Where Are You Going? Southeastern Celebrates the Great Commission and Announces Upcoming Mission Trips
Chad Burchett | August 24, 2022
At Gathering Chapel on August 23, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary challenged students, staff, and faculty to be intentional about fulfilling the Great Commission and announced opportunities to get involved, including seven institutional mission trips during the 2022-2023 academic year.
“Where are you going? How are you going to fulfill the Great Commission?” asked Keelan Cook, Instructor of Missiology and George Liele Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) at Southeastern. “Our challenge to you today is to adopt a posture of openness to the Great Commission.”
Where are you going? How are you going to fulfill the Great Commission?
Southeastern’s Gathering Chapel centered on God’s heart for the nations and how he calls and commissions his people to live on mission around the world. Charging students to submit to God’s calling with confidence and without conditions, Scott Pace, Dean of The College at Southeastern and Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Preaching, pointed attendees to Christ’s finished and sufficient work, which empowers and motivates each Christian’s calling.
“Our relationship with God, from our conversion to our calling, is never about our personal ability or adequacy,” shared Pace. “It is only through Christ’s atonement that we are accepted. It is only through his sacrifice that we are made sufficient. It is only by his grace that we are gifted to do what he has called us to do. In Jesus, we have everything we need to fulfill our calling. Therefore, you can embrace your calling with confidence — not because of your capability but because of Christ and Christ alone.”
Reminding students that the CGCS exists to equip, resource, connect, and mobilize students as they submit to God’s calling, Cook shared that the CGCS commits to helping every student discover their pathway to fulfill the Great Commission: “There are many pathways to obeying the Great Commission; our biggest mistake is failing to put our feet on one. Our commitment as a center is that we will help facilitate that discovery process.”
There are many pathways to obeying the Great Commission; our biggest mistake is failing to put our feet on one.
Southeastern is committed to providing students with hands-on Great Commission training for ministry. That is why Southeastern is offering seven institutional mission trips this academic year at reduced costs — thanks to the gifts of generous donors who share a passion for fulfilling the Great Commission.
“As an institution, we are committed to giving every student the opportunity to take a mission trip as part of their ministry preparation at Southeastern,” shared Cook. “All students receive course credit and free tuition for mission trips through Southeastern, and our trips are financially subsidized, enabling students to pay a fraction of the cost to travel for missions. This year, we are making that easier than ever. Our hope is to send more students on short-term missions than ever before, both in North America and to the ends of the earth.”
To express interest in an upcoming mission trip or to learn more about trip details, visit the CGCS Mission Trips page. Check out the list of upcoming mission trips below and hear from the team leaders about the spiritual needs of each region and the ministries you can expect on each trip:
Houston, TX — October 1-8, 2022
“One of the most significant issues in local church missions and ministry today is the rapidly increasingly diversity in North America,” noted Cook, Houston trip team leader, “The United States is home to hundreds of language groups and millions of people from some of the countries that are the hardest to reach with the gospel.
Preparing students to minister in a North American context now means preparing them for cross-cultural ministry. Our trip to Houston is designed to do just that, by taking our students to engage in missions in the most diverse city in the United States. Houston is home to peoples from all over the world, and it serves as a missions laboratory where students can experience working models of cross-cultural gospel ministry among unreached foreign-born populations. Students will engage in cross-cultural evangelism and see firsthand different models of diaspora missions.”
Alaska — Spring Break 2023
“Frontier ministry is compelling for many,” shared Matt Rogers, Alaska trip team leader, Assistant Professor of North American Church Planting, and Coordinator of North American Church Planting and Revitalization. “Behind the risk-taking appeal, however, is rugged ministry in difficult places void of gospel witness. Alaska is one such place.
While missions is common in this part of the world, there is a great need for long-term pastors and missionaries who are willing to persevere over the long haul to see healthy local churches established in this hard-to-reach place. Join us as we survey the work of healthy churches in Alaska, aid them in various projects needed to foster disciple-making and evangelism, and learn about the work of the gospel in a hard place.”
