“You are welcome home,” President Adam W. Greenway told The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary alumni and friends at the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), Nov. 18, in Waco. 

“I want you to know that our right hand of fellowship is extended to you,” he continued, assuring listeners that Southwestern Seminary is “going to be finding ways to cooperate rather than separate.” 

“Because, candidly,” he said, “the urgency of the moment we find ourselves in demands that we come together now, unlike any time in our past. Because, candidly, the challenges we face are unlike anything we’ve ever faced in our past. We don’t have time to figure out and to fuss about and to fight over the stupid stuff. We just don’t. It’s time for us to be found faithful, that the Lord might make us fruitful for His Kingdom’s service.”

In addition to Greenway’s address, alumni officers were elected: Ryan Buck, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Mason, as president; Garet Robinson, pastor of adult ministries at University Baptist Church in Houston, as vice president; and Jason Martin, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Port Neches, as secretary. As Buck explained, these elections signified the formalization of this alumni gathering, and the officers will work with the seminary and promote this annual event in the coming years. 

During his address, Greenway acknowledged that, particularly in the last 25 years, the relationship between Southwestern Seminary and the BGCT has been strained, and that deep wounds exist. 

“When Southwestern Seminary and Texas Baptists are at our best, the bonds are indissoluble,” he said. “When we’re not at our best, the wounds go far, far, far deeper.”

But Greenway urged the seminary and the convention to unite for the mission of reaching Texas with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

“We’re about doing everything we can to make it as impossible, humanly speaking, for anybody to die in Texas and go into a Christ-less eternity,” Greenway said. “There are millions of people in Texas who care little about the things that we can fuss, fight, and fixate over; they need to hear God loves them, Christ died for them, and if they will turn from their sin and trust Jesus, they will be saved. And if they don’t hear it from us, who are they going to hear it from?”

Greenway further shared that, at Southwestern Seminary, “it is a new day, and we’re charting a new course.” This “new course,” he explained, is a return to the founding vision of B.H. Carroll, which Greenway has termed the “big-tent” vision, built on the four pegs of a high view Scripture, confessional fidelity, the Great Commission, and cooperation. 

“I realize that we have not always lived up to the promise and the potential of what ought to characterize what I believe is the crown jewel seminary of Southern Baptists,” Greenway said. “I want you to hear from the bottom of my heart, for any way in which we have failed, I am sorry. I wish I could change the past; I can’t. I wish I could undo some things; I can’t. But since Feb. 27 of this year, as the ninth president of the seminary, I and our administration have been working very diligently to set right what’s been left undone.”

In the spirit of the fourth peg of cooperation, Greenway asked alumni and friends at the luncheon to pray for Southwestern Seminary and to reach out when questions arise concerning happenings at the institution. 

“It’s important to me to do what I can to say, ‘Southwestern Seminary is here, and we care,’” Greenway said. “More than that, I pray that we will once again earn your trust and your respect and be the place where you will feel comfortable and confident that, as God raises up men and women under your ministry influence who are thinking about theological education, you’d be able to say to them, ‘You need to come to my seminary—to Southwestern Seminary. Come home to the dome.’”

The luncheon also featured a word from Jonathan Howe, vice president of communications for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. He thanked those gathered for their giving to the Cooperative Program, noting that, historically, Texas Baptists have contributed more than $2.5 billion to SBC missions and ministries. 

“What you do, what I do, what this convention does, what Baptist Press does, what Dr. Greenway does at Southwestern—none of it would be possible without you and the gifts that you give to the Cooperative Program, and we thank you for that,” Howe said.