This report is more than a compilation of data — it is an important feature of our stewardship. While the life, work, and mission of Southern Seminary can never be reduced to any report or statistical analysis, we do recognize that there is a responsibility for us to look closely at markers and milestones that help us understand the blessings of God and the stewardship required of us in these times. I hope you will take the opportunity to look closely at this report. I believe you will be incredibly encouraged as you see what is happening on Southern’s campus in Louisville and, by extension, what is now reaching around the globe.
“I hope you will take the opportunity to look closely at this report. I believe you will be incredibly encouraged as you see what is happening on Southern’s campus in Louisville and, by extension, what is now reaching around the globe.”
The past year has been one of unprecedented blessing for Southern Seminary. In part, the numbers tell the story. We are experiencing the largest enrollment in the institution’s history. In the course of the last 12 months, Southern Seminary has had over 5,000 students enrolled. I am deeply humbled by the magnitude of that number and the fact that our student body includes the largest number of students studying for the pastorate gathered at any one institution at any single time in the history of the Christian church. Additionally, Boyce College continues to experience record enrollment, now with 1,200 students studying for ministry in our undergraduate programs. Above all else, this is cause for enormous thanksgiving for the blessings of God. We also thank God for the vitality of an institution, founded in 1859, that is experiencing such growth and momentum in the 21st century.
One of the most exciting developments in 2016 has been the further development of our Hispanic program. The Lord has opened an incredible door for Southern Seminary to minister all over the globe, but Southern Seminary now has even greater opportunity to make significant inroads into the Hispanic world. As part of the Hispanic Initiatives, we have been able to hire two Latino faculty members and we also now offer an entire online Master of Divinity program in Spanish.
I hope you will also consider this report an invitation. We invite you to visit the Louisville campus and gain what can only come by seeing the amazing work of God taking place in and through Southern Seminary. This report looks back not only to the last year but to over 150 years of Southern Seminary’s life and ministry. Even more urgently, it looks ahead, focusing with hope as we anticipate what God will do through Southern Seminary and its graduates in years to come.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
The addition of two influential Latino pastors to the faculty and offering all online Spanish master’s-level courses for $250 per class are key elements of a new initiative at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary designed to serve more effectively those called to ministry in the Spanish-speaking world.
Kevin Smith, assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary, was elected president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention with 71 percent of the vote on Nov. 10. Smith, who is also teaching pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, is the first African-American to serve in the KBC’s top post.
More than 60 faculty, students, and alumni of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary presented papers or participated in panels at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Nov. 17-19, in Atlanta, Georgia. Southern’s representation at the evangelical scholarly organization outpaced other institutions.
The Legacy Hotel received major renovations to the lobby and guest rooms. Finishes have been replaced from the ceiling, walls, and floors to provide an updated design concept without altering the layout and function of the existing lobby.
Southern upgraded its live-stream to high-definition video quality on YouTube allowing viewers to rewind live events. The streaming service is used for all broadcasted Southern events, including chapel, and offers accessibility on any mobile device.
A grant from the Keesee Educational Fund allowed for 10 classrooms to receive desks with outlet plugins and new media services, including Smart Boards and lecterns with touch screen computers.
September 24 – 25
October 5 – 7
October 27 – 29
Key Southern Baptist pastors, evangelical leaders, and distinguished scholars delivered messages at Southern Seminary chapel services in the 2015-16 academic year, including IMB President David Platt; Nathan Finn, dean of theology at Union University; and Bob Russell, pastor emeritus of Southeast Christian Church.Watch Chapel Messages
February 23 – 27
March 4 – 5
Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation in 1517, 10,000 attendees from 43 different countries and 20 denominations filled the KFC Yum! Center to hear preaching from the biggest names in Reformed evangelicalism for the 2016 Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Kentucky, April 12-14.
Southern Seminary also sponsored “Despierta,” a pre-conference which featured leading Latino pastors, April 11 in Louisville’s Galt House Hotel. This one-day event also included addresses from R. Albert Mohler Jr. and John MacArthur.Read More
March 18 – 19
April 26 – 27
Southern Seminary launched a new mobile app and redesigned website for R. Albert Mohler Jr. in October, offering users more convenient ways to engage with the evangelical leader’s content. Among the new features, users can now listen to and share individual segments of “The Briefing” rather than accessing a single audio file of the daily podcast.
The free Albert Mohler app is now available in the App Store (iPhone only). The app and website also feature a “News to Watch” section aggregating noteworthy articles illustrating various worldview issues.
In the past year, more than 1.6 million people visited AlbertMohler.com for the seminary president’s essays, his daily podcast “The Briefing,” and “Thinking In Public” conversations, resulting in 6.4 million pageviews.
The Spurgeon Reader is a unique collection of famed British preacher Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and articles compiled and edited by retired Southern Seminary professor and Spurgeon biographer Tom Nettles. The book includes a foreword penned by R. Albert Mohler Jr. and a substantial biographical introduction from Nettles.
The spring issue of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s alumni magazine marks a prominent transition for the publication, featuring expanded content on faculty and alumni while offering an innovative online version.
Featuring contributions from R. Albert Mohler Jr., Hershael York, Dan Dumas, and more, More Faithful Service, the latest release from SBTS Press, is a workbook meant to prepare readers for a long and faithful gospel ministry. It is available for free download.
During the 2015-16 academic year, Towers, Southern’s monthly news publication, covered a variety of topics, including reaching American’s least religious generation; Winston Churchill’s leadership; Star Wars; and technology and spiritual devotion.
