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The Southern DNA

Inside Blog

Book Review: Do More Better by Tim Challies


Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity

Tim Challies

Cruciform Press ($9.99)


In the fast paced world that we live in the stress to do more is always tugging for our attention. Between evaluation tools and metrics, we as a society are driven by accomplishments and the mindset that more is always better. In Do More Better: a practical guide to productivity author Tim Challies looks into what it looks like to be biblically productive.

From the title you may think that Challies is relegating his readers to a destructive work ethic where “more” is what is expected. But defining productivity as, “effectively stewarding …  gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.” Continuing, he quotes Psalm 127:12, saying all our works apart from God are in vain. Throughout the opening chapters he develops this twofold (Good for others, glorifies God) biblical foundation for productivity and continues to unpack vocational calling and seeking biblical productivity in the following chapters.

But doing more comes with some necessary cautions, first of which Challies addresses is the lore of busyness saying, “Busyness may make you feel good about yourself and give the illusion of getting things done, but it probably just means that you are directing too little attention in too many directions, that you are prioritizing all the wrong things, and that your productivity is suffering.” In the pursuit of doing more we unknowingly sacrifice quality on the altar of busy.

From there he addresses the need to inventory areas of responsibility. This aspect of productivity, Challies says, is essential. For one to see what is ahead, they must allow themselves time to assess and not merely adjust as things come. It is here that a great asset to this book be mentioned; since Challies sets out to not merely talk about productivity, but to help his readers be more productive, he provides introspective action steps at the end of each chapter. Whether how to inventory, or another aspect, he truly seeks to equip his readers to act and be productive by adding these questions and steps. To achieve this he says, “I want you to do more good. I want you to do more of what matters most, and I want you to do it better.”

In chapter three, Challies begins a section on practical steps to productivity. He goes further by laying out what it looks like to construct a personal mission statement. When you recognize your areas of gifting you will be more apt to accomplishing those tasks. Challies explains, “It is far better to dedicate lots of attention to those areas in which you are particularly talented or gifted than it is to dedicate minimal attention to the many areas you are not.” He then builds further with the importance of using tools that allow and propel productivity; things such as evernote, icalendar, todoist to name a few. Chapter six then discusses the collection of pertinent tasks. Progressing from the inventory of responsibilities, he goes one level deeper to address the specific task within each role; think of them as subcategories. Seven then builds off previous chapters and addresses the need to schedule accordingly. On the note of planning he says, “My experience confirms that if I fail to attack my week with theologically informed planning, my week attacks me with an onslaught of the urgent. And I end up devoting more time to the urgent than the important.” This doesn’t mean that everything you have to do will get done or even that it can get done, and to this end he says, “Only God gets his to-do list done each day.”


In Challies’ pursuit to equip his readers to achieve biblical productivity, Do More Better  clearly defines productivity and how to pursue it. With the resources at the reader’s’ fingertips  they need through the website, inventory sheets, and action steps Challies accomplishes his goal of equipping the reader to do more better, and to do what matters most, do good to others and glorify God. If put into action these steps have the potential to be very effective in the reader’s pursuit of productivity. Do More Better is a quick read (only 120 pages) which allows readers to do more better, while not having to read an extensive 900 page corpus on productivity. Pick it up, apply the tools, do more better.

The office of Human Resources is giving away a few copies of Do More Better click here to find out how you can register!


Having purchased copies for his team, Matt Minier, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Southern Seminary says, “I’m always on the lookout for good practical advice about productivity. I’ve read a lot of different books over the years and found very few helpful. Typically, the recommended system is extremely complicated and takes a lot of effort to maintain.” Minier continued to say, “I found Challies system to be simple and accessible. He provides a few simple tools and gives helpful examples of how to deploy each tool.” In conclusion, Minier writes, “I’d recommend Do More Better because it’s simple and very practical. Challis system is designed to help individuals manage varied responsibilities while keeping their priorities straight.”


