Throughout the fall 2017 semester, students in Southwestern Seminary’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs had the unique opportunity to learn from the experience and wisdom of their professors outside the traditional academic context. In the new program called the Legacy Leadership Track, students met with a group once a month to discuss life, ministry and leadership as professors guided them to further cultivate spiritual growth and leadership development.

Reflecting on the opportunity to lead such a group of students, Associate Professor of Evangelism Matt Queen noted the value of a designated time to invest in students and challenge them in their faith through prayer and discussion. “Each time I met with my Legacy Leadership group this semester, I did so with great humility and joy,” Queen says. “Humility because I shared some personal mistakes that I wanted to prevent the men I mentored from making, but great joy to be with some of God’s choice servants and hear how He is working through them.”

One of Queen’s students, Master of Divinity student Nirintsoa Mamitiana, says he especially valued the practical tools and wisdom he gained when Queen led their group in evangelism. “It is a great privilege for me to have a professor who is willing to go an extra mile with you, sharing his experience, passion and zeal for God, and leading you the way you should walk,” he says. “Every student needs this kind of legacy and to pass it on to others when they are out there in ministry.”

Katie McCoy, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies, says the Legacy Leadership Track created a unique space for women to build new friendships, but also to challenge one another in their pursuit of Christ in the midst of a busy academic schedule. Master of Arts student Jennifer Cowlishaw says the monthly gatherings with McCoy and other students were encouraging amidst the pressures of school and life.

“I hope to one day become a professor, so talking with someone who recently accomplished that was encouraging,” she says. “It was beneficial in all aspects because I was comforted that my goals can be accomplished.”

McCoy says she herself benefited from the influence of mentors who guided her own faith and ministry work. “When I recall my own experience as a seminary student, the greatest impact on my education came from the people who invested in me, not just the information I learned,” McCoy says. “Learning how to create and cultivate meaningful connections with other followers of Christ is just as vital to our future Kingdom impact as any of the academic subjects we study.”

The discipleship opportunity is available to all students who have completed the two Spiritual Formation courses, or “Virtues of Godly Character and Christian Life.” The Legacy Leadership Track will resume in February for the spring 2018 semester. For more information regarding registration, contact the office of Student Life at StudentLife@swbts.edu.