We Are Going To London

My wife and I arrived in Raleigh 10 years ago. We were fresh out of Auburn University (War Eagle!) and ready to take the next step in of faith by studying at Southeastern Seminary.

Words cannot contain the impact that Southeastern has had on our lives, our marriage, our ministry, and our future. During my MDiv studies I met with Dr. Akin to talk through my desire to continue studying at Southeastern and he encouraged me towards the PhD program. Through the course of the following years I studied the missionary theology of British theologian Lesslie Newbigin. Studying Newbigin was the inception of this call to London, England to plant a new church.

We got here, in large part, because of a challenge that Dr. Akin would consistently put before us. From classroom settings, to chapel messages, to informal conversations, Dr. Akin would challenge me, “The question is not ‘Lord, should I go to the nations?’ The question is ‘Lord, why should I stay?’” That challenged lodged deep in my soul and I have not been able to shake it. As degree studies concluded and seven good years of ministry at Providence Baptist Church unfolded - that question still lingered.

Over the years, God has shifted the answer from, “Stay here and make disciples” to “Follow me to London to plant a church.” So, we go. We are making preparations to move our family to London in June to begin the process of learning culture and planting a church. We go with confidence that Jesus is leading us. We go with gratitude for the significant ways that God has brought us to this point through the ministry of Dr. Akin and Southeastern Seminary.

It’s difficult to estimate where we would be without these formative years in the Southeastern family. The theological training we were provided has shaped us in thousands of ways. The friendships we have created still carry to this day. The trajectory of our lives has been fundamentally changed because of the Southeastern family. We are so grateful to God for the grace that this school is to us.

We joined the Summit Network in August and are almost finished with our training. This last year has been full of travel, trainings, fundraising, and team building. God has provided for the ministry in so many ways and we are still trusting God for the final provisions necessary to see this dream become a reality. You can more about our work in London on our church website: Redeemer Queen’s Park. You can also keep up with our family’s journey on our blog: www.TheWestLondonLife.com.

This month, we are honoring Dr. Akin’s 15 years of ministry and leadership at Southeastern Seminary. If you have a story about his impact on your life please feel free to share it with us at alumni@sebts.edu and we’ll post it to the blog. Additionally, in honor of Dr. Akin, we are asking alumni and current students to contribute $15 in his honor to the For the Mission campaign by clicking here.

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Thomas West

Thomas West was born in Montgomery Alabama. After four years at Auburn University (War Eagle!) Thomas and Elizabeth made their way to Raleigh-Durham to begin studies at Southeastern Seminary. Through studying for the Mdiv and PhD, Thomas has served as the College and Discipleship Pastor at Providence Baptist Church for seven years. Now, the Wests are embarking on a new journey of church planting in London. You can follow the West family on their family blog: www.TheWestLondonLife.com