As a student of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) since 2008, I’ve spent eight years living on campus. We moved away in 2017. Recently, I got to spend two weeks on campus. There are five big changes on campus worth noting:
- The Student Center
- Scarborough College
- Chapel Services
- Roberts Library
- The Amazing Faculty
From 2008 to present I’ve seen Naylor student center go from Victorian formalism to an African Safari. Now it feels, well, like a student center. The student lounge is no longer aiming for museum chic; instead, students spend hours enjoying one another’s company there. The café is a constant hub and even features Pac-man, ping-pong, and ski-ball for the students. In just two weeks, I saw more students mulling about, laughing, and enjoying the Naylor center than I’ve seen in years.
I have always thought Scarborough college is great. It provides a top-notch education: students from my youth ministry have gone on to study in the college and have transformed into scholars. There is now a strong student life presence on campus. While my Michigan State University blood rejects blue and gold outright, anyone can see the students now sporting Scarborough College swag are enjoying being a part of the college. Although, if the rumors of forming official sports teams turn out to be true, I may have to retire my ‘undefeated since 1908’ t-shirt.
The new format for chapel is impressive. The order is geared toward the reading of God’s Word. Each service begins with the public reading; music leaders, guest speakers, and even the President are slated to read God’s word to the student body. This speaks to the high prestige the school places on the inspired Word of God. This format alone is reason enough to be excited about the future of SWBTS. Everyone attending cannot help but notice the Word of God is on the lips of the faculty.
I went to Seminary Hill to spend two weeks researching and writing my dissertation. The librarians and library staff were amazing. They compiled research, prepared a place for me to study, and continued to provide encouragement (and even extra research) for two weeks. If you want to spend time in a quality theological library staffed by godly disciples who work toward your success, study at SWBTS.
Always save the best for last; and the SWBTS faculty is one of the best. The heart of SWBTS faculty is for students and ministry. Prior to arriving on campus, I sent out a slew of emails to SWBTS faculty asking if we could get lunch. Every single email was answered in the affirmative. Despite the end of the semester, the rush for grading, and various projects, every professor took some measure of time to meet with me. Even SWBTS President Adam Greenway stopped me at chapel to ask how I was doing and to encourage my research. You cannot doubt the heart behind Dr. Greenway’s vision; SWBTS is for her students.
I’m aware that not all the changes feel positive to everyone. The vibrancy of life isn’t without its aches and growing pains. But that’s what I see at SWBTS—vibrant life. A fresh breeze of excitement, a campus which loves and mentors students, and a leadership team with God’s Word on its heart—who could ask for a better time to support SWBTS? Her future is bright. Her Savior is on the move. Now is the best time to support The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pastor Summerville First Baptist, married to Danielle, father of five, PhD student @SWBTS, MDiv SWBTS 2012, BA Theatre OSU