October 19, 2021
East Texas Baptist University faculty, staff, donors, and supporters gathered on Friday, October 15, to bless the foundation of the Great Commission Center. The ceremony included a time of prayer, worship, and a sacred time of dedication for the transformative learning facility and discipleship training center.
“As we reflect on the strategic vision that God etched on the heart of East Texas Baptist to construct a center for academic learning, spiritual discipleship, business leadership, and career development, the Great Commission Center and Fred Hale School of Business, will be the physical manifestation of ETBU’s core mission of developing Christian servant leaders and encouraging all believers to fulfill the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “This building, founded on scripture, will be anointed by God’s Word and the prayers of His people from vision to foundation to carrying out Jesus' Great Commission.”
Attendees of the Foundation Blessing wrote a scripture of dedication or blessing on cards that were sealed into canisters and placed in the building site prior to the pouring of the foundation.
“The verse I chose is Psalm 27:1 that says ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?’” ETBU Board Member Bruce Barnes said. “I know that students have so many thoughts and emotions that they are dealing with when they first go to college. It’s such a big step. But this verse is what I have always stood on, and it has always ministered to me, so I know that my canister is planted in the foundation, and I hope that this verse will bring strength to a student.”
Standing at the forefront of the ETBU campus, this new home for the Hale School of Business will become the focal symbol for quality Christian education, servant leadership, ethics, and excellence in business entrepreneurial leadership throughout East Texas and beyond. Also housed within the facility will be the Great Commission Program, an institution-wide initiative which connects the ETBU community with service opportunities locally and globally. The Great Commission Center and Hale School of Business will be the epicenter for ETBU mission training and deployment. In addition, the Career Development Center will bridge students from academic study to career preparation to vocational calling within the walls of this educational facility.
“We don't dedicate or bless this building to advance our organization.” ETBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said. “Goals, trophies, and awards will disappear over time, and all that will be left are the lives that have been changed and reached by the Gospel. That is what we pray God’s blessing on. That this building will be but a tool in His hand and that it will hold us accountable to live out the Great Commission.”
Construction began with site development in August 2021. The projected completion date for the Great Commission Center is Spring of 2023.