KANSAS CITY – Beginning a new semester of training students to better serve the local church, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) administrators received encouraging news Feb. 11 that more students have enrolled in classes this spring semester than any other in the school’s 56-year history.
Enrollment for classes at Midwestern is up 3 percent over the school’s previous top enrollment. With the school’s online program still having a second term of enrollment upcoming, Midwestern officials anticipate a potential growth of more than 5 percent over the previous spring semester record.
Jason K. Allen, Midwestern’s president, said this favorable news is reason to give God glory for His workings at the institution.
“There are many ways to assess the Lord’s blessing on a church or Christian entity,” he said. “One relevant way certainly is those in whom the Lord is calling to participate.
The Lord blessing us with such a strong record of spring enrollment is one of many signs of God’s evident favor on Midwestern Seminary. Furthermore, I think it is an appropriate indicator of the future; and therefore, we here are approaching this season ahead with a great sense of optimism of what the Lord is doing.”
The school’s leader further attributed the enrollment spike to several key factors – the first being the Southern Baptist community’s confidence in the mission of Midwestern.
“They are looking to Kansas City and seeing a seminary that in every discernible way merits churches, pastors and prospective students to look to this institution for theological training,” he said.
Other key factors Allen noted include a confidence in the strength of the school’s faculty and the renewed emphasis the school’s Student Development Office has placed on recruitment and retention of students.
David M. McAlpin, Midwestern’s vice president for Student Development, attributed the enrollment upswing to a recruiting methodology shift as well as teamwork and a determined effort by the recruiting staff.
“Our recruiting and admissions team worked tirelessly throughout the previous semester, and especially coming down the stretch into spring semester enrollment time,” McAlpin said. “We focused on face-to-face interaction with prospective students as much as possible, but followed up with phone calls, emails and texts in the days leading up to enrollment.”
He noted the school’s recruiting team did an excellent job of jelling together, supporting and challenging one another, and that this effort made a significant impact on the overall enrollment success.
Allen said increased enrollment affords greater opportunities for the school to provide more educational options.
“At the practical level, a growing enrollment broadens the institution’s Kingdom footprint; and operationally-speaking, it enables us to undertake new initiatives and develop new programs that can be mixed in with our whole portfolio of ministry preparation as we add students who will take those classes,” Allen said.
He added that the main way for the institution to carry out its mission of serving the local church to its fullest extent is to continue to grow and train students for ministry.
“The bottom line is the more students the churches send to us, the more graduates we can send to the churches,” Allen said. “We are bringing a laser-like focus on serving the local church; therefore, we are determined to graduate students that have a passion, heart and have the equipment to serve the local church as pastors, ministers and evangelists.”