As a seminarian I have learned a lot about Baptist heritage. Having been a daughter of a Baptist minister, I was amazed at all the things I didn’t know about Baptists. I was fascinated to learn how all throughout history, Baptists have multiplied by dividing. Each generation of Baptists have had different concerns and interests ranging from slavery all the way to female ministers. So what are the interests of young Baptists today?
Young Baptists today aren’t interested in talking about God and the problems of the world, but in experiencing God personally and getting their hands dirty helping others. In January 2008 a diverse group of Baptists came together at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, not to talk about theological differences, but to address how we as Christians can carry out the mandate in Luke 4 to help the poor and oppressed.
At the Covenant Celebration, Baptist seminarians from 17 different seminaries participated in a program that allowed students to discuss what it means to be a Baptist and how we as future ministers can help carry out the Luke 4 mandate. Many of the students expressed how, together, we can make a difference in this world. As a result of the unique experience of the diverse group of Baptist seminarians coming together, the Baptist Theological Student Network was formed to continue to bring Baptist seminarians together for unity, fellowship, missions, and education.
The Baptist Theological Student Network (BTSN) is hosting a spring conference March 26-28, 2009 at Mercer University’s campus in Atlanta. There Baptist seminarians from across the nation will focus on Matthew 25 and discuss ways to minister to “the least of these,” and will get their hands dirty participating in mission projects around Atlanta helping “the least of these.”
It is my hope that the conference will get the next generation of Baptist ministers to not focus on our differences, but to work together for the Kingdom. Hopefully through BTSN, relationships will be forged that little by little can help change the world.
BTSN website: www2.mercer.edu/Theology/Events/BTSN