Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Dedicates New Mathena Student Center

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated a landmark in its history with the dedication of the new Mathena Student Center in conjunction with the fall trustee meeting Oct. 15-16 at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

The meeting’s highlights came on Tuesday in opening the 40,000-square-foot student center named for Harold and Patricia Mathena who provided a $7 million lead gift for the facility.

Trustees also elected T. Dale Johnson as associate professor of biblical counseling, and MBTS President Jason Allen reported another record enrollment at the seminary.

Mathena Student Center dedication

Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary, and his wife Karen, along with Harold and Patricia Mathena and their children, cut the ribbon during the dedication ceremony of the Mathena Student Center on the Kansas City, Mo., campus Oct. 16.

The dedication of the Mathena Student Center included a chapel service, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours for students, faculty and guests. Immediately after its opening, the Midwestern community began using its services.

During the chapel service, Allen referred to the day as one when it would be easy for man to take all the glory, but after sharing the story of all the steps leading up to this day, it was only God’s providence that could be given as a reason.

“This special day in the life of Midwestern Seminary, Oct. 16, 2018, is about the Lord,” Allen said. “It is about His work, His faithfulness, His growth. In all of this we say, ‘This is the day that the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it’ (Psalm 118:24).

“We receive in Scripture the challenge that is etched prominently inside the new building,” Allen continued, “and that is the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20. We fail here if this building isn’t about training servants for the Great Commission.”

Allen then recognized a number of key contributors to the project, including some who had given financially and some who had given sacrificially in terms of their contribution to the seminary community.

The Tomlinson Café, Allen noted, is named after recently-retired professor of New Testament and Greek Alan Tomlinson, and the Knapp children’s area is named after former student Micah Knapp, who provided childcare services on campus before being killed in an automobile accident in 2017.

Of the Mathenas, Allen said, “To know these people is not simply to know people with great resources and with great generosity. It is to know the sweetest Christian family you could meet. I mean this before the Lord, if they had not given a penny to this seminary, I would be privileged to call them friends.

“They pray for us; they encourage us; their heart for the Gospel is evident. It outshines literally their generosity for this institution. I could be president here 30 years and never find such a family who could … make the type of contribution to enable us to have a student center. We are truly blessed that the Lord providentially connected our paths.”

During the service, Harold Mathena preached from Joshua 4, referencing the memorial stones the Israelites placed in Gilgal to mark their crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. Of this significant occasion, Mathena said he sees similarities between then and a new era that has dawned at Midwestern Seminary. He added that the new student center is one of those markers for the entire world to see God’s glory and all He has done on the Kansas City campus over the past six years.

“These stones here [at the student center], we are going to commemorate them in recognition of the miracle that has come about in this place,” Mathena said.

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Source: Baptist Press