DALLAS, Texas (MBTS) – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen’s report to the messengers at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting reflected a focus on the concept of stewardship.
Through the many great signs of favor God has outpoured onto Midwestern Seminary over his nearly six-year tenure, Allen noted these are not taken for granted by him or the institution’s leadership team. Likened to the apostle Paul’s urging for Timothy to “guard what has been entrusted to him,” Allen said the school’s leadership team possesses a profound stewardship on behalf of the some-45,000 churches who come together to support theological education.
“Over the past five years, God has been pleased to bless this institution in remarkable ways, and I am proud of that—not merely because of the strength it has enabled us to demonstrate but because of what that communicates about the men and women sitting before me and scattered throughout and around our denomination,” Allen said.
“Students who come and donors who give represent a denomination that believes wholeheartedly in our work, the strength of our faculty, the integrity of our vision, the clarity of our mission, and that we are committed, indeed, to serving the local church.”
Allen added that the school’s unchanging vision, while upkeeping this stewardship, is to exist “For the Church.”
“Our ambition is to be the premier institution in North America training ministers, pastors, and evangelists for local church service, not just in a generic sense, but particularly for Southern Baptist churches,” Allen said. “That has propelled us forward in a whole host of different ways, and this past year was another of unprecedented institutional achievement.”
Among the many achievements for which he is thankful, Allen noted record enrollment, significant progress on campus construction projects, hiring a highly-respected faculty member, and the recent announcement about changes to the school’s undergraduate program.
Along the enrollment front, Allen expressed his gratitude to God for continued enrollment growth. He said that Midwestern Seminary’s enrollment surpassed 3,400 students this academic year, which means the school’s enrollment over the past six years has tripled. Additionally, all early metrics portend another record enrollment this fall.
Updating the messengers, Allen said that construction on the 40,000-square-foot Mathena Student Center—that will include a gymnasium, cafeteria, bookstore, café, seminar space and workout facilities—is swiftly approaching completion. The facility will be in use by the beginning of the fall semester, and thanks to the generosity of the Mathena family of Oklahoma City and many others, the construction will be accomplished with no long-term debt.
Another simultaneous construction project—renovating the existing classroom and faculty building—is only weeks away from completion as well. The results of this undertaking, Allen said, will well-position the school’s infrastructure well into the 21st century.
Allen also announced the hiring of Andreas Köstenberger as research professor of New Testament and biblical theology. Köstenberger will also serve as director of a forthcoming Center for Biblical Studies. Of the hire, Allen praised Köstenberger as “one of the elite New Testament scholars in the Evangelical world,” and added, “He comes in and compliments and strengthens our Biblical Studies Department.”
Finally, Allen shared with messengers about a plan over the past year-and-a-half to unveil changes to how the institution’s undergraduate program could better-serve the churches of the SBC.
Renaming the school’s undergraduate arm as Spurgeon College, the ideology was to emulate the man, C.H. Spurgeon.
“As you know,” Allen said, “we own the Spurgeon Library; we house the Spurgeon Library; and more over we share Spurgeon’s convictions and ambitions for ministry.”
These include Spurgeon’s steadfast commitment to the Word of God; his veracious commitment to the gospel of the Lord, Jesus Christ; his willingness to defend the faith; and his determination to impact society through a host of social ministries.
Allen said, “So for us, it is natural, fitting, and right to launch Spurgeon College to help us extend our mission of training undergraduate students…who need that preparation. We are proud to stand in the gap for you and to serve you through Spurgeon College.”
Concluding his report, Allen explained, “’For the Church:’ that is why we exist. This is a perennial vision, and we will not unveil a new one next year or the year after. That is who we are, and for me the great delight is to see how that vision has migrated from being ‘my’ vision for the seminary to ‘our’ vision for the seminary to ‘the’ vision for the seminary.
“We exist for the church; we exist for your church; and we are doing that as faithfully was we can, by God’s grace, and we are thrilled with results God has given us.”