The Flip Book for Summer Exploration

Here at Southern we prize summer as a time to decompress after another strong academic year.  The pace of life gets slower and allows for a lot of time with family and friends. We created this guide to help you make the most of your summer – whether you’re downloading a new app, reading a book, or hanging out with your family. Our hope is that this resource is a tool you can use this summer. Click here to view the Flip Book.
Flip Book

New Employee Introduction- Joannah Olsen

Joannah Olsen


Joining the Office of Admissions in February, Joannah Olsen joins the Southern team from, most recently, Lynchburg, Va. Joannah is a two time graduate from Liberty University with a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in Public Policy. Along with working in Admissions Joannah is also pursuing her M.Div. at Southern in Islamic Studies. As an admissions counselor Joannah hopes to help champion students from a mere interest in Southern to becoming a dedicated student.

Joannah can be reached at or ext. 5287

Welcome to the Southern team!



Introduction to Employee Spotlights

Spotlighting stories.

Stories hold an essential place at Southern Seminary, and in our society at large. From the stories we tell around the campfire to the grand story of Scripture, we see this truth amplified. There is something about stories that captivate us. The stories that develop a complex plot, that have great character development, and then rise to their resolution. We, as a people, love good stories.


If you’ve been around Southern very long you have more likely than not heard of “The Southern Story.”
If you are among the few who haven’t,it is the intriguing narrative that dates back to 1859 in Greenville, South Carolina and spans more than 150 years. Much has taken place in that time, many changes, and a few moves, but one key theme remained: God’s faithfulness. God’s faithfulness and providence is the overarching story that Southern has been marked by since its founding.

The Human Resources office plays a role
within that story. Marked by a mission of serving Southern Seminary institutionally by recruiting talented employees that love the seminary, supporting the offices of Southern by providing training and policies, and caring for all of our employees during their time of employment. One way we are seeking to care for our employees is by an initiative called “Employee Spotlights.”

What aren’t Employee Spotlights?

First, Employee Spotlights are not a glorified “Employee of the Month.” We all know the picture hung up in the breakroom signifying one employee as being better than the others. This is not that. We hope to give a voice to the many incredible stories of our exceptional employees.

Secondly, and similarly, these spotlights are not for any “superior” offices to gain more recognition. Our hope is that in our spotlights we will get a very broad spectrum of employees covering all of our great offices in every line of work.


What are employee spotlights?

This effort is dedicated to spotlighting all of our employees over time and giving a voice to the many incredible stories of our exceptional employees. There are three initiatives within the spotlights.

First, the New Employee Introduction will introduce new employees to the Southern team so you will know them and be able to welcome them. This will include brief information such as degree, hometown, office and position along with other similar information.

Second, The Employee Spotlight will include a description of each employee including ministry background, school background, stories of God’s faithfulness, and vocational hopes for the future. This will serve as a way for our employees to be encouraged by having their stories told, and will also serve as a way for our employees to engage in the lives of others by listening to those stories of God’s providence in the lives of his people.

The third initiative is what we’re calling the Anniversary Spotlight where we will celebrate the dedication and commitment of some of our most tenured employees each month. We want to highlight and celebrate their dedication to Southern Seminary as well as show how they contribute to the mission to train gospel ministers through their work.


How you can get involved.

  1. Get your office involved in the regular spotlights posted on inside.sbts so that Southern can welcome new employees, hear their stories, and congratulate those who have been with Southern for quite some time.
  2. Contact Sean Corser at with recommendations for employee spotlights.
  3. Check to engage with the employee spotlight initiative.
  4. Connect with us on linkedin and on Facebook

Understanding the System Changes or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love

old technology equipment

We recently made a major shift in some of our systems and applications that we have used for years here at SBTS. With these changes, we retired the site, as well as the Windows desktop application, QuickRef. was a web platform that was primarily used by students to calculate their charges for the semester, print off certain student forms, and update certain information in their student profile. This web platform was a product of Jenzabar, our SIS/ERP system vendor. QuickRef was a custom-built Windows desktop application that offices on campus used to find contact info for employees and departments at SBTS.

