Coming Together as Family To Serve God in Mission

July 13, 2015

I have a very large extended family.  My dad is one of 8, and my mom is one of 5.  My maternal grandmother was one of 12, and my maternal grandfather is one of 7.  I once attended the adult Sunday school class at my mom’s home church.  There were 30 people in the room, and I was related to all of them!  With a family this large, I must [sheepishly] admit that I do not know all of my extended family members by name.  There is a good chance I have met a family member and didn’t know I was related to him or her.

With such a large number of people, family gatherings were always fun.  We had enough people to play full games of basketball, football, or baseball.  There was enough food to feed an army [granted, as a small kid there weren’t a lot of dishes I found to be appealing].  More than anything, I remember the ambience.  The rooms were full of energy, joy, and a sense that this time was special.

While living in Chicago, I was several hours away from anyone in my immediate or extended family.  When I moved to Sioux Falls, the distance grew even more.  Needless to say, I haven’t been to one of those large family gatherings in a long time.  This past week at the Triennial was the first time in many years that I experienced what it is like when a family gets together.

From July 1 to July 5, I joined around 700 other members of the NAB family in Sacramento, CA, where all of us participated in the 2015 Triennial Conference.  The theme of the Triennial was, “Sent,” and we focused on how the Missional nature of God can permeate everything we are as followers of Christ and servants in God’s mission. It was a fantastic event.

Not only did we get to celebrate and commission Dan Hamil, the new Executive Director of the NAB, we also had the opportunity to announce several ways in which the NAB family will be working together over the next few years.  As participants in the work God is doing, it makes good sense when members of a family with a shared heritage, shared heart for the Gospel, and shared passion for the kingdom work together.  Here are three endeavors that were announced at the Triennial, and I am excited that Sioux Falls Seminary is a part of them.

Theological Education in Cameroon
The NAB International Office, Taylor Seminary, Sioux Falls Seminary, the Cameroon Baptist Convention, Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary, and Cameroon Baptist Seminary in Kumba agreed on a plan focused on enhancing theological education in Cameroon and North America.  The plan will dive into: administrative coaching, faculty development, teaching, and innovation.

Online Education
Together with Taylor Seminary, we will be launching a shared online educational platform.  The system will be housed here at Sioux Falls Seminary but accessible to students at both schools.  It will allow us and Taylor to share costs, and, more importantly, to work together toward the development of robust online offerings.

Capital Campaign
Announced on Sunday, July 5, the NAB is launching a capital campaign.  What’s great about this campaign is that it will involve the entire family of NAB organizations, including Sioux Falls Seminary.  More information will be shared about this in the coming months, buy it was great to make the announcement at Triennial.

God is good!  It was a blessing to be with the NAB family in Sacramento, and I can’t wait to see the fruit that comes from our time together!

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