Southwestern Seminary students lead more than 130 people to Christ during fall 2022 semester
More than 130 people professed faith in Christ as 84 students enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Introduction to Missiology and Contemporary Evangelism practicums shared the Gospel almost 1,100 times during the fall 2022 academic semester, seminary leadership announced today.
“Southwestern Seminary professors offer students weekly scheduled times through ‘Everyday Evangelism’ so they can join the professors to evangelize the greater Forth Worth community in its neighborhoods, parks, and local college campuses,” said Interim Provost Matt Queen. “In addition, a number of practicum students utilize the seminary’s relationship with NeedHim Global, in order to share the Gospel over digital platforms. However, the vast majority of students’ evangelistic encounters occur by their own initiatives.”
On average each student enrolled in the practicums shared the Gospel almost 13 times during the semester, which was more than twice the number of Gospel presentations per student enrolled in the practicums during the spring 2022 academic semester.
John D. Massey, dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, associate professor of missions, and Charles F. Stanley Chair for the Advancement of Global Christianity, said the required practicums for the Introduction to Missiology and Contemporary Evangelism courses are designed to “inspire and equip students to become active witnesses for the Gospel of Christ.”
“As a Great Commandment and Great Commission seminary, SWBTS has been known for its training and equipping in evangelism and missions,” Massey added. “The Fish School has the opportunity and privilege through these practicums to mobilize and equip students from all schools in the seminary to share the Gospel of Christ under the supervision of professors who are active witnesses for Christ.”
Massey said the Introduction to Missiology practicum “is designed to give students the opportunity to share Christ cross-culturally” while the Contemporary Evangelism practicum, under the coaching and help of a professor, “requires students to share a complete Gospel presentation with 13 people throughout the course of the semester that includes a call to repent and believe in Christ.”
Professors play a crucial role in equipping students for evangelism in the classroom, but also while they are engaged in sharing the Gospel, Massey said.
“Our professors of evangelism and missions have given their lives to share the Gospel of Christ with a lost world and to equipping others to the do the same,” Massey explained. “They not only teach students the how and why of evangelism, but each one is actively sharing Christ on a weekly basis. We not only require practicums, but we go out with the students and demonstrate in real world situations how to have a Gospel conversation with the lost.”
Samuel Kampa, a Master of Divinity student from Hyderabad, India, where he has been involved in evangelism and missions for more than 20 years, was enrolled in the practicum for the Contemporary Evangelism class. Kampa, who shared the Gospel with 43 people and saw three salvations during the semester, said witnessing in the United States was a “new experience” as he had to evangelize in English and the cultural differences between Asia and America were apparent.
“At the start, I was so taken aback with the reception of people and their responses to at least hear what I was saying,” Kampa recalled. “But God helped me to adapt and use different contexts in sharing the good news of Christ. I had to prayerfully look for opportunities and timing to initiate conversation quickly and introduce Christ using different situations and contexts.”
Kampa encouraged other seminary students to “look at this practicum as the greatest opportunity to be involved in the ministry of evangelism,” adding that they would have “teaching, training, and bonding of the professors and friends” as they share the Gospel. He said students who have “not evangelized ever,” would have “nothing to fear as all these above factors would help you start and continue your journey of evangelism.”
Another student, Ying Mao*, a student from East Asia who enrolled in the practicum during the fall semester before her December 2022 graduation, said she was “very familiar” with the Great Commission in Matt. 28:18-20 and “some evangelism tools and training like Three Circles and Four Spiritual Laws” but wondered “how often and where I should go to witness.”
Mao, who shared the Gospel 64 times and saw two salvations during the semester, challenged herself to “witness in a park for one hour a week by using a one-verse evangelize card.” She explained she consistently went to the park which allowed her to have multiple conversations with the same individuals, including one man who was Jewish who “believed in the Law rather than the Gospel.” Mao began to pray for the man and on a subsequent visit with him, she read the Old Testament passage from Micah 7:18-19 to him.
“I told him that God has compassion on us and will not remember our sins when we put our faith in Jesus,” Mao recalled. “He said, ‘Amen, Amen! This is from Torah!’”
“I was just going to check off a seminary assignment to share the gospel with 12 people,” Mao concluded. “I was thinking ‘it is an easy assignment for me because I enjoy knowing people.’ However, I realized that my goal is not to check off a task but to continue a task that has already been assigned to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Noting that the Fish School has maintained records of student evangelism engagement through the practicums since 2008, Queen said there are three reasons the Fish School tallies the statistics.
“We have done so, first of all, to visualize, in tangible form, the amazing ways the Lord has used the intentional, evangelistic witness of Southwestern Seminary students,” Queen said. “Second, we preserve semester evangelism reports to evaluate and assess any observable, evangelistic patterns and rhythms of our students for institutional purposes. Last, the accumulation of these numbers are in keeping with the historic precedent, established by the first ‘Chair of Fire,’ L.R. Scarborough, of recording the student population’s evangelistic activity.”
Queen is the current occupant of the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (“Chair of Fire”), named after the seminary’s second president. The chair was the first academic chair of evangelism in the history of theological education.
Massey explained while the local church is the center for the “Great Commission and advancing the Gospel of Christ is the heart of the Great Commission and the highest expression of the Great Commandment” the Fish School curriculum seeks to “train students in how practically to share the Gospel and lead the churches they will serve to the do the same.”
Both practicums “practically equip students to know how to effectively and biblically share the Gospel of Christ with the lost in obedience to the Great Commission and to mobilize the church to do the same,” Massey observed.
The Introduction to Missiology and Contemporary Evangelism courses will be offered during the spring 2023 semester, which begins Jan. 17.
More information about admission for the spring 2023 academic semester can be found here.
*Name changed for security reasons.