Utah — Spring Break 2023
“We are very excited to begin regularly sending our students on short-term mission trips again,” commented Scott Hildreth, Utah team leader and Associate Professor of Missiology. “This is an important aspect of their education, spiritual development, and our shaping a generation of Great Commission leaders. For this trip, we will be going to Utah to work alongside established local missionaries and serve local churches, who are working to reach the community. We will do various kinds of ministry work in the surrounding community and among university students.”
New Orleans, LA, for Crossover — Summer 2023
“Each year Southern Baptists converge upon an American city in order to do important business related to the cooperative partnership of local, autonomous churches,” shared George Robinson, New Orleans team leader, Professor of Global Disciple Making and Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism. “The Crossover missions opportunity serves as a reminder to our seminary students from all six schools that the most pressing business is to communicate the hope of the gospel to those far from God.
From June 4-10, I will be leading a team of Southeastern students to partner with local churches, the North American Mission Board, and students from our sister seminaries to engage lostness in the city of New Orleans. There will be training each morning and time in the harvest each afternoon, and students can earn course credit for full participation.”
Southeast Asia — Summer 2023
“The purpose of the trip is primarily outreach and evangelism,” noted Ben Merkle, Southeast Asia team leader, M.O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies, Professor of New Testament and Greek, and Editor of the “Southeastern Theological Review.” “We will partner with a local church as well as spend time with several missionary families to hear their vision, learn what it is like to live on mission in an overseas context, and help implement their ministry strategy. Students will have the opportunity to learn about three major world religions in the region (Islam — 60%; Buddhism — 20%; and Hinduism — 6%) as well as share the gospel with many who are far from God.”
Central Asia — Summer 2023
“The Central Asia Study Tour offers students an immersive cross-cultural experience that includes theological training and cultural exchange with refugees from hard-to-reach locations,” commented Jake Pratt, Central Asia team leader, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Hermeneutics, and Director of PhD Studies. “Students will live and study alongside believers from these hard-to-reach countries as we study the biblical history behind events and locations central to the book of Revelation.”
Japan — Summer 2023
“A land steeped in ancient traditions and culture, Japan is likely one of the hardest-to-reach places on earth,” shared Cook, Japan team leader. “Rich in culture and historic ties to Buddhism and Shintoism, the Japanese people are in desperate need of the gospel. Yet, their worldview is strongly based in honor and shame, and their culture places a high value on collective identity. This collective dynamic makes departing from their traditions a challenging prospect.
Nevertheless, Tokyo is one of the world’s largest population centers, with over 37 million people. In fact, one-third of Japan’s total population lives in this city. Despite having the world’s best amenities, Tokyo is still covered in darkness. Students will engage this challenging context by partnering with local International Mission Board field personnel and engaging in gospel proclamation among the unreached Japanese people.”
Reflecting on Revelation 7:9-12, President Danny Akin concluded Gathering Chapel by reminding students of the missionary promise depicted in John’s throne room vision of saints from every nation, tribe, people, and language. “The unreached are going to be reached,” noted Akin. “The question we have to answer is, ‘Will we be a part of reaching the unreached?’”
The unreached are going to be reached. The question we have to answer is, “Will we be a part of reaching the unreached?”
“Brothers and sisters here at Southeastern, this faculty wants all of you to be fanatics for King Jesus,” shared Akin. “If that means disappointing friends, so be it. If that means disappointing parents and grandparents, with respect, so be it — because there is nothing like being exactly in the place where God wants you to be. God’s heart is set on the nations. God’s heart is longing to reach the unreached. Might it be that God has appointed —in his sovereign plan — you to be one of the ones who goes to that unreached people group, and it is you and your faithfulness to Christ that is responsible for that people group being gathered around the throne in heaven.”
For more information or to sign up for an upcoming mission trip, check out the CGCS Mission Trips page.