on Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Alumni and Friends Luncheon chronicled and celebrated a history of missions at the institution, while also renewing their continued desire to prepare their students to fulfill the great commission.   

The luncheon, held Wednesday, June 12, at the SBC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, featured a variety of alumni and faculty speaking about the historic work the seminary has done training and sending Southern Baptist missionaries.  

The event, attended by nearly 800, featured a conversation between Jamie Dew, president of NOBTS and Leavell College, and International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood.  

Dew said before accepting his position as president five years ago, God was already preparing and returning his heart towards missions.  

“In the years that led up to that (becoming president), God had sort of prepared my heart and conditioned me,” Dew said. “There was a lot of renewing work that the Lord was doing in my heart. There was a time a while back in my life where it mattered a lot to me that I had become something academically. Through a long process of events, the Lord had just done a work to really break that. 

“Really in the months leading up ... the Lord had done a work where the desire was to spend my life, in whatever capacity the Lord was going to give us, to give us the ability to shape eternity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And to see as many people as possible, both here and abroad come to faith, because at the end of the day that’s what matters. 

“I saw that if we really were going to do something for the great commission, if we were going to train the next generation of missionaries, that there was no better place on planet Earth to do that than the city of New Orleans. And there was no better institution to do that in than NOBTS. But I knew it would take everything I had, and I knew it would take everything my team had and I knew it would take everything our people had.” 

Dew expressed his gratitude toward Chitwood for the work of the IMB and doubled down on his desire to partner with the entity moving forward.  

“I came to you early on and said, ‘help me help you,’” Dew said. “Help us re-crank the missiological engine that is NOBTS and Leavell College so that we can become a pipeline for you. I just want you to know as we’re gathered together we renew that desire with you. Quite frankly, I think that Southern Baptists want to see our entities work together as best we can, because we’re on the same team trying to go after the same mission.” 

Chitwood then thanked Dew for the seminary’s intentional partnership.  

“I hear a lot of people ask, what can we do for the IMB, what can we do with the IMB?” Chitwood said.  

“I thank God for everyone who brings a question like that, but I see few people who follow through on that with intentionality, the conviction, the energy, and the effort that I’ve seen from you personally Dr. Dew, from your family and your NOBTS family.  

“It’s been an incredibly encouraging thing for me to see an institution with a culture that is being so transformed by the heart of a leader who has a heart for the nations and wants that to be the focus. We just praise God for that he is doing in New Orleans.” 

Other speakers at the event included Chris Shaffer, associate vice president for institutional strategy and chief of staff; Stephanie Lyon, Women’s Life Coordinator at NOBTS and Leavell College; and Greg Mathias, associate professor of global missions and director of the seminary’s Global Missions Center.  

Dew closed out the ceremony by praying for a group of missionaries that were commissioned by the IMB earlier in the week, telling Chitwood “you keep sending them, we’re going to keep training them and let’s keep working together.”