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The Great Commission and the Journey of Theological Education

August 10, 2015

As we noted last week, over the course of this academic year we are going to consider what it means to walk boldly into the future to which God is calling Sioux Falls Seminary.  To me, there is no better place to start than the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:19-20 resonates with me for a number of reasons.  I believe it gives us a great picture of not only the missionary nature of the Triune God, but also a clear focus for our work.  As we are going, we are to make disciples.

When we as Sioux Falls Seminary seek to discern God’s leading and then walk boldly into that calling, we must always remember that, above all else, we are to make disciples.  At its core, theological education is by nature a journey of discipleship.  It is something to which all of us are called.  Yes, a few are called to roles of leadership within the church, but all of us are called to engage in theological education.  We are called to follow Jesus into mission, to make disciples along the way, and to continually engage in our own discipleship journey.

At times theological education is viewed as something completely separate from the church.  I would argue that because it is rooted in developing disciples for participation in God’s mission, it is an integral part of the work of the church.  Seminaries, therefore, can play an important role in that work.  In order to serve well, seminaries must embrace the disciple-making process and see the Great Commission as the foundation for theological education.  Put simply, theological education is about developing disciples who can develop other disciples.

Over the next three months we will look more closely at the Great Commission and how theological education has sought to serve that mission over time.  We will look at the history of theological education, ask questions about how we have progressed, and seek to understand the systems that have brought us to where we are today.

Sioux Falls Seminary is developing a reputation for being an innovative seminary that is seeking to reunite theological education and local ministry contexts.  In doing so, we are learning that, in many ways, we are bringing some of the original essence of theological education back to the forefront.  Our hope is that over the next few months we see some of the blessings and challenges of theological education and how a commitment to the Great Commission needs to be front and center for any future developments.

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