Graduate Spotlight: A Conversation with Chad Burchett

Chad Burchett knew he wanted to come to Southeastern because each class placed an emphasis on fulfilling the Great Commission in North America and around the world.

Burchett is a recent graduate of Southeastern, having completed his Bachelor of Arts in English and Theology in 2018 and his Advanced Standing Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies in December of 2021. Burchett took time to share how his education at Southeastern has profoundly impacted his ministry both now and in the future. He and his wife, Jenna, hope to use their theological education to reach the unreached overseas.

Read more in our Q&A below: 

Why did you decide to come to Southeastern?

When I was looking for an undergraduate program, I settled on The College at Southeastern because it offered degrees in both theology and English and challenged its students to serve the nations. When I was considering graduate schools, I decided to remain at Southeastern because I desired a graduate education that prioritized spiritual formation and not just doctrinal information. The faculty, community, and graduate programs at Southeastern have proven to be a means of God’s transforming grace in my life for which I am deeply grateful.

How did your time at Southeastern shape you spiritually and shape your view of the Great Commission?

When I came to Southeastern, I often envisioned the theological project as a somewhat isolated, ivory-tower practice of reading and writing theological works. During my time at Southeastern, God reignited my heart for people and recentered the theological priority of biblical interpretation and imagination in the discipling community of the church. With its culture of missional living, Southeastern has trained me to make not only interpretive judgments but also life decisions in relation to the Father, Son, and Spirit’s canonical and creational purpose of redemption. These influences have helped to form the mind of Christ in me with the desire to sacrifice in obedience to God’s mission.

In what ways have you seen theological education and ministry preparation go hand in hand while a student?

I began to recognize early in my time at Southeastern that God was providentially using my education to not only prepare me for a specific future ministry but also equip me to regard all of life as ministry—even while a student. My English classes became a stewardship that enabled me to serve and counsel fellow students around the world through working in the Writing Center. My theology classes equipped me to lead Bible studies, counsel fellow Christians, and respond to unbelieving family. Pastoral ministry classwork prepared me for the season when Jenna and I would plan our wedding ceremony, and my end-of-life assignments in an eschatology class prepared me to unexpectedly officiate my grandfather’s funeral just one month after the class. The way my theological education has paralleled ministry opportunities during my time at Southeastern is a testimony to God’s gracious and wise providence in my life.

What is your favorite Southeastern memory?

I have been at Southeastern for a little over seven years, so I have many sweet memories here. I met my wife, Jenna, on the quad; developed some enduring friendships in the dorms; and have worked on campus alongside some amazing colleagues and students. Some of my fondest memories include the late-night conversations with fellow students, the forging and deepening of friendships through campus community, times of prayer and Bible study with classmates, breakfasts with professors, and recurring consultations with students in the Writing Center. 

Who was your favorite professor and what was your favorite class?

I struggle to choose a favorite professor and class when I have been profoundly blessed by so many professors and classes at Southeastern. I am particularly grateful to the theology faculty, especially Dr. Hammett and Dr. Whitfield who have personally encouraged me and helped to refine my theological imagination. I am also grateful for the excellent English faculty, especially the supervision and guidance of Dr. Burkett. Dr. Brent Aucoin has also been a constant friend, mentor, and encouragement to me during my time at Southeastern and at First Baptist Church Durham.

Some of the courses that stand out as uniquely formative include Readings in Christian Theology with Dr. Quinn, Doctrine of Humanity (and Eschatology) with Dr. Hammett, Senior Colloquium with Dr. Mullins, and Methods and Issues in Biblical Interpretation with Dr. Merkle.

Where do you hope to serve after graduation?

My wife and I are prayerfully pursuing the goal of moving overseas to an underserved region and living as faithful neighbors and church members who work within the community and use our Southeastern training to teach the Bible, theology, and English as God permits both in the church and in the academy.

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