Grimké Seminary held its inaugural graduation ceremony on the evening of November 18, 2021. Twenty-one graduates (from 17 churches across 11 states) and their families gathered in Richmond, Virginia to celebrate the completion of their advanced ministry degrees.
“These graduates are especially significant as this is our first-ever graduating class,” said Tony Merida, seminary dean. “We will never forget them. We will never forget how they took a risk in choosing Grimké, a start-up seminary. We had no history and no alumni to commend the school. What the students did know is that we were an official partner with Acts 29 and they believed in the Grimké model of in-context theological training. By God’s grace, this will be the first of many graduations, for the renewal of the church and the glory of Christ.”By God’s grace, this will be the first of many graduations, for the renewal of the church and the glory of Christ. - Tony Merida Click To Tweet
Graduation festivities lasted all week and were a family affair. On Monday evening, graduates and their wives attended a special dinner to celebrate all that God has done over the last two years. On Wednesday morning, Grimké hosted a special breakfast for the wives at the Grimké house. The ceremony on Thursday evening had a familial atmosphere with many children in attendance to celebrate the graduates—all wearing custom-designed Ralph Lauren wool cardigans with a prominent Grimké “G” on the right chest. Matt King, the seminary’s administrator, said, “Experiencing this week with their families proved to be a really special and encouraging part of graduation for our students, and for us.”
Grimké Seminary is named in honor of Dr. Francis J. Grimké (1850–1937), a former slave who went on to pastor 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. for over fifty years. Building on his life and legacy, Grimké is a diverse seminary devoted to training pastors and church planters for the advance of the gospel, the good of the world, and the glory of Christ.
Grimké’s leaders praise God for the school’s success. Seminary president, Doug Logan, said, “No vision that God gives ever comes to fruition by the diligence of one man. Grimké is thriving because we have so much support from our Acts 29 community. Donors, supporters, and churches all help make Grimké successful.” Bryan Laughlin, Grimké CEO, said, “God has been extremely gracious to us with this first graduating class and we hope and pray for his continued favor in the decades to come.”These are brothers and friends, not just classmates and professors. -Nathan Hornback Click To Tweet
As I interviewed some of the graduates, it became clear that these men cherish their educational experience and love this school, its leaders, and their fellow pastors and classmates.
Here’s what Grimké grads are saying about their alma mater:
Nathan Hornback, pastor of Living Stones Church Elko in Elko, Nevada, said, “I planted ten years ago, but couldn’t break away from the church to attend seminary. When Grimké was announced at the Acts 29 Global Gathering in Orlando, Florida, my wife and I knew God was answering our prayers for theological education.” Nathan also said he felt and experienced the Acts 29 brotherhood at Grimké. “These are brothers and friends, not just classmates and professors.”
“Grimké Seminary is the perfect mix of theology and hands-on pastoring. It’s accessible and affordable. It’s like a trade school for pastors,” said Andy Resh, pastor of Citylight Church Delco in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. “I was surprised by the relationships with other students. This community of fellow learners and co-laborers has become close friends.”
David Keen, pastor of Sent Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, said, “I’ve been wanting to do seminary for a long time but couldn’t make it work. I was excited when I learned about Grimké! I knew and trusted the leaders. It was affordable, allowed me to stay in my context, and wasn’t an online program. Learning from pastors who are theologians, scholars, and practitioners has been super helpful. One of our deacons is also a student, and hopefully, more from my church will be joining soon.”
“I wanted to learn to pastor better. Grimké has helped me become a better preacher and developer of leaders in my church,” Zack Mason, pastor of The Grove Church in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, said. “If you’re thinking about applying for Grimké, do it. You get so much more than an education; you get a brotherhood.”If you’re thinking about applying for Grimké, do it. You get so much more than an education; you get a brotherhood. -Zack Mason Click To Tweet
Scott Prentice, pastor of Advance Community Church in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, said, “Grimké excels at transforming leaders in the church and building effective ministry from the ground up.” His church has three lay leaders attending Grimké, plus a few more from regional churches.
Acts 29 values theological training and is proud to partner with Grimké Seminary. Join us in praying for these graduates as they begin new ministry endeavors or continue to faithfully lead their local churches. May God raise up more men like them to plant healthy, multiplying churches around the world so more people will hear and believe the gospel, and worship King Jesus for all eternity.