By: Matt Rogers
I often tell people that I came to Southeastern to get an education and fell in the love with the local church. Now, as the pastor of a local church in the upstate of South Carolina and a regular writer in areas of missions and discipleship, I find that the lessons learned through my time at Southeastern shape my ministry everyday. We are striving to find ways to leverage the resources of the church in the Southeast and serve as an aircraft carrier to get men and women out to the nations to plant churches and evangelize the lost. Though the Carolinas are fertile soil for the development of young leaders, we find it challenging to create a culture of action around missions and evangelism. The general ethos of apathy has a grip on far too many homes and churches, rendering so many passive in their efforts to declare and demonstrate the good news of Jesus. We’re praying and laboring to see that apathy replaced by zeal.
I first came to Southeastern in the summer of 2005 and received my M.Div. in 2007. I then moved back to South Carolina in order to be sent to start a church near my alma mater, Furman University. We started the church in 2009 and after four years, merged with an existing church in the city in order to expedite our mission. At that time, I started my Ph.D. at Southeastern with Dr. Bruce Ashford, which further developed my understanding of God’s mission through His church and my role in leading others in that mission. I continue to benefit from the relationships that I developed during those years and the faculty who continues to serve me to this day.
There are many areas of my past that I’d love to do over if I had the chance, but coming to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is not one of them. The Lord’s providential care for myself, my wife and our four children was vividly demonstrated through our time at SEBTS. New students should seek out one of many healthy churches in the nearby community and invest their lives deeply in the community of the church and under the care of the pastors. This vital partnership between the theological education they are receiving in the seminary and the practical outworking of that training in the local church will prepare them for whatever the Lord has for them in the future.