From its inception in 1859, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has existed primarily to educate, train, and prepare pastors for a lifetime of ministry faithfulness. Over the past 160 years, the commitment of Southern Seminary to train pastors, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, has not changed. However, the context in which pastors are called to minister continues to change rapidly. Today, pastors face challenges such as the rise of secularism, the decline of religious participation, and the increasing complexity of social issues.

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (ESV). The immutability of God gives comfort that amid a rapidly changing world, God remains constant. Throughout Scripture, there are many examples of the people of God experiencing significant change as leaders came and went, and nation after nation rose to become the dominant power of the day. During this change, the prophets faithfully urged God’s people to remember Him. To remember the covenant He had made. To remember the relationship He had invited them into. In periods of economic success and periods of exile, God did not change.

This reminder is of great comfort as we remind ourselves that no matter how much the world changes, God does not change.

Similarly, God’s call to pastors has not changed. Paul instructs Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). The pastoral task set before Timothy remains the same one set before pastors today: preach God’s word faithfully, and lead God’s people patiently. While aspects of this task will look unique to each pastor called by God, it is a comforting reminder of how unchanged and unchanging the task given to pastors remains.

The Fall 2023 issue of the Southern Seminary Magazine has Pastoral Leadership in a Changing World as its theme to encourage pastors and ministry leaders as they seek to minister where God has called them. Those who have pastored for any time have faced unanticipated challenges and unexpected questions from those they lead. Our goal is to provide you with a magazine that is a resource and encouragement as you seek to navigate challenges and pursue your calling with faithfulness.