Life in a Great Commission Community: A Conversation with Jenna Burchett
Chad Burchett | October 26, 2022
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern believe that theological education is best done in community — one that is marked by a commitment to the local church and to the Great Commission. That is why Southeastern is intentional about cultivating a culture of spiritual formation in a vibrant missional community.
As an alumna of The College and a current student in the Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies program, Jenna Burchett has experienced the blessings of life in the Southeastern family. As a student, a former leader in The College’s House System, and a Southeastern employee, Jenna is an invested member of Southeastern’s community, embodying Southeastern’s heart for discipleship and missions. In the following Q&A, Jenna takes the time to share about her life in the Southeastern community:
We often hear the phrase “Southeastern Family” around campus. What does this mean to you as a student?
Being a part of the Southeastern family means being supported, encouraged, and stretched to pursue Christ and share the gospel. While living in the dorms during my undergrad, I made lifelong friends who have been sweet blessings in my life. It was through late night conversations, studying together, and living life together that they supported me through challenging moments and celebrated with me during joyful times. The College at Southeastern’s House System played a significant role in helping to facilitate this close-knit community. It helped to bring people together around the mission of serving one another and others outside the community. I was blessed to meet my husband and some of my dearest friends while working, studying, and living on campus.
Being a part of the Southeastern family means being supported, encouraged, and stretched to pursue Christ and share the gospel.
How is discipleship cultivated here on campus?
In addition to its campus-wide culture of discipleship, Southeastern offers opportunities for discipleship through its House System and mentorships. In my undergrad, the House System provided so many opportunities to be invested in and to invest in others. It created a culture of personal discipleship that was contagious. This formative time on campus has solidified for me the importance of discipleship and how encouraging living life with others can be.
Southeastern also encourages students to seek out mentoring relationships with leaders in the Southeastern community. One example is Multiply Her — a great opportunity for women on campus to be mentored or to mentor other women. It is so encouraging to see women of various ages and from different backgrounds come together and encourage each other to pursue and love Christ and his Church. I have been very blessed to be cared for and invested in by wonderful people at Southeastern. Even in the classroom there are times of prayer and follow-up from the professors who genuinely are interested in what is going on in your life.
How does the Great Commission mindset play into how community is done here at Southeastern?
The community I have been folded into at Southeastern has helped to encourage my heart to reach the nations. During my time here, I have gone on mission trips with students and faculty from Southeastern to support Southeastern students and alumni. They have all welcomed me as family and reinforced the desire in my heart to go overseas and serve. The friendships you develop at Southeastern are not selfish but sacrificial. You make lasting friendships with people by encouraging them to go and serve the Lord with their lives — even if that means they move to the other side of the world.
The community I have been folded into at Southeastern has helped to encourage my heart to reach the nations.
Community at Southeastern looks like serving one another and the community together. It looks like pushing each other to grow into Christ’s image each day by reading and obeying God’s word and by sharing the gospel. It looks like holding each other accountable and picking each other up when you fall. It even looks like classrooms that cultivate a Great Commission mindset by encouraging a culture of prayer for the lost.
How have you grown in your relationship with God since coming to Southeastern?
It is through the intentional investment of others that I believe I have grown the most in my relationship with the Lord. I have learned a lot through my classes, and they have all certainly deepened my love for God. However, it is through the people at Southeastern that I have seen God’s love on display and have been encouraged to pursue him more. My Southeastern family has pushed me and encouraged me to look more like Christ and to apply what I have learned in the classroom to my everyday life. Here at Southeastern I have learned more about who God is and that has deepened my love for him and for his mission.