By Greg Henson, President and Doug Anderson, Assistant Professor and Director of Counseling Services
May 8, 2017
Last week I touched on the fact that, over the years, seminaries have seen a change in the individuals that they serve. We believe it is vital to understand who God is calling us to serve so that we might walk alongside those God places in our care in ways that help them “use whatever gift [they] have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
God has provided Sioux Falls Seminary with specific resources to serve those he places in our care. We walk alongside a number of different individuals as we participate in the kingdom mission.
In relation to our work in theological education, we believe God has called us to develop servants who:
- Are actively engaged in ministry of any type as a professional or a volunteer
Historically, ministry has referred to pastoral roles in a local church. While this is an important subset of our students, we have a much broader definition of ministry. Even with that broader definition, our focus is narrowed by the fact that we believe we are called to serve those actively engaged in a ministry context.
- Seek to integrate faith and work
There is a growing number of people working with the seminary who are looking for ways to integrate their faith and their work. In essence, their work is their ministry context, and they are looking for a theological foundation for that work.
- Are pursuing theological education outside of the context of a seminary
Many people are pursuing theological education through ministry or church networks that exist outside of the world of seminaries. We value that work and have had several opportunities to develop partnerships with some of these networks. Our philosophy of education allows us to work with the networks and the individuals they serve by honoring their work and enriching the process.
- Looking to develop new models of theological education
Several denominations, seminaries, missionary networks, and individuals are looking for ways to develop new models of theological education. Over the past three years, Sioux Falls Seminary has been identified as a leading voice in this conversation. Going forward, we believe God is calling us to share what we have learned with others rather than trying to “keep it to ourselves.”
In relation to our counseling services, we walk alongside clients who are:
- Struggling with severe mental illness
Many come to us seeking help for their psychological struggles. We treat their conditions, but more importantly, we help them see their worth as human beings. We offer them genuine relationship while utilizing our expertise to assist them. Others come to us for help with anxiety and/or depression that is stealing their energy, upending their sense of worth, and narrowing their world. We strive to be “with” them in their journey, helping them recover and find their way in life.
- Vulnerable because of their age
We help children as young as the age two deal with many different types of psychological and relationship hurts by giving them a voice and advocating for their well-being when the odds in life are against them.
- Dealing with traumatic histories
Trauma comes in many forms, including child abuse, bullying, domestic violence, natural disasters, and service in the armed forces—all of these and similar experiences can result in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. We walk alongside individuals dealing with such trauma as they strive to adjust to and cope with their histories.
- Seeking to reunify families
We walk with families at odd with each other, especially divorced parents and their children. Through Family Reunification Therapy, we help reestablish healthy relationships between both parents and children.
- Looking for a safe place to have hard conversations
When husbands and wives are struggling with marriage challenges or when clients are trying to make sense of their worlds, we provide a safe space for hard conversations. We help these individuals find a more meaningful and stable way forward.
These categories provide clarity not only for us as we participate in the kingdom mission but also for you as you read this article. Do you know someone who fits into one of those categories? Perhaps God is nudging you to invite them to pursue theological education or counseling services. More than 85% of our students and clients come to us because they were referred by someone. Has God placed someone on your heart who might need encouragement for pursuing theological education or counseling services?