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How We Serve Well

August 8, 2016

As an institution called to join people on the journey of theological education, Sioux Falls Seminary has the privilege of serving many different individuals from various walks of life and locations around the globe.  Over the past few weeks, we have looked at three geographic spheres or areas of influence in which the seminary focuses its efforts.  Sioux Falls Seminary serves students and clients who live near the seminary, within driving distance of the seminary, and throughout the world.  In each case, however, our service is rooted in seven methodologies.  In order to serve our students and clients well, we believe we must do each of the following:

Serve through a ministry of presence approach…
People and relationships are at the core of everything we do as an organization.  In order to serve people well, we must first be present with them.

Maintain biblically-faithful courses, programs, services, and staff…
All of our programs, services, and staff must place trust in God, be rooted in prayer, and remain faithful to biblical teaching and to the long wisdom of orthodox Christian faith.

Create partnerships with kingdom-minded organizations…
In order to create systems of theological education and integrated counseling, which is at the core of our work in each of the three spheres mentioned above, we seek out and develop partnerships with kingdom-minded organizations.  Rather than being the “source” of everything, we seek to become the platform on which a student’s or client’s experience can be built.

Provide efficient operational systems…
For theological education and counseling to remain affordable long-term, we must operate efficiently in addition to be effective.  We must constantly be finding ways to be more efficient without sacrificing the need to be relational.

Create well-designed courses and programs that are rigid yet flexible…
While this statement seems paradoxical, it is very true.  We need to be rigid when it comes to the educational or counseling outcomes we expect but very flexible with how we achieve those outcomes.  There are multiple definitions of good educational processes, so we need to refrain from assuming only one process is the best for everyone.

Be willing to experiment and fail…
We encourage change, innovation, and the desire to experiment.  It enables the institution to be nimble and to find new ways to serve students and clients well, today and in the future.

Encourage diversity among faculty, staff, and therapists…
As an institution, we must have a level of diversity that matches the needs of our community.  At the same time, diversity allows us to have faculty and therapists who are able to specialize in certain areas for the betterment of clients and students.

Every time I look back over this list, I am pleased with what I read.  This is true for several reasons.  First and foremost, it was developed over the course of several months through multiple collaborative conversations.  This isn’t one person’s view of how Sioux Falls Seminary serves those God places in our care.  It is the seminary community’s point of view.  Second, I think it is a good list.  It is grounded in our faith, calls attention to important values, and challenges us to think differently as we move forward.  With these statements guiding our efforts, I believe we truly can serve people well.  I hope you will join us in mission as we develop servants for their participation in God’s kingdom mission.

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