The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary must prepare students not only in academics, but hardships in future ministry, said Randy Stinson in his Aug. 29 installation address.
Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr., introduced Stinson, who became senior vice president for academic administration and provost earlier in the year, thanking God for his provision and looking forward to the coming years at the seminary.
“This is a special and historic day in the life of the seminary,” Mohler said. “This is a responsibility of tremendous importance and a position that requires much stewardship of the entire seminary. As we think about how God has provided for us in the future we come with great gratitude. It’s one of those moments that needs to be solemnized in a certain way.”
Preaching from 2 Corinthians 6:1-10, where Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to commend themselves to God through endurance of trials, Stinson told students at Southern Seminary to expect and be prepared to face challenges in life and ministry.
“We’re expecting that the students who come to us will have more personal challenges, not less,” Stinson said.
Stinson, who served for eight previous years as the dean of the School of Leadership and Christian Ministry and founding dean of the School of Church Ministries, talked about young ministers who leave churches because they think that the congregation will not endure sound doctrine. He emphasized the importance of biblical expectations of pastoral leadership, and how the people accept his leadership.
“It’s all about expectations,” said Stinson. “What do you expect? It’s easy to say that they wouldn’t endure sound doctrine, but it’s hard to look in the mirror and see that they won’t endure you.”
Stinson called students and pastors to endure the difficult situations of ministry that make the temptation to run appealing. He said that pastors need to commend themselves to the people that they serve.
“The thing that will commend you to the people you are serving is how you endure in Christ with patience, kindness and love,” he said.
Life isn’t only about academics or how many people fill the church pews each week, he said. Rather, the Christian life is about living according to what they know and believe, patiently and in a godly manner.
“You’re learning things here that are important that will serve you well if you live according to what you know,” Stinson said. “Patience ruled the day for Paul.”
He said that Southern Seminary will always be vigilant about the content that is taught in the classroom because administrators want students to be prepared for ministry in a sinful world.
“I want our students to be a certain way and have a certain ministry,” he said. “There’s a type of minister of the gospel that we’re trying to create here to send out — a minister of great endurance and great expectation of trial and difficulty who will face those in God.”
Stinson called the patient endurance of trials “true grit,” but not the Hollywood, John Wayne kind.
“True grit is rooted in the eternal God and his eternal reward,” Stinson said. “What commended Paul is his endurance.”
Stinson exhorted students to endure difficult circumstances by purity.
“There’s a way to walk through challenges and hardships and that’s by living a life that is above reproach,” Stinson said.
Ministers, students and laymen will experience tests of faith and strength in life, but Stinson said God brings hardships because they are part of God’s plan to sanctify his people
“The will of God is your sanctification, or God making you more Christ-like, because there’s something on the other side of this hardship that you need to know about,” he said.
At the conclusion of Stinson’s address, Mohler presented him with a certificate and Bible commemorating his installation.
Audio and video of the service are available at sbts.edu/resources.