Southeastern Celebrates Commission at NC Baptist Annual Meeting • Biblical Recorder

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“We are grateful to partner with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as we work together to serve the Church and fulfill the commission,” said Danny Akin, President of SEBTS.

November 6-8, over 1,600 participants gathered in Greensboro, NC for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Pastors’ Conference and Annual Meeting. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) celebrated partnerships with NC Baptist churches and connected with alumni and other participants through various events during the gathering.

“We are grateful to partner with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as we work together to serve the Church and fulfill the commission,” he said Danny Akin, President of SEBTS. “Each year, as we meet with fellow North Carolina Baptists, we celebrate God’s faithfulness, encourage one another in our ministries, and deepen our partnerships in the commission.”

This year’s Pastors’ Conference called on North Carolina pastors to faithfully administer their ministries in their local churches and was based on Acts 20:26 with the theme “Shepherding the Church of God.” Steven Wade, Professor of Pastoral Theology at SEBTS and Pastor of Faith Baptist Church, opened the conference with a message from 1 Peter 5:1-5 with an exhortation for elders in the local church. Wade clarified the elder’s responsibility to shepherd God’s flock and explained Peter’s commission to watch willingly, diligently, and by example, and reminded that those who remain faithful will receive the undying crown of glory.

As a sponsor of this year’s Pastors’ Conference, Southeastern is committed to equipping pastors to properly handle the Word of God and lead churches to increased faithfulness to the commission. “It is an absolute pleasure for us to work with the North Carolina Baptist Pastors’ Conference, and it is a joy to see pastors coming together around the Word of God to be encouraged by the preaching of the Word.” Jonathan SixVice President of Institutional Advancement at SEBTS, shared with conference attendees.

“Central to our mission as an institution is the training of ministering pastors, which is why we are committed to training men for ministry work in the local churches,” Six said. “We believe that theological education is best done in a mutual partnership with the local church. We want to both accept students from your local church for training and send them back to you to continue the training process.”

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Throughout the day on Tuesday, SEBTS professors conducted several breakout sessions

On Monday’s pastors’ network panel, visiting professors from the Southeast JD GrearPastor of the Summit Church, and Matt Carter, Vice President for Mobilization of the North American Mission Board, joined Markus DeverPastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church, to discuss church augmentation strategies in the context of the local church. “A sign of health in a church is not the size of the building, but the number of people that are sent out,” Greear said. “We should celebrate our broadcasting capacity more than our seating capacity.”

During Monday night’s 9Marks at 9 panel, Danny Akin joined David RussellSEBTS Graduate and Pastor of Oakhurst Baptist Church and Nate AkinSEBTS Graduate and CEO of the Pillar Network, as well Phil Newton, Associate Professor at SEBTS and Director of Counseling and Mentoring for the Pillar Network, to discuss the practice of appointing elders in Baptist churches. Danny Akin pointed out that typical Baptist eldership practice must inherently correspond to the congregation under the authority of the elders. Akin also emphasized the importance of allowing for the qualifications for elders found in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 in determining the number of elders appointed in a congregation. The desire for plurality of elders does not absolve congregations from submitting to the biblical qualifications for elders in the local church.

At Tuesday’s SEBTS alumni and friends luncheon, Akin urged attendees to hold on to the Great Commission. Akin addressed the critical importance of prioritizing missions and discipleship, urging participants to choose what is best and most important over many competing causes and priorities. “The Great Commission is mentioned in some form in all four gospels and in Acts,” Akin said. “If Jesus says something once, it should be enough, but if he says something to us five times – as he did with the Great Commission – you have to believe that it is very important to the heart of our God. Our priority at Southeastern is the training of men and women to be missionary Christians wherever God sends them to do what God has called them to do.”

Throughout the day on Tuesday, SEBTS professors led several breakout sessions including Brad Hambrick‘s Understanding the Traumatic Effects of Abuse: Pastoral Implications, Tate Cockrel‘s Redeeming Sexuality: Caring for People with Sexuality Difficulties, and Scott PaceThe College Question: How Do I Pick a College? With a heart to serve Congress, the Southeastern faculty is grateful for these opportunities to invest in NC Baptist pastors and church leaders.

During Tuesday afternoon’s session of the annual meeting, Akin spoke about the heartbeat and vision of Southeastern’s Great Commission on Theological Education. “Southeastern is your seminary,” Akin reminded attendees. “The last words are to be words that endure, and of all that the Lord Jesus could have said before he ascended into heaven, he commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. … I believe that all of God’s children, no matter where He calls or sends them, should have the heart of Jesus: that is, a heart for the commission.”

“I think the annual convention meeting is the best example of being on a mission together,” he said Chris Allen, Deputy Head of Church & Convention Relations Department. “While all churches, associations and national assemblies are autonomous, we come together for the unity of faith, hope and love in the gospel. This is the reason why the cooperation program works so well. United we stand, or divided we fall. Every church and every member has one vote.”

(EDITORS NOTE – Chad Burchett is a writer for the SEBTS Communications Bureau.)