Phoenix – A reflective, heartening president’s report and a discussion about five critical lessons President Jason Allen has learned during his five-year tenure highlighted Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Alumni & Friends luncheon June 14 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

In his report to alumni and friends, Allen noted that approximately five years ago, Midwestern’s enrollment stood at 1,200 students; now, the school is about to surpass the 3,000 mark. For this, there is reason to celebrate, he added.

“Over the past five years, God has continued to give us victory after victory…and we don’t take that for granted,” Allen said. “It is appropriate and right for us to pause and celebrate it together, as long as we celebrate not what we have done, but what God is doing through us.”

Midwestern Seminary’s president also spoke of two new initiatives taking place at Midwestern Seminary, and praised one existing program. Allen explained the Timothy Track M.Div., which pairs incoming M.Div. students with local, Kansas City area churches in internships. The program provides these students with personal, hands-on mentorship opportunities with Southern Baptist pastors and also enables them to exercise their spiritual gifts while in seminary. Allen added that those participating in the program can earn a 50-percent scholarship.

Allen also noted The Residency Ph.D. track, which is especially geared toward those who sense a calling into Christian theological higher education. This track, for those who study in residence, will offer special classes and mentorship opportunities with faculty and guest lecturers, so they can obtain the best preparation possible to serve in Christian seminaries and colleges and prepare the next generation of pastors and ministry leaders.

Lastly, Allen praised the school’s Fusion program, which partners with the IMB in training incoming college freshmen for service in the mission field. Personally witnessing these student’s gospel efforts in difficult Middle Eastern locations, Allen noted, “This is the very best of what Southern Baptists, your seminaries, and Midwestern Seminary are all about. To be ‘for the church’ is to be ‘for the nations.’”

Following his report, Allen presented a segment entitled, “Five Years. Five Lessons,” which expressed key concepts he has learned during his nearly five-year tenure at Midwestern.

About the first lesson, “vision matters,” Allen explained that as he was preparing to arrive at Midwestern, God made it clear that his responsibility was to build a seminary dedicated to serving the local church.

“We have been very clear and intentional to express that vision in every public forum, and to live it every day on our campus,” Allen said. “From the faculty we hire to the events we hold, all must be filtered through the idea of ‘how will this best serve the local church?’”

In another lesson, “team matters,” Allen noted that the people God calls to serve at Midwestern Seminary is profoundly important. He shared how, over his tenure, God has raised up great leaders both from within the existing faculty and staff as well as from outside the seminary.

“Team matters. Who you hire matters, and we have gone about each of our hires with the mentality that the future of the seminary depends on it,” Allen said. “God has done a special work by giving us a team that is top notch,” Allen said.

Three other lessons Allen covered during his discussion included: conviction matters, culture matters, and accountability matters.

To conclude the afternoon’s events, Allen honored Tom Cheyney, executive director of missions for the Greater Orlando Baptist Association and founder of the RENOVATE National Church Revitalization Conference, as the recipient of the seminary’s Alumnus of the Year.

Cheyney received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern in 2014. Before undertaking his role at GOBA, he served at the North American Mission Board in the Church Planting Group as the team leader for the Resource Delivery Team. Cheyney also teaches as an adjunct professor of Midwestern Seminary at the doctoral level in church revitalization and church planting.