Published on April 17, 2024 by Dakota Rice  

Each year, the Global Center in Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School hosts World Christianity Focus Week, which emphasizes Christian missions and ministry efforts around the world. This year’s guest preacher and lecturer for World Christianity Focus Week was Timothy Tennent, president of Asbury Theological Seminary and professor of World Christianity.

Tennent preached in Beeson’s weekly chapel on Matthew 28:18-20 with a sermon titled, “Seizing the Momentum of the Great Commission”. Sermons on this text are saturated in the minds of those who grew up in the local church as a charge to make disciples, but Tennent brought in a perspective of global redemption.

“It’s Matthew who talks about the flight to Egypt,” said Tennent. “Which is such a remarkable story, not only theologically because Jesus recreates the exodus by coming out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1), but from a point of view of the globe and world Christianity, it is a wonderful redemptive story for Egypt. Because Egypt, who of course was known for being the oppressors of God’s people, now receives grace and becomes the protector of the Messiah. It’s a great picture of the redemption and reconciliation of the nations.”

World Christianity Focus Week also hosts a Global Voices lecture, this year focused on how theology can shape the local church. The lecture was titled, “Theology and the Global Church: The Rediscovery of Theological Translatability.” Tennent spoke about the cultural translatability of the gospel message, starting in Scripture itself. 

Tennent explained how Acts 15 displays evident translatability of the Gospel message from the Jews to the Greeks. Moving to more modern times, Tennent explained that the average Christian in the world has moved from being a later-40s white male to be younger, more female and more African. The Gospel transcends gender, country, generation or color.

Timothy Tennent speaks during his Global Voices lecture during World Christianity Focus Week.

Tennent also appeared as a guest on the Beeson Divinity Podcast, when he was interviewed by Dean Douglas Sweeney. Tennent walked through his upbringing and what prompted his interest in theological education and, eventually, concentrating his study in world Christianity. This conversation can serve as an encouragement to those currently studying theology who may have an interest in local or foreign missions as a vocation.

Beeson Divinity School is honored to have hosted Tennent this year, as his knowledge and missions experience are incredibly valuable for students who are committed to the spreading of the gospel across the world.

In addition to hosting World Christianity Focus Week and several other events throughout the year, the Global Center wrapped up exciting new renovations that allow visitors to “step into the story” of God’s saving work.

Beginning in the hallway outside the center and continuing into the center, the new additions honor Martha Myers, a Samford graduate who was martyred while serving as a missionary in Yemen in 2002. From there, they tell a biblical narrative of God’s heart for the nations, displays a timeline of missions history and ends with a new creation mural based on Revelation 21 and 22.

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.