What SEBTS Has Taught Me

As I begin to reflect and think back on my time at Southeastern, I am not even sure where to begin. I grew so much in my faith in so many different areas and the Lord taught me so much! I loved being able to sit under some world class professors/leaders, who cared more about your relationship with the Lord than anything. These professors not only can teach you whatever is written in a text book, but each professor has years of ministry experience that they were able to apply to the classroom. What a privilege it was to be able to be a student at SEBTS.

I will never forget my first year at Southeastern. After serving for a few years on the mission field, in 2011 I felt the Lord leading me to attend seminary to become better equipped for full time ministry. I had a heart for missions and my prayer was to return to the mission field as a career missionary but, I needed to be equipped. During my first year I can remember being scared and I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had only been back off of the mission field for a month in half before jumping into school(I don’t advise this), I was dealing with reverse culture shock, and I had never studied at a Christian institution. Even though I knew this was where I needed to be I honestly wanted to quit every single day during my first year. But God had a plan! During this time at Southeastern I was reminded of two verses Deuteronomy 31:6 which states “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” and Proverbs 3:5-6 , in which God kept reminding me each day to just Trust Him. Things got a lot better as I started to form a solid community and got plugged in with serving at Southeastern as well as serving my local church.

The years I spent on campus in the classroom and with my Southeastern family were full of personal spiritual formation. Each day I was challenged with how much I did not know, but at the same time I saw God’s grace in my life. I loved being challenged to think critically about the Gospel and how it pertains to all of life. I was equipped with tools and methods so that I could study God’s word in a deeper way. I learned the importance of context when studying a passage and I learned the importance of expository preaching, how to think through a passage verse by verse, how to understand it and how to apply God’s Word to my life. I miss this!

I had the opportunity to not only be a student at Southeastern, but I also served in so many different areas and I loved being able to work and be a part of the Admissions Team (A-TEAM..Larry Lyon best boss ever!!!) for 4-5 years. . Being a apart of the Admissions staff, taught me how to serve! From scrubbing toilets and floors at the Manor House to leading numerous tours and the 20 Preview Days (I miss hearing Dr. Akins Romans 12:1-2 sermon) I had the opportunity to work, I learned a lot about how to have a servant’s heart and how to put others before myself.

My love for the local church deepened during my time at Southeastern. Every class I took at Southeastern stressed the importance of being a part of a local church body. There are things that a person will learn being a part of a local church that they will never learn in a seminary classroom. My ministry with my local church was impacted by what God was teaching me at Southeastern. I love and miss my Imago Dei church family. It was there that I learned the importance’s of church membership, the importance of community and being a part of a church family, what church discipline should look like, the importance of serving (I miss my middle school girls) and the importance of real accountability.

One of my favorite quotes is by Jim Elliot which states “ Wherever you are, be ALL there” This season of life I am learning this. I have been blessed to join the staff at Saddleback Church as a PEACE Training Director in Lake Forest, California. I have had the opportunity to travel and to help train church pastors, leaders and members, the importance of having a healthy church and how to mobilize their members to be on mission. It’s been a crazy, fun filled journey so far, but I am learning a lot, still learning to trust the Lord and leaning entirely on His grace for each day.

My time at Southeastern is ending, Lord willing I will graduate in May with my Doctorate in Education. But looking back on my time at Southeastern I am reminded of how faithful God was. My life was changed because of Southeastern, I will never forget my time here. I pray each student attending Southeastern will take their classes and studies seriously and will cherish their time at Southeastern. Remember to Go and make disciples daily living on mission in the context in which God has placed you! GO!

Mary Ann McMillan serves as a  PEACE Training Director at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest  She received her B.S. degree in Law and Criminal Justice from the University of North Georgia  and Master’s degree in Intercultural studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is currently finishing up her Doctorate in Education from SEBTS as well. She has a heart for international missions and for orphan care.

One Comment On “What SEBTS Has Taught Me”

  1. Awesome article and very well written with love and heart in every sentence. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.


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