By: Brian Self
I am currently serving as the senior pastor of Sargent Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia. My wife and I moved here in June 2014 after I served for eight years at a church in Garner, North Carolina as the associate pastor. Sargent is a revitalization work. After experiencing years of numerical growth it slipped into deep decline that almost closed the doors of the church. One praise is that over the past three years of ministry here, we have seen the congregation grow in their knowledge of God and a desire to see his kingdom expand here and globally. We are seeing renewed focus on the mission of God and a desire to make the necessary changes to be faithful to God’s mission. I would ask others to join us in prayer for four major areas we as a pastoral staff pay for: First, that God would dispel our unbelief with his majesty and glory. We need to see God for who he is in the Scriptures so that we can move forward with confidence that he is able to do far more than we can ask or perceive. Second, that God would save people through the ministry of Sargent Baptist Church. We desire to not only have a deep, gospel burden for lost people but that God would give us the privilege of reaping the harvest in our area and around the globe. Third, that God would continue to grow and mature the believers who are here. Sargent has never had consistent expositional preaching and teaching so we are praying that God would use this to grow his people in their knowledge of him more. Fourth, we are praying that God would bring people to Sargent who understand this is a revitalization work and are willing to partner with us in the work of revitalization and reform. We are seeing God slowly answer these prayers and we are praying he will continue to do so for years to come.
I would encourage future students of Southeastern in two ways: First, treasure your time in seminary. Do not rush through your classes just so you can earn a degree. For me personally, seminary was more an intense time of discipleship that just happened to be academic as well. To borrow an illustration from Jason Duesing, I entered seminary as a crumpled piece of paper that God ironed out over the course of time at Southeastern. I am forever grateful for the men who poured themselves into me in classes and private discussions. So treasure the time. Second, be completely open to whatever the Lord directs you to do during seminary. Do not think you will leave seminary with the same ministry goals when you entered. God will change those and God will possibly change the direction you thought you might go in. Let God be God. Your task is to be a faithful follower wherever he leads.