June 29, 2015
In the early 2000s, I considered seminary. I was actively involved in my church, leading a young professional ministry in Sioux Falls, and surrounded by many mentors. There was a clear call to use my gifts to serve the kingdom. However, I did not see myself serving a local church unless it was in an administrative role. My consideration for theological education did not take long. It lacked affordability, accessibility, and relevance. I did not have church or denominational support lined up, so the high cost associated with going to seminary was an immediate deterrent. I was working full time and was not able to take courses when they were offered. My call seemed different than the other seminary students I knew, and the programs offered did not seem to be the right fit. So I did not go.
God had other plans, however. Soon after, I was offered a job at Sioux Falls Seminary. Suddenly theological education was affordable and accessible. I worked closely with faculty to make it relevant to my call. What I did not fully realize then was how much I needed seminary. I was already leading in kingdom-minded organizations. What I did not have was the foundational development that I now lean on every day. That foundation and development came from Sioux Falls Seminary.
1 Peter 4:10 encourages each of us to use whatever gifts we have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I have had the privilege to interact with hundreds of Sioux Falls Seminary students in the last decade. I have also had the opportunity to visit with hundreds of people who’ve considered seminary at one point in their lives but, for various reasons, never started the journey. What I have learned along the way is that my situation is not as unique as I thought. Each and every one of the individuals I’ve had the honor of visiting with was called to use their gifts to serve others. Some of those individuals were well served by traditional programs, but many others were not able to make theological education a reality.
This is why we believe so strongly in making theological education affordable, accessible, and relevant to all the people God calls. They are the reason we are reimagining theological education.
We have rethought seminary operations and worked closely with students to discern their calls. New offerings such as the Kairos Project and Training in Spiritual Direction and innovation in course design are helping are make theological education more affordable, accessible, and relevant to a new generation of students.
We exist to develop servants for their participation on the kingdom mission so they can use whatever gifts they have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace. If you are called to serve others or are currently serving and believe that theological education would give you the foundational development you need and desire, please call us. We’d love to hear your story and help you discern God’s direction in your life.