Danny Akin Celebrates 20 Years as President of Southeastern Seminary

Twenty years ago today, Southeastern unanimously elected Daniel L. Akin as its sixth president, recognizing God’s providence in directing Danny and his wife Charlotte to Southeastern. Now in his twentieth year, Akin has distinguished himself as a humble leader with an unwavering commitment to God’s word and a singular focus on fulfilling the Great Commission.

In his president’s report to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) last year, Akin, opened with a quotation from Psalm 126:3, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad” (ESV). Reflecting on God’s favor and the expanding impact of Southeastern Seminary, Akin remarked what a joy it has been to train and mobilize students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission around the world.

As a joyful, missional leader, Akin has been committed to the task of missional theological education since his first stint at Southeastern as assistant professor of theology and dean of students from 1992-1996 and then as vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology at Southern Seminary from 1996-2004.

When elected as president of Southeastern in 2004, Akin shared with Baptist Press his vision to see Southeastern known as the leading school for missions and evangelism and a hub for expository preaching and biblical exposition.

“I would like to see Southeastern continue to be the premier school in terms of missions and evangelism,” noted Akin. “Second, I have always had a passion for expository preaching. If you want to be trained to be a faithful expositor of God’s Word, this school should be at the top of your list.”

I would like to see Southeastern continue to be the premier school in terms of missions and evangelism.

Through his convictional leadership and his commitment to missions in his own life, Akin not only clarified Southeastern’s Great Commission mission but also cemented Southeastern’s identity as the Great Commission seminary of the SBC. Over the next 20 years, Akin would travel to more than 20 countries to share the good news of Jesus and would send out thousands of graduates under his leadership to serve Jesus in rural towns, urban centers, and hard-to-reach places around the world.

Around campus, Akin has often challenged students, staff, and faculty to consider the nations with a simple question: “Not, why should I go? But rather why should I stay?”

Not, why should I go? But rather why should I stay?

Over the last 20 years, this singular, compelling clarion call for missions has made Southeastern a leader in equipping students to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations.

As an expositor by conviction and a pastor at heart, Akin has also been a champion for biblical exposition and expository preaching, assembling at Southeastern the largest, most diverse, and most experienced preaching and pastoral ministry faculty in the world. His faithful exposition in chapel, in the classroom, and around the SBC has called students and Southern Baptists to stand firmly on the authority, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of God’s word.

His publications, including the Christ-Centered Exposition series for which he has served as a co-editor, have resourced and trained pastors to exalt Jesus in their exposition and to prioritize the sequential, verse-by-verse preaching of God’s word for the health and mission of the Church.

For Akin, his longevity and stability in ministry is owing to the faithfulness of God, the sufficiency of God’s word, and God’s precious gift of his wife, Charlotte. Together over the past 20 years, they have been instrumental in mentoring, encouraging, and supporting hundreds of students, faculty, and their families while also raising four sons — all of whom have followed their father’s example and are actively involved in ministry.

Southeastern’s students, staff, and faculty are deeply grateful for Danny Akin’s outstanding leadership over the past 20 years and for his rallying vision for Great Commission theological education. The Southeastern community prays that God will continue to bless his presidency for years to come.

Southeastern will be celebrating Danny Akin’s 20-year anniversary throughout the semester, including during its spring board of trustees meeting and its alumni and friends’ luncheon at the SBC annual meeting. 

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