Convocation Recap: Living Into the Great Commission

September 7, 2015

On Tuesday, September 1, we celebrated the start of our 158th academic year!  The convocation service was a wonderful event not only because we celebrated the beginning of a new academic year, but also because we welcomed Dr. Larry Caldwell as the Chief Academic Officer and Dean.

Larry comes to us after over 20 years of experience as a missionary for Converge Worldwide, an experience that included serving as Dean at Asian Theological Seminary.  As he steps into his newly appointed role, we are excited that he will continue his work with Converge.  Larry is an answer to prayer.  In him we have found a passion for the church, a hunger for making theological education affordable, accessible, and relevant, a strong desire to remain faithful to the unshakable truth of God’s word, and the eyes to see the multicultural realities of the world around us.

In his statement of response, Larry remarked that his prayer is to have his tenure as Dean at Sioux Falls Seminary be marked by two words: “tradition” and “innovation.”  He is committed to upholding the strong biblically-based, Baptistic, and evangelical tradition of the seminary while constantly seeking to bring about innovations in theological education that make it more accessible, affordable, and relevant.

Following the installation of Larry Caldwell, we were blessed by a convocation address from Dr. Paul Rainbow, Professor of New Testament.  Paul’s address called us to consider how the Great Commission can guide our work as a seminary.  Embedded within the Great Commission is the requirement for us to make disciples and that making disciples requires teaching the in the ways of the Lord.  As a seminary with a 158-year history, he challenged us to remain faithful to our task of teaching disciples so that they might in turn make more disciples.

The words from Paul and Larry were a blessing for the seminary and a remarkable way to begin a new academic year.  Each has a strong desire to see the seminary fulfill its kingdom calling to develop servants for their participation in the kingdom mission.  As Paul remarked, we will always be teaching because we have been commanded to do so.  Such teaching will always require some sort of person-to-person communication, but the medium may change.  Larry’s message built on that idea of change by suggesting that while we must be innovative and find ways to effectively communicate God’s word, we must also remain faithful to the tradition upon which we were founded.

I am excited about this upcoming year and can’t wait to see what God does as we continue to live into his Great Commission!

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