By Adam Groza
May 15th is Seminary Sunday.
I’ll admit that the idea of seminary Sunday isn’t as important as Easter Sunday or even as exciting as Super Bowl Sunday. However, Seminary Sunday is an important opportunity for Southern Baptist to consider the kingdom impact of its six Southern Baptist seminaries.
Consider the strategic significance of Southern Baptist seminaries. Southern Baptist Seminaries educate at least 25% of all Protestants preparing for ministry in the United States. Think about this opportunity: A quarter of all American pastors, youth workers, college ministers, missionaries, and chaplains will have learned God’s Word in a Southern Baptist seminary. If Southern Baptist seminaries didn’t exist, or if Southern Baptist seminaries didn’t faithfully train these ministers to handle the Word of God, the results would be destabilizing for Christianity in America with global implications.
Consider the kingdom impact of seminary. Seminary trained men and women who know and trust the Word of God, who possess practical ministry and leadership skills, and who are committed to personal evangelism and missions make a kingdom impact no matter their role, title, or location. Gateway Seminary, the only Southern Baptist seminary outside the Bible-Belt, has graduated over 10,000 students who have made, and are making, a kingdom impact around the world. Often times these graduates labor in obscurity, quietly and sacrificially advancing the cause of Christ on the frontlines of Gospel expansion.
Consider for a moment God’s providence in seminary education. Southern Baptist seminaries are a testament to God’s ability to supernaturally accomplish more than we could ask or imagine. Take for example the humble origin of Gateway Seminary, which is now one of the 10 largest seminaries in America. Gateway started in 1944 at a small prayer meeting where California Baptists asked God to help them start a training school for ministers in the West. Gateway stands as a testimony to God’s providence and grace.
Consider the value of cooperation on display in seminary education. No one church could run a single world-class seminary. Southern Baptists have six! Together we do what we could not do alone. In California, non-denominational churches and Bible churches marvel at the affordable education resources available to Southern Baptists. You may not know that all Southern Baptist students receive an automatic fifty-percent tuition discount for being sent from a Southern Baptist church in recognition of that churches’ support of the seminaries through the Cooperative Program. Seminaries prove the dictum “better together”.
Lastly, consider for a moment the global impact of our Southern Baptist seminaries. In early 2020, I went out to share the Gospel with a group of Gateway students. One of the Gateway students was from China, and I asked her how she came to faith in Jesus. As it turns out, a person from another SBC seminary had travelled to China to teach ESL, and had met and shared the Gospel with this young lady, who had come accepted Jesus and was now studying at Gateway Seminary to reach others with the Gospel! Your six Southern Baptist seminaries each have a distinct geographical location and unique character, but we work together and support one another because Southern Baptists deserve seminaries that embody the Great-Commission mentality of cooperation and collaboration for kingdom advancement.
Thank you for your faithful contribution to seminary education through the Cooperative Program. If you know someone in the West who is called to ministry or who would like to find out more about seminary, please direct them to www.gs.edu/information. Pray for Southern Baptist students, faculty, staff, and trustees. Lastly, rejoice that together we have the privilege of celebrating all that God has done, and will do, through our Southern Baptist seminaries.
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