Why the sudden change?

While many of these changes took effect over two days, these changes had actually been building over the past year. With every annual upgrade to our main Jenzabar database, there was always some work required to keep functioning. We knew that, eventually, an upgrade would break For that reason, in the summer of 2014, we began working on, a platform built on modern web frameworks, by our developers here in Campus Technology, with the goal that this platform could eventually replace in the event that didn’t survive an upgrade.

This year, our main Jenzabar database upgrade moved us from version 4.7.x to version 6.0.x As we began previewing the changes in this upgrade earlier this year, we realized that this upgrade would introduce some major changes to the database that would break several of our custom-built web applications. Given these changes and the increased likelihood that would not survive the upgrade, we accelerated our migration strategy to move functionality from to

scientists working

We have an incredible team of developers, so as we started working on, we also wanted this platform to provide functionality that was not previously provided through or through any other system on campus. For instance, one of the first apps that we launched within was online access to employee tools. Many students and employees may not realize, but depending on if you’re a student, an employee, or even which department you work in, you may have access to different apps based on your role. To date, we have built out specific custom apps and reporting for Advancement, Admissions, HR, Accounting, along with general apps for all employees and students. Much of this data is actually built on top of the same data that is accessible inside of Jenzabar.

One application that was on our migration list was QuickRef. QuickRef was a Windows desktop application that contained contact details for departments and employees. Since it was only available for Windows though, unless you were on-campus, sitting at a Windows workstation, you could not access this information. It was not available over the web, and there was no Mac version. Due to these factors, we knew that we wanted to migrate QuickRef, so we decided to add it to the list of changes along with the other upgrades. Yeah…we’re sort of crazy like that.

Real quick, what is this of which you speak?

We never stop innovating. We never settle for ordinary. And we were never completely satisfied with the name “”. We humbly admit that naming things is not our strong suit (you should see the variable names in our code). So we have launched as the successor to, built using the same codebase, but with an updated design and some upgraded frameworks.

What does this mean for me?

You can now reset your password, and keep your password in sync across systems.

The next time that you need to reset your password, you can now do it online through This even includes your Active Directory (Windows) password for Mac users who use the SBTS file share. Just log in through and click on the Options link under your profile picture. Then click on Profile.


On this profile page, you can verify and update your contact information is correct, you can update your emergency contact information, and you can mark your address and email as private if you do not want them to appear in the printed SBTS directory that goes out during the Fall semester.

At the bottom of your profile page, you’ll see where you can update your password. You implicitly have to change your password for, which also affects, Moodle,, and WordPress (if you’re a WordPress user).


But if you leave all 3 checkboxes marked, you can update your SBTS email password (for students and employees) and your Active Directory/Windows password (for employees only), setting them all to the same password.


Anything you did in Ecampus, you will now do in

The same student information and forms that were hosted in Ecampus can now be found in On the left sidebar, choose “Student Tools”, and you’ll see several apps available to you.


For information regarding your charges and account balance, choose the “Account Information” app. In the main window, you’ll see a tabbed interface.


When you first click on the tab labeled “My Account”, you’ll notice that the app immediately begins to calculate your current balance. You’ll see a countdown showing an estimated time before your balance is calculated. The actual time required to calculate your balance is typically much shorter.


If you have no balance, this will show here above your payment history.


If you do have a balance, you will be given the option to make a payment online.


Lastly, we replaced QuickRef with a web-based SBTS Directory

You can login using the same credentials at to access the SBTS directory.

That really wasn’t that bad. Thanks for the explanation!

You’re welcome. Hopefully this has helped. We will continue to develop these platforms so that we can provide more apps and better functionality to improve your experience here at SBTS. If you have any questions, you can always contact Campus Technology at 502.897.4006 or