Mobilizing the Church: SEBTS Hosts Annual Global Missions Week
Chad Burchett | February 20, 2023
How does Jesus desire to reach the nations? By empowering and sending his Church into the harvest. That mission remains unchanged, which is why Jesus’s words in Luke 10:2 are as urgent today as they were then. The harvest is still plentiful, but the workers are few.
On February 13-17, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted its annual Global Missions Week, an annual missions celebration with opportunities for students to learn how they too can join in the harvest.
“We annually set aside this week in our calendar to unite and focus our hearts on the task of the Great Commission,” noted SEBTS President Danny Akin. “This week is a wonderful reminder to prioritize the mission of our Lord in our own lives and in our churches and to learn from current missionaries. It is also a time of celebration as we rejoice in stories of God’s faithfulness and the advancement of his mission all around the world.”
Gathering missionaries from North America, Africa, East Asia, and various countries around the world, Global Missions Week provided students face-to-face time with field personnel from the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB). Students heard from missionaries in their classes and had opportunities to participate in round table discussions with missionaries, share a meal with them, and even sign up for coffee with them to ask personal ministry questions.
Students were also introduced to church planting opportunities through NAMB’s Send Network and through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Calling students to join in God’s mission, chapel and other event speakers challenged students to consider the beauty of the gospel message and the world’s desperate need to hear the truth about King Jesus.
“In November, the population of the earth passed the 8-billion mark,” Zane Pratt, the IMB’s vice president for global training, shared during Tuesday’s chapel. “Somewhere between 3-4 billion of them have little to no access to the gospel. … Those people make up about 6,000 of the more than 11,000 people groups on the earth.”
As Pratt reminded attendees, these staggering numbers are intolerable. Global lostness is not merely a problem because of what people do not have but because of who they do not know or worship. God deserves all worship, and he created humans to be worshippers. That is why the command to evangelize and make disciples is fundamentally about worship.
“The gospel is the good news about God,” noted Pratt. “The task of evangelism and missions is not fundamentally a life insurance transaction. It is fundamentally an act of worship.”
The task of evangelism and missions is not fundamentally a life insurance transaction. It is fundamentally an act of worship.
As an act of worship, missions aims to change the world’s allegiance and offer them life in King Jesus — from life under deceptive kings and Satan’s domain of darkness to life in service to Jesus in his kingdom of light. Missions aims at seeing rebels made kingdom citizens and true worshippers of Jesus.
“As we go to share the gospel, we are announcing there is another king, not the powers or the principalities of this world and not those who have conspired against the Lord and his anointed, his Christ, but that there is the anointed one — the Christ — this King who they can follow,” Steven McKinion, professor of theology and patristic studies at SEBTS, shared in his chapel message on Thursday. “The mission that you and I are on as followers of Jesus is to tell the nations, ‘This is your King, and if you will trust in him, then you too will be made vessels of honor and not of dishonor.’”
This task of proclamation and discipleship — as an act of worship — extends to the whole church. All are commanded to join King Jesus in his mission and proclaim the gospel message, discipling the nations to be obedient followers of Jesus Christ. That is why SEBTS hosts Global Missions Week each year to champion the Great Commission and challenge students and their churches to go make disciples of all nations at home, across the country, and around the world.
“People work toward what they celebrate,” commented Keelan Cook, director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at SEBTS. “That’s why Global Missions Week is a crown jewel among Southeastern’s annual events. We want to elevate our collective calling to the Great Commission for our students, faculty, and staff. Global Missions Week gives us an opportunity to bring it front and center and challenge our students to give their lives for the sake of the mission.”
We want to elevate our collective calling to the Great Commission for our students, faculty, and staff.
“The Great Commission is central and foundational to everything we do at Southeastern,” shared Akin. “It informs our decision-making, our teaching, and our mission of equipping students to serve the local church. That is why we celebrate Global Missions Week, and that is also why we say every classroom is a Great Commission classroom, every professor is a Great Commission professor, and every student is a Great Commission student.”
As a Great Commission seminary, SEBTS believes that the Great Commission is the church’s pressing task as the final charge of King Jesus to his disciples. That is why SEBTS trains students to serve and mobilize Great Commission churches to multiply worshippers of Jesus Christ among the nations. To see more about student experiences during Global Missions Week, check out the CGCS on social media, or visit thecgcs.org to learn about available missions degrees, resources, and upcoming trips through SEBTS.