Kneeling and Standing for the Gospel

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) - A vivid representation of the call to missions was seen in both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s chapel services during International Church Planting Week at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Sept. 14-18.

The chapel attendees, consisting mostly of Southwestern students, faculty and their families, kneeled and stood Wednesday and Thursday for the cause of taking the Gospel abroad.

On Wednesday Keith Eitel, dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, preached from Ephesians 6:18-20 and challenged that “praying at all times” requires a “spiritual focus” that only comes when we are empowered by God.

“Don’t break your concentration. Don’t let the world distract you. Don’t let academic studies – as valuable as they are, and that’s what we’re here for – distract you,” said Eitel.

He shared an illustration of sentries in a top-secret, military intelligence camp who were bidden to carry live grenades in order to stay alert, and he made the analogy that this type of alertness was what Paul was seeking from the church in Ephesus. Eitel was also convinced that this alertness in prayer is also what is needed from Christians today.

“You need to not just get by with routine, mundane praying,” Eitel said. “Folks, this is prayer with a purpose; prayer with a passion; prayer with watchful perseverance.”

Eitel then asked the audience to kneel in the aisles of the auditorium, as he knelt near the pulpit, and pray with him for revival and for the Great Commission.

President Paige Patterson’s message on Thursday, taken from the book of Jonah, ended with him asking Southwesterners to stand, and then raise their hands, if they would be willing to go, short-term or long-term, to their Nineveh in order to share the Gospel.

Patterson explained that a person’s Nineveh “is where you least want to go. Your Nineveh is where you’re afraid to go. Your Nineveh is wherever you don’t care about right now—and God’s called you to go to Nineveh.”

The events for International Church Planting Week provided Southwesterners with opportunities to learn about international missions, to become more equipped to serve internationally and to participate in activities that support current missionary endeavors.

Monday evening saw time together for students that provided detailed information about the International Church Planting “2 + 2” program, one of the ways Southwesterners can prepare for overseas ministry work.

An International Mission Board (IMB) consultant joined Eitel in explaining how the IMB and the “2 + 2” program work together to provide a way to complete coursework and plant churches overseas simultaneously.

A “College night” on Thursday, held at the World Missions Center (WMC), featured an informational session on the College at Southwestern’s (CSW) new concentration in missions. This unique program provides CSW students with the opportunity to earn up to 12 hours of course credit while doing mission work with the IMB.

CSW students had a fun night of activities and games – including winning laundry supplies that will better equip them for dorm life – and benefitted from having time to ask questions about the program and about missionary service.

Students gathered again at the WMC on Friday evening, wrapping up the week’s events, to thank God for the Southwestern students He has called to overseas ministry and missionary work, as well as to devote themselves to prayer and corporate worship for missions.

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