ST. CHARLES, Mo – During this year’s Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting, Midwestern Seminary expressed gratitude to pastors and churches in the seminary’s annual report and through hosting the Pastors Conference Lunch.
Midwestern Seminary’s Vice President of Student Services John Mark Yeats delivered the seminary’s report.
The report included updates on enrollment gains, expansion of training opportunities, the newly established five-year plan, and the announcement of the John and Sharon Yeats Endowed Chair of Baptist Studies.
Yeats began his report with a word of thanksgiving to Missouri Baptists, saying, “We are so thankful for you, for your churches, and for your ongoing support, both in prayer and through financial giving, and in sending students as we continue to train God called men and women for the church.”
Recognizing Midwestern Seminary’s recent 10-year celebration of President Jason Allen’s leadership, Yeats overviewed many of the seminary’s changes in the last decade and recent updates in the last year.
He shared, “When Allen arrived 10 years ago, Midwestern Seminary had around 1200 students. We closed out last year at just under 5000 students.”
At the campus level Yeats said, “We have seen our campus reset with our deferred maintenance addressed and beauty reintroduced to the campus.”
He made note of faculty changes in the past year, saying, “We’ve had significant hires on our campus, including Dr. Thomas Kidd as our research professor of church history. He’s a leading scholar across the nation who is now teaching our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students.”
He also spoke to the recently added training opportunities at the seminary. These updates include the expansion of the Fusion program, a missions program in connection with the International Mission Board, which now trains graduate students for overseas service. He also noted the increased seminary connections to local churches through the For The Church Institute, which continues to add more free courses for churches each year.
Yeats continued his report by sharing the recently approved five-year strategic plan for Midwestern Seminary. “As we finished these last 10 years, we have set out five strategic priorities for the next five years that, Lord willing, will see an even greater investment in you and in your churches.”
He noted the five strategic priorities which include: (1) mission faithfulness, (2) student success, (3) faculty strength, (4) a flourishing community, and (5) intergenerational stewardship.
Yeats concluded his report by announcing two recent gifts to the seminary.
First, he shared, “We’ve announced recent gifts that will help ensure that our high-level missions training program, Fusion, will be accessible to even more students. We’ll continue our direct partnership with the International Mission Board seeking to send more men and women globally, especially targeting unreached and unengaged people groups.”
He also said, “We’ve announced multiple endowed chairs this year, including one solidified this past spring that I’m excited to re-announce to you here, namely, the John and Sharon Yeats Endowed Chair of Baptist Studies.”
“This chair will ensure that the next generation of those who are coming forward to train for the pastorate will know more about their heritage and their history. This chair was possible because of the generosity of many of our churches and because of some of you personally. So, with heartfelt gratitude, I say, thank you, friends.”
John Yeats, who resides in Lohman, Mo. with his wife Sharon, serves as the Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. He leads the state’s staff to administer Cooperative Program funds and fulfill the Acts 1:8 mission mandate, and he also works as a publisher with The Pathway.
He has served as the Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention for ten years and has also completed 25 years of annual service as the recording secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Reflecting on the recent announcement, President Allen shared, “In God’s kindness, He has drawn people to this institution to support and carry out the vision to begin to endow these professorships to ensure the teaching of the gospel and the training of ministers until the Lord comes back. I can think of no field more appropriate to have the Yeats name on it than Baptist Studies.”
Speaking to the Yeats in a Midwestern Seminary chapel service, Allen said, “From the day my nomination was announced, you reached out and pledged your support. I have seen your leadership with the Missouri Baptist Convention first-hand, as you have led the organization from disharmony to harmony, internal conflict to a convention that projects unity and good will, and to see how you’ve intentionally cultivated and raised up a generation of pastors. The model you and Mrs. Yeats have set is an encouragement us all.”