Published on December 17, 2021 by Kristen Padilla  
December 2021 commencement

“God has a way of interrupting our plans,” said Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, to Beeson Divinity School graduates during fall commencement and service of consecration on Dec. 10.

The first-born son of Korean immigrant parents, Kim said his parents came to the United States so that he could become a medical doctor. But God had other plans. God interrupted his parents’ and his own plans and led Kim, instead, into ministry.

“Ministry is often recognizing and responding to the interruptions of God,” he said.

Speaking from John 7:37-44, Kim said that Jesus interrupted the Jewish Festival of the Tabernacles in order to invite people to drink living water.

“Jesus interrupts to invite us to quench our thirst in him,” said Kim. “As you enter into ministry, your job is going to redirect people to respond to their true thirst.”

He continued: “You are going into the world to participate in the interruptions of God’s grace, to help people recognize their thirst and respond to it, and to carry forth leaves that are for the healing of the nations.”

Twenty-two students graduated with a Master of Divinity or Doctor of Ministry degree during the December commencement. This was Beck A. Taylor’s first commencement in which to confer degrees since becoming Samford University’s president on July 1, 2021. 

“Our foundation for today’s ceremony rests deep in the heart of the founding of Christ’s church more than 2,000 years ago,” Taylor said. “This service is rooted in the redeeming work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit poured out on all who believe, calling across the ages to all who respond to Jesus’ invitation to ‘Come, follow me.’”

Beeson Dean Douglas A. Sweeney presided over the service, providing a welcome and introductions. 

“Beeson Divinity School is a community of faith and learning," he said. "We are a graduate theological school, and we take seriously the academic part of our work. We’re also a community of prayer and worship and spiritual formation. Today we acknowledge again that one of these dimensions without the other is incomplete in preparing God-called men and women for the service of the church.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.