Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Board members listen as Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Philip Roberts describes the growth of the Kansas City campus that prompted the needs for a new chapel and expanded library. SBTC pledged $200,000 to be used for the construction of the pulpit and choir loft areas of the new chapel that Midwestern hopes to begin constructing next spring.
Fifty years after the first chapel was constructed with stone quarried in Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has pledged $200,000 from surplus funds to construct the pulpit and choir loft area of the school’s new chapel.
“We took the lead to do what no other state convention probably can do at this time because of the prudence with which we’ve dealt financially [with our budget],” explained Mark Howell, chairman of the administrative committee of the SBTC executive board, in making the recommendation at the July 21 board meeting. “This is an exciting opportunity and we can be a part of it.” Howell pastors Houston Northwest Baptist Church.
Midwestern Seminary hopes to begin construction next spring for the 650-seat chapel to provide a place for corporate worship, special events and graduation ceremonies on campus. Seven consecutive years of FTE (full-time equivalents) growth and three years of total enrollment exceeding 1,000 students has rendered current facilities inadequate to meet demands.
Nearly half a million dollars has been raised thus far with additional funding from SBTC expected to help attract the interest of foundations providing matching funds to go toward the $4.05 million chapel project. The multi-use facility will also provide classroom and office space and free up the current chapel area for library expansion.
Noting the “sacrificial support and vital partnership in ministry” with SBTC, Midwestern Seminary President R. Philip Roberts thanked the board for past support in the form of chapel seating, guest room furnishings and a room in the Koehn & Myers Center for World Evangelism. “Our most carefully chosen words cannot fully express our deep gratitude for SBTC’s support and encouragement,” he said. “This will be an investment in the lives and ministries of those called of God to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
In order for the pledge to be funded, construction of the chapel must begin within 36 months. Several years ago SBTC funded $300,000 to assist with chapel construction at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. A 2001 gift to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary funded an apartment construction project with a $150,000 grant, later cleaning and repainting the units affected by Hurricane Katrina. A $200,000 grant funded the printing of Chinese Bibles through a LifeWay Christian Resources ministry known as “A Defining Moment” campaign last year.
In June board members approved a recommendation to give a $100,000 surplus funding grant to the International Mission Board to be used in connection with the deployment of IMB missionaries sidelined due to inadequate Lottie Moon Christmas Offering receipts. In their July 21 meeting members discussed revisiting the matter in November to determine whether additional funds might be granted for that purpose. The IMB is the largest beneficiary of Cooperative Program funds, regularly receiving more than a fourth of CP gifts received from SBTC churches, noted one board member.