FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – President Paige Patterson challenged graduates never to forget their calling and never to lose their vision of the exalted and holy God during the spring commencement service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, May 4.
If graduates do this, Patterson said, the trials and pain of ministry will be small compared to the victories that they will see throughout people’s lives. He reminded graduates that, in ministry, they will stand alongside people through all of life’s changes.
“You will be there at every critical juncture of life,” Patterson said. “You are there—the man, the woman of God—to bring the message of God that the world so desperately needs to hear.”
During its commencement ceremony, Southwestern Seminary awarded 206 graduates with diplomas, including 22 bachelor’s degrees and 170 master’s degrees. Additionally, 14 students received professional and research doctoral degrees.
Sarah Bubar, who received here Master of Divinity with a concentration in women’s studies, said her time at Southwestern Seminary will be very beneficial for her future ministry. She will soon move to Hudson, Fla., to serve as Dean of Women at Word of Life Bible Institute.
“I know that Southwestern has prepared me for this ministry, and I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to serve,” Bubar said. “I feel the seminary has changed me, made me better equipped for future ministry, even more than I realized I needed when I first arrived on campus four years ago. It has pushed me academically, challenged me spiritually, and guided me vocationally, and I was able to make the best friends in the process of it all.”
While working on her degree, Bubar helped create, which she called an “online resource for women.” On this website, Bubar and other women’s ministry students wrote about gender issues and about how women “are to relate to God, each other, and the world around us.”
Trey Thames, who received his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary in 1999, was awarded with his Master of Arts in Archaeology and Biblical Studies degree.
“My studies have equipped me to understand the archaeological data and how to communicate its significance to brothers and sisters in Christ sitting in the pew,” Thames said. “I have learned that faith and scholarship, especially in an area of scientific inquiry like archaeology, are not mutually exclusive. The Bible … does not have to be pitted against the archaeological record, nor theologians against archaeologists.”
With degrees in both ministry and archaeology, Thames hopes to serve the church while also teaching and working in the field of biblical archaeology. He has already begun courses in pursuit of his Ph.D. in Archaeology and Biblical Studies at Southwestern. In 2008 and 2011, Thames participated in Southwestern Seminary’s excavations in Tel Gezer, Israel, and he will work at Southwestern’s excavation in Kourion, Cyprus, this summer.
Additionally, Thames has taken the lead role in constructing an interactive, educational dig site on campus in conjunction with Southwestern’s Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible exhibition, which begins this July. Elementary, junior high and high school students, as well as adults, who come to the exhibition can pick up a spade and learn how archaeologists uncover the past through this interactive replica of Qumran, the ancient site inhabited by the Jewish sect that likely preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Since its founding in 1908, more than 42,000 students have graduated from Southwestern Seminary and the College at Southwestern, each of them trained and challenged to proclaim God’s Word in local churches and around the world.