In a recent press release, Baylor University announced a tuition increase in both their undergraduate and graduate programs. According to the release, “Tuition for George W. Truett Theological Seminary students will increase by 6.31 percent…” While the release claims that Baylor remains competitively priced even with the tuition increase, for those who enjoy the benefit of the SBC Cooperative program, Baylor’s tuition is about as competitive as their football team.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and other Southern Baptist Seminaries have a much different expectation and purpose than some theological training grounds. I believe seminary should not be a place providing young professionals with another piece of paper to guarantee success upon their chosen career. I believe seminary should not be a place to train erudite scholars who get lost in the echo chamber of their own ivory tower.
A proper seminary is a training ground for local church pastors, ministers for a variety of purposes, and missionaries to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Why does tuition matter so much to this perspective? Well, a person paying $20,000 a year for tuition and accumulating debt along the way will not be able to go to a small country church and faithfully serve the Lord. Additionally, the International Mission Board will not send missionaries with extensive debt to the field. As a result, tuition at our seminaries must remain low in order to serve our primary purpose. This is no easy task though. What makes it all possible? I am glad you asked.
Southern Baptists have been partnering together since 1925 in an endeavor known as the Cooperative Program, in which local Southern Baptist churches contribute money to support the proclaiming the gospel, whether it be through funding theological education, or funding missionaries both at home and abroad. Because of the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists are able to offer future Southern Baptist pastors and missionaries theological education at a price that will not bury them in debt for the remainder of their lives. This is but one reason that I am proud to be a part of the SBC.
For more information on how the Cooperative Program serves the local churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, read this press release written by Keith Collier, a direct benefactor of the Cooperative Program. In the end, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to maximize your ministry and minimize your debt. This allows you the freedom to go to that small country church or to the ends of the earth because everyone needs to hear the Gospel.