by Jenny Gregory

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Dr. Johnny M. Hunt, Pastor of First Baptist Church Woodstock, author and past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, delivered Truett McConnell University’s (TMU) 69th commencement address to 110 bachelor’s and 3 master’s degree candidates, Saturday, May 13.

The 2017 commencement ceremony is the first in which graduates will receive their diplomas from schools named by Anabaptist heroes and martyrs. These radicals were driven by God’s Word in defending their own biblical views with a passion to direct the minds of the next generation to honor the Lord.

Following the academic procession, Rev. James Dollar, Worship Pastor of Concord Baptist Church, began the service with the invocation.

TMU President, Dr. Emir Caner, then welcomed friends and family while emphasizing the “magnificent achievement of those adorned in cap and gown.”

“We pray for four things for our students as they come to this campus: they will be saved, they will be called, each of them will be equipped and each one of them will be sent.”

Hunt addresses the graduates

After a brief introduction from Caner, Hunt took the podium amid welcoming applause, thanking everyone for the honor of speaking to this year’s graduating class of TMU students.

Hunt began by congratulating the Class of 2017 and lauded the effort and commitment the graduates made in their years at Truett McConnell that led to their success.

Referencing Titus 2:6, Hunt said, “Exhort the young men to be sober-minded. In other words, have a compassionate appeal. If you don’t take time to be holy, you won’t be.”

Hunt exhorted the graduates with five characteristics that were common among biblical leaders who “finished well”: humility, intimacy with God, obedience, faith and the ability to receive council.

He continued by urging students to stay in the Word of God and always make a point to spend the best hour of their day in quiet time with Him: “If you will give your time to the Redeemer, the Redeemer will redeem your time.”

Hunt concluded by encouraging graduates to heed the most important piece of his speech: “If you are waiting for God to show you the end, you will never know the beginning of following Him.”

Following the commencement address, Truett McConnell’s Felix Manz School of Music Chamber Singers, led by Dr. Kenneth Gabrielse, Professor of Music, performed “Come to the Mountain,” an arrangement by Phillip Keveren.

Dr. John Yarborough, Director of Alumni Relations and Public Policy, took the podium echoing blessings to each graduate and welcoming them into the school’s alumni association.

Dr. Brad Reynolds, Vice President for Academic Services then presented the bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates to the President who then awarded those candidates with their degree as they walked across the stage.

After each graduate left the stage, Rev. Dan Rosser, Senior Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, concluded the ceremony with the benediction.


Jenny is the Content Manager for Truett McConnell University.

Photo/Adam Roark

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