Three days of activities, orientations, introductions, and fun and games filled the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College official kickoff of the new academic year with New Student Orientation, August 10-12, as new students prepared for the new academic year on Seminary Hill.
“Prepare yourselves, not just for all the Lord is going to do, but also prepare yourselves for all the evils,” President Adam W. Greenway told new students and their families during the presidential dinner held as part of the three days of orientation. “You are not just entering into an educational experience, but you are entering into spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, the enemy is alive and well. He is always looking to see who he can take out.”
Greenway further encouraged the new students not to “neglect the priority of personal and corporate worship” as he reminded the students they should “not allow the enemy to convince you that it is okay to fill your head but empty your heart.”
In addition to hearing from Greenway, new students met with professors and fellow students, were assisted in moving in by members of the institution’s Student Life team, and enjoyed fellowship opportunities through meals, an ice cream social, and campus-wide recreational events and block party.
M. Todd Bates, dean of TBC, told new students they “have chosen well” as he welcomed the undergraduate and graduate students from across the country and around the world. Reminding the new TBC students of the college’s distinctives, Bates said, “Everything is Christ-centered, everything is Scripture-driven, and we are student-focused.”
New students have enrolled in both Southwestern Seminary and TBC from a variety of locations and on a variety of paths along the journey.
“We did not know Southwestern was even a thing,” said Christian Betts, a new Master of Divinity student from Montana, who relocated to Dallas with his wife, Torri. The Betts learned about Southwestern Seminary from Torri’s uncle. “This was just outside of anything we even thought of or planned. Jordan Young in admissions did the campus tour and helped me sign up for classes. Just the time we spent here, we immediately felt that this is where we should be.”
Scott and Kim Miller from Belton, Texas, said their daughter, Annalysse, chose to pursue a Bachelor of Music in worship studies degree at Texas Baptist College after a retreat two years ago, where she met some of the faculty. “She has come to visit three or four times since and said God has called her here specifically,” Kim said.
As parents, Scott added he and his wife noticed that as they “encountered” people in different departments across the campus, “the central focus was the Word and Christ, and then whatever they are choosing to do. It was put into every conversation, every class.”
Gary Ferris is a new student enrolled in the 5-year program, which allows him to earn his undergraduate and Master of Divinity degrees simultaneously. Since he and his wife, Samie, have three small children, he is glad about getting both degrees quickly. “I have a lot of friends who graduated from here and recommended this school to me. As a young man aspiring for the ministry, I felt Southwestern and TBC is the school for me.” Gary has served most recently as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in New Home, Texas, just south of Lubbock.
José Santiago*, a Master of Theological Studies student, and his wife, Christina*, are originally from Central America. They chose Southwestern because it is near their newly formed church in the North Texas area, where he serves on staff. They just finished their Optional Practical Training and “we were praying about what is the next step,” she said. “God guided us to study here to study for our master’s degree so we can continue preparing ourselves for the ministry. And if God wills, long-term, we want to be missionaries in the Middle East.”
From various representatives, students also learned about the different departments on campus, including the Campus Police, Campus Technology, Campus Medical Clinic, Center for Writing Excellence, A. Webb Roberts Library, the Registrar’s Office, Campus Housing, financial services, and human resources.
Southwestern Seminary and TBC concluded New Student Orientation on Friday night with a campus-wide church fair and block party that included bounce houses, food trucks, and representatives from various churches.
Southwestern Seminary and TBC begin the fall academic semester on August 15.
*Names changed for security reasons.