Published on December 12, 2018 by Kristen Padilla  

“David served the purpose of God in his generation,” Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Elijah Brown told the 31 graduates of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School during its commencement and service of consecration Dec. 7. Like David, “you can serve the purpose of God in this generation.”

“It is easy to daydream about the future,” he said. “The challenge is to recognize the constraints and the opportunities of the moment right here and right now and to address it with honesty.”

Brown, who became the general secretary of the BWA at the beginning of this year, was previously the executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Christian human rights organization in Virginia.

“[Ministry] is not for us to hold and to hoard; it is for us to tread lightly and in humility. It is to hold loosely and trust in [Jesus]. It is to recognize that even on this day of celebration it is not about us but about the glory of Jesus Christ,” he said. 

“As you graduate, as you move forward today, hold your leadership, hold your ministry, hold your opportunities with the assurance of God and with an open hand,” said Brown. “May you continue to seek the Lord as whole life disciples. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may the Lord multiply his kingdom richly and abundantly through you.”

Earlier in the service, Samford President Andrew Westmoreland welcomed the graduates and guests to Beeson Divinity’s 30th annual session and to Samford University’s 177th year. He also gave special recognition to Timothy George, founding dean of the divinity school, for his 30 years as dean and his last year in this role. 

“I would like to call our special attention to a person in the room this morning for whom we are so grateful,” Westmoreland said. “This is his final year of service as the dean of Beeson Divinity School. Later in the spring we will truly celebrate his service, but I did not want this occasion to go without official recognition and deep gratitude.”

Samford Provost Mike Hardin also saluted George for his years of service to the divinity school and Samford. 

“I’d like to offer my word of appreciation for Dean George,” he said. “It’s been such an honor to work with him and privilege to call him my friend.”

Thirty-one students graduated with degrees in Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry.

Watch Brown’s Dec. 7 commencement address.

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.