Southwestern Seminary Boasts Rising Enrollment, Mission Opportunities

( [email protected] ) Oct 22, 2004 04:43 AM EDT

Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, boasted of a 4 percent growth in seminary enrollment figures, during the seminary trustees¡¯ semiannual meeting on Oct. 19.

¡°God¡¯s spirit is moving and we are seeing unbelievable things here,¡± Patterson said.

Patterson explained that increase in enrollment is a sign that Southwestern is headed toward its goal of 6,000 students. The seminary, he said, is not seeking the goal in order to boast, but because ¡°6,000 is about the level of special ops troops we¡¯ll need to keep in the pipeline here at Southwestern Seminary to do what the Lord wants us to do.¡±

Patterson then went onto explain the mission-mindedness of the seminary staff, while projecting slides of dozens of foreign countries.

¡°One of our own professors has long been involved in Cuba,¡± Patterson said, referring to the first overhead slide. ¡°The problem is [Baptists there] don¡¯t have trained leadership. Even though it is tough to get in, and still somewhat dangerous in some cases, we are headed to Cuba and we are going to do all we can to reach that nation for Christ.¡±

The second slide showed the countries of Zambia and Tanzania.

Zambia is home to the Nyika people, an unreached people group of some 500,000. Patterson told trustees, ¡°... the road stops 50 miles short of where they live.¡±

Patterson said that the students of the seminary have the chance to help the Zambian Christians plant the seeds of Christianity in their nation.

¡°Every student ought to be giving himself in every way he can to further the worldwide mission enterprise,¡± he said.

Patterson also spoke of mission opportunities in Romania.

¡°That is Siberia, 40 degrees below zero in the winter,¡± Patterson said. ¡°There are four cities with over a million people there. It is a rugged, difficult place, and the food is not the best. You will eat potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes, washed down with sour yak milk.

¡°We want to go to Siberia. The winter is the best time to evangelize there. There will be several trips a year of our students going to Siberia. Each of our students will have a student from either Bonn or Oradea along with them so that they have an instant Russian translator,¡± he said.

After experiencing the mission trips, Patterson explained, both the staff and student body will be ¡°happy campers.¡±

¡°We do not want any boring professors here. You will be amazed what a short-term mission trip will do [for a professor] to demonstrate the mission imperative of Greek aorist terms,¡± Patterson said. ¡°If we are focused on reaching lost people for Christ, we won¡¯t have time to get into squabbles. A focus on missions will occupy folks to such a degree that we will have happy campers. We don¡¯t want anything to happen to our people and we will stand behind them, but we want them to go."