Last week, a new SEBTS student wrote a very fascinating blog post explaining his concerns about seminary. Unlike some incoming students, Nathan didn’t express concerns about reading, writing, or other typical schooling issues. Instead, he was concerned about being an introvert in a seminary that was so focused on the Great Commission. You can read his post here (Seminary and Scared)
We at the CGCS thought it would be fun to interview Nathan after his first week at Southeastern to find out how our new introvert was finding life at Southeastern.
1. Can you remember anything that was said at convocation or the Missions Gathering that stirred your heart and typified the mission of Southeastern?
Yes a few things stand out.
First is conviction. I confess that I was totally ignorant of the life of Bertha Smith and her ministry in China. How could I have missed such a dear sisters efforts? Beginning the semester with a faithful exposition of Galatians using a missionary as the primary illustration shows consistency concerning the mission of the school. We know the mission. How awesome it is to be reminded of faithful examples?
I also was encouraged to see Dr. Merida be appreciated that way. It reminded me of another important thing about the mission of Southeastern, “equipping students to serve the Church… I have only been here a short time, but it seems to me that SEBTS loves local churches, pastors of local churches, and professors who spend their life training future pastors. SEBTS has lead me to think deeply and pray, “Lord, why should I stay?” However, I am confident that after my time here if the Lord leads me to pastor in the states, teach at a seminary, or to any other ministry that I will be deeply loved and prayed for by those associated with SEBTS. It seems to me that the appreciation of Dr. Merida serves as an example of that.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend to missions gathering because of work, but the beauty of social media is that I watched several people on campus live tweet the event. It was encouraging for me to see that the mission of Southeastern is not only a slogan on a brochure, but a culture that saturates both the students and faculty. Seeing people be excited about hearing from missionaries on the field can only stir you to think about those who have gone and how you can pray for them.
2. Sitting in a desk, listening to a professor, could you see how the information you were taking in was pushing you to go and share the Gospel?
Yes, an example I recall the most is from hermeneutics believe it or not! Dr. Beck encouraged us that knowing the Scriptures the best we can and learning to interpret them faithfully opens up several doors for sharing the gospel. In our culture today people may have a lot of questions and maybe they have heard misleading things about the Bible. Now often this may look like apologetics, but it is a way nonetheless to communicate the gospel. In fact, I am paraphrasing him here, but he said something along these lines in class, “We are a missional seminary, with a missional faculty, and we are training missional students.” That is a paraphrase, but it is pretty close to what he said. All of this not in a personal evangelism class, but hermeneutics!
3. Have you began to see yourself as a part of this missional community at Southeastern, specifically in terms of friendship and camaraderie?
I have only been here a short time, but the seminary has done a good job about creating opportunity for students to get connected. Everyone I have encountered from facilities to administration has been welcoming and encouraging. You don’t have to be here long to realize this place is serious about glorifying God in whatever capacity God has called them to and being on mission in that capacity. I was encouraged to hear about the CGCS making prayer cards available of the missionaries and church planters out in the field. Also, if memory serves me right SEBTS is encouraging students to share the gospel every day in September and is offering training! Encouragement to grow into a missional believer and the training to go along with it? You can’t beat that.
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com