Pulpit shows friendship between Boston church and SWBTS

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary expressed its appreciation to Berkland Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass., for a $100,000 gift to the seminary by presenting the church with a pulpit, Oct. 22.

“I can’t put into words how deeply your support has touched our hearts,” Mike Hughes, the seminary’s vice president of institutional advancement, said to the congregation during the presentation. “Your stewardship is yet another example to our students.”

Berkland, pooling resources from its network of 20 churches worldwide, donated $100,000 each to the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in San Francisco. The gifts commemorated the founding church’s 25th anniversary, which was March 5, 2006.

Kim expressed thanks for Southwestern Seminary’s gift, noting that the church did not expect to receive anything in return for their contribution to the seminary.

“This is a sacred desk,” Kim said in a later interview. “We stand behind the pulpit to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, to bring lost people to Christ, and to strengthen people to grow so they will be leaders for the next generation.”

Twenty-five years ago, Kim planted a church near the border of Berkley and Oakland, Calif., (hence the name “Berkland”) to reach university students. Today, same-named church plants are in close proximity to 20 universities around the world. In Boston, Kim estimated that half the congregation is made up of university students, and the other half are composed of young professionals, some of whom had joined the church as students when the church was founded. Kim said Berkland’s vision is to “train leaders for the 21st century,” not only by training vocational ministers but also by training professionals to minister in the secular marketplace.

Kim said that the pulpit gift will remind later generations of the relationship between Berkland and Southwestern Seminary. He described that relationship as beginning in the late 1970s when he was a student at Southwestern. Kim completed his master of divinity in 1976 and his masters of religious education in 1979. He is a 2004 recipient of Southwestern’s distinguished alumni award and the current vice-president of the seminary’s national alumni association.

“My spiritual journey was rooted at Southwestern,” he said. “I was encouraged to preach, start new churches and, in this way, to be a role model to Southern Baptist churches, leaders and denominational workers.”

Berkland’s financial contribution to the seminary came not only from the desire to help students prepare for ministry, but also out of appreciation for what the seminary had done in his own life, Kim said.

Hughes said the pulpit from Southwestern Seminary is a clear expression of the seminary’s gratitude for Berkland’s support and friendship. He hoped the pulpit will remind the congregation of Southwestern Seminary and its purpose.

“You will remember the seminary’s mission to train men and women to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to 6.5 billion people throughout the earth. You will remember its commitment to faithful preaching, to the inerrancy of the Word of God, to the scholarship that puts the Cross in the center of its focus,” he said. In thanking Dr. Kim and his wife, Rebekah, Hughes quoted 2 Timothy 4 and encouraged Kim to “preach the word” and to “do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas