee), Sheila Fields (to serve on the Academic Committee), Ingrid Reynolds (to serve on the Campus Planning Committee), Alan Scott (to serve on the Student Services Committee), Andy Taylor (to serve on the Academic Committee), and Neal Seaborn (to serve on the Institutional Advancement Committee).
During Southeastern’s For the Mission Banquet Monday night, President Akin told donors, “What you do in your prayers and what you do in your giving makes a massive difference for the cause of Christ.”
SES members and guests heard from Dr. Jeff Struecker, Assistant Professor of Christian Leadership at Southeastern. Struecker served for more than 22 years in the military, 10 years of which were served as private and platoon sergeant in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Struecker surrendered his life to the Lord in ministry and decided to become a chaplain in the Airborne and Ranger units, which he served for the last 10 years of his military service. Struecker is currently the lead pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia.
During his address Monday night, Struecker noted that Christian identity coupled with Great Commission responsibility produces gospel urgency. He also thanked donors for their willingness to train students for this urgent mission. “Thank you for your love for this school, thank you for your support, and thank you for the passion for the gospel and your commitment to the Great Commission.”
SES members gathered Sunday evening for dinner, fellowship, and worship. They also had the opportunity to hear about the impact of student aid from College at Southeastern Dean Scott Pace and Mercy Scholarship recipient Roy Vargas.
“Southeastern, under the leadership of President Danny Akin, stands upon the authority, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of Scripture and has a passionate faculty currently equipping leaders to go serve the Church and fulfill Jesus’ last marching orders,” said Vargas, who moved from Costa Rica with his family to attend SEBTS and hopes to serve the unreached in South Asia after graduation.
During Monday morning’s SES meeting, donors heard updates President Akin on his family, SEBTS, and the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition, donors were updated on the progress of the For the Mission campaign, which has reached 72.5 percent of its $20.5 million goal.
Ed Litton, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered Tuesday’s chapel sermon to students, staff, donors, and trustees. Preaching from Philippians 1:12-21, Litton focused his sermon on what it looks like for Jesus to be at the center of the Christian’s life. Litton noted that problems become platforms, opposition becomes opportunity, and death becomes defeated as believers seek to pursue holiness through sanctification.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held April 4-5.