The biblical worship programs for both Southern Seminary and Boyce College grew significantly from the year before. Enrollment in master’s programs at Southern Seminary grew by 86 percent and the Doctor of Educational Ministry program grew 79 percent. Meanwhile, the total enrollment in the Music and Worship Studies program at Boyce College grew more than 25 percent. Participation in choirs and the chapel orchestra also grew, with the Boyce College choir expanding 10 percent, Southern Chorale 15 percent, and the Chapel Orchestra 20 percent.
O Come, Emmanuel: An Advent Celebration, December 5, 2015, featured Southern Seminary Department of Biblical Worship, Sojourn Music, Sovereign Grace Music, and Highview Baptist Worship Ministry. The event raised over $11,000 for Scarlet Hope.
During the 2015-16 academic year, musical groups from Southern Seminary and Boyce College toured broadly, including churches, conferences, meetings, and schools across the nation.
The Norton Hall Band released the album My Hope and Stay and Grinstead released their second recording, Grinstead Hymns, after being honored with national recognition for their first recording.
During the 2015-16 academic year, leaders from Southern Seminary appeared in more than 1,400 news articles and television and radio news programs. Also, the release of R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s new book, We Cannot Be Silent, brought significant media coverage
Mohler, Southern Seminary faculty, alumni, and students were quoted in such major news outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News Channel, CNN.com, The Associated Press, The Economist, The Atlantic, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dallas Morning News, and many other newspapers. Additionally, national Christian news outlets WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Baptist Press, as well as national journals, like National Review and First Things, also regularly cite Mohler and others. In the Louisville area, major coverage of Southern Seminary has appeared in The Courier-Journal, all the local television network affiliates, as well as many local television and radio news broadcasts across the nation.
One of the first ways that students discover Southern Seminary is from hearing Mohler speak on issues of the day at a conference. Here are some of the major conferences where Mohler spoke in the past year:
June 22-25, 2015
D3 Youth Conference
Aug. 3-4, 2015
Send North America
Sept. 28-30, 2015
“The SBC and the 21st Century”
Oct. 15-16, 2015
Evangelical Homiletics Society Conference
Nov. 16–19, 2015
ETS Annual Meeting
Jan. 30-31, 2016
Summit on Biblical Sexuality
Feb. 9, 2016
Feb. 25, 2016
Ligonier National Conference
March 9-11, 2016
April 12-14, 2016
April 15, 2016
Children Desiring God
May, 17-19, 2016
The Gospel Coalition Council Colloquium
May 25, 2016
Moody Pastor’s Conference
May 26-29, 2016
Por Su Causa Conference (Dominican Republic)
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Hershael York, Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching, were among the 11-member clergy at the gubernatorial inauguration where Mohler delivered the invocation, asking God for “daily guidance and protection” for Bevin and his family.
Komatsu brothers from Hawaii, moved from thousands of miles away to Louisville, Kentucky: Rocky (B.S. in Humanities from Boyce in 2013), Trevor (B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Boyce in 2015), Christopher (Boyce student), Van Michael (SBTS M.Div. student), and Kendrick (Boyce student).
Steve Kunkel says his autism is a gift from God. The son of international missionaries, Kunkel was diagnosed with autism at an early age after he hadn’t spoken for three years. The Boyce College student now speaks seven languages and is preparing for future missionary service as a Global Studies major.
Albert Oh and his wife, Sara, moved to Louisville from New York to study in preparation for overseas missions. Because of the move, Oh said he thought he would have to give up his work as a freelance cinematographer. He looked for different jobs, but then found an opportunity to work as the cinematographer for Southern and use his gifts to tell the Southern story.
President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and formerly Southern’s dean of the School of Theology, spoke at the Driven by Truth conference March 18-19. He explained how a proper worldview is rooted in a Christian ethic. Speaking on Matthew 25:31-46, Moore said Christians may often find themselves in situations where what is right is not easy to discern. During these times, he said, Christians must strive to live ethical lives even if it does not make sense in the eyes of the world, like loving those who are ignored and overlooked by society.
If his appearance is striking to his fellow New Yorkers, Greg Thornbury’s evangelical convictions are “far out.” As the president of The King’s College in the financial district of Manhattan, Thornbury is shaping the landscape of Christian higher education as he mobilizes students to influence the sectors of nance, politics, and the arts. During his time serving under SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr., Thornbury says he learned to read gregariously in order to engage the “wisdom of the Babylonians” — alluding to Daniel 1:4. He hopes to pass that contagious love for learning to his students so “they will rise in position, stature, and leadership.”
Lowdermilk is a military chaplain who graduated with his M.Div. in Biblical Counseling from Southern Seminary in December 2012, said he recognizes a “huge” opportunity for ministry in the military. Lowdermilk says he never has to compromise his convictions as a Southern Baptist chaplain and “continually contends for the sufficiency of Scripture in counseling, preaching, and teaching.”
Lowdermilk served a deployment as an Army 1st lieutenant chaplain for the Joint Detention Group in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and is now stationed in Alaska with the Air Force.
Jamaal Williams was installed as campus pastor of Sojourn Midtown Jan. 13. One of the fastest-growing churches in the United States, Sojourn’s largest congregation is located in Louisville’s Shelby Park, a majority black neighborhood. But prior to calling Williams, Sojourn had no African-American pastors. While recognizing his preaching style, interactions with others, and personality may present challenges to some white members, Williams says he is focused on leading in such a way that Sojourn can flourish as a multiethnic display of God’s kingdom.
Generous giving through local Southern Baptist churches that participate in the Cooperative Program provided almost a quarter of the seminary’s funding, helping to speed the deployment of Southern graduates to the ends of the earth.