April 4, 2016
If you have been reading our articles throughout this academic year, you will recall that during the first part of the year we looked at the biblical foundations for theological education and the history of theological education. Over the past several weeks, we have been looking at how different thinking is needed to impact the future of theological education.
All of these articles have led us to today when we begin to look at how Sioux Falls Seminary is building on the past and looking toward the future. The mission of Sioux Falls Seminary is to develop servants for their participation in the kingdom mission. We do this by pursuing our call to create systems of theological education and integrated counseling that are affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful. Our purpose in doing so is to empower people to serve where God has placed them, thereby offering a journey toward God’s hope.
The future plans of Sioux Falls Seminary are rooted in a belief that God is at work and that we are called to participate in that work. At times, that will mean strengthening work that has been done in the past. While at other times, we will need to honor the past and look toward new models or systems.
At the end of the day, Ephesians 4:12 sums up quite well the broad work of theological education. After listing various roles within the church, Paul states, “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” At Sioux Falls Seminary, we believe that we are called to build up the church, the body of Christ, by developing servants who will engage in God’s work. This means helping individuals discover the unique ways in which they are called to participate in the Great Commission.
I believe the future of theological education is bright, if we are willing to think creatively and intentionally about how we remain faithful to God’s word and the essence of theological education while reimagining almost everything else. Theological education is an important aspect of God’s church and something to which all of us are called. This means we need to think more broadly about the definition of theological education.
Too often, we relegate theological education to graduate degrees offered on the campus of a seminary. While those are vital to the health and wellbeing of the church, they are not the sole expression of theological education. Such education happens within the church, at various educational levels, and through multiple delivery methods. The key is to “equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ!”