Southwestern graduates recount God’s faithfulness and lessons learned
At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduation is a time to commission students to go to the ends of the earth in obedience to Christ’s command to preach the Gospel to all nations. But for many of the graduates who received degrees on May 9, it was also a time for reflecting on the lessons they learned during their time at Southwestern.
Brent Roberts, a Master of Arts in Christian Education graduate, said “I can look at every class I have taken and say, ‘That’s what I was supposed to learn here.” In professor Malcolm Yarnell’s systematic theology class, for example, he learned that “the Bible has to be the center of your theology.” In professor Richard Ross’s student ministry classes, he was reminded of the importance of a daily relationship with Christ, and he saw this devotional lifestyle modeled in the Ross’s life.
Roberts and his family came to Southwestern in the spring of 2006. Now that he has completed his degree, Roberts, his wife Corrie, and his daughter Brendle, are moving to Hot Springs, Ark., where he will serve at the First Baptist Church as a minister to children and their families.
Graduation is “bittersweet,” he said. “It is a good feeling to be done, to finish what you started a long time ago. And it is exciting to see God’s hand placing you where He wants you. On the other hand, it is bitter because you have created so many memories here.”
Another graduate, Lauren Johnson, came to Southwestern not fully knowing what to expect, but she never anticipated being a wife and a mother when she graduated. Johnson, who received a Master of Divinity with a concentration in women’s studies, and her husband Chris, a Ph.D. student in preaching, are expecting the birth of their second son, Gabriel, in less than ten weeks.
Aside from meeting Chris on campus, Johnson’s favorite memory at Southwestern is writing the commentary portion on Numbers and the second half of Genesis for the Women’s Evangelical Library’s Old Testament Commentary. “This was such an honor,” Johnson said. “The fact that Mrs. Patterson had faith in me to do this is still incredible to me.” Johnson was pregnant with her son Elijah while working on the project, so she laughs while recalling her “feet propped up, in front of the computer, surrounded by books and de-caffeinated tea.”
Having graduated, Johnson plans to concentrate on her family and continue preparing to minister to women and families in the church God calls Chris to pastor. Eventually, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in theology or church history so that she might be able to teach women at the seminary level.
Brent Colee, a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities graduate, said his college experience has given him “a love for reading, a desire to never stop learning, and some amazing friendships with men of God.” Colee was part of the first graduating class from the College at Southwestern. In the coming months, Colee intends to continue working with the strength-based ministry, Team Impact. Colee’s wife, Marianne, expressed excitement about this ministry opportunity, knowing it is where God has placed her husband.
To see video highlights of the centennial spring graduation, visit www.swbts.edu/2008SpGrad.