Stewardship Report: A Whirlwind of Academic Development

August 21, 2017

The Kairos Project, the Luther House of Study, intercultural study options and delivery of programs abroad, mentor teams, affiliate faculty, the mantra: affordable, accessible, relevant and faithful—wow!  Sometimes, as I sit in my second floor office at Sioux Falls Seminary, it seems like I am resting in the eye of a tornado as oodles of innovative theological activity swirl and spin around me.

Indeed, Sioux Falls Seminary is on the move.  It is recognized as one of the most innovative seminaries, helping to change theological education and how it is done both in North America and throughout the world.  What a privilege to be Chief Academic Officer and Dean at such a time as this!

As a faculty, we are embracing the fact that Kairos, which was just a “project” of the seminary three years ago, is now the educational philosophy that the drives everything we do.  The mantra that goes with this philosophy—affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful—is so much more than a set of words.  It is integral to everything that we do.  How so?  This fall, for example, we launch Kairos 4.0, a vastly improved version of the Kairos 1.0 curriculum that we began with three years ago.

Students pay only $300 per month, equivalent to a car payment for many.  As an outcome-based theological education program, the Kairos Project is now seamlessly folded into our “classic” curriculum so that all students have the opportunity to stay in ministry, work with a mentor team while, if they desire, taking full advantage of synchronous or asynchronous online classroom learning.  In addition, we have a growing number of academic partners who can adapt specific Kairos Project assignments to the specific needs of their students.

The Kairos Project educational philosophy influences our academic programs in other ways too.  We are in the process of reshaping our Doctor of Ministry program into the Kairos format.  Our desire is to make this long-standing doctoral degree even more accessible and more relevant.  Our new Master of Arts (Bible and Theology) with an Intercultural Studies emphasis, referred to as the MABT-IC, offers a totally onsite, in ministry program to both western and non-western missionaries worldwide who desire theological training.  At the end of August, I will travel to both the Middle East and northeast India to continue developing partnerships for this program, to go along with other partnerships we are developing in Asia and Europe.  Already a leading denomination is adapting the MABT-IC for their missionary training needs, especially focusing on Muslim ministry.  In addition, the seminary’s partnership with Taylor Seminary and the Cameroon Baptist Convention to offer a Doctor of Ministry program in Cameroon, Africa, is helping to bring affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful doctoral-level theological education to seminary professors in that country.

The above snapshot is just a part of the whirlwind of academic activity happening here at Sioux Falls Seminary.  There is a lot going on!  However, we are not busy doing these things just to do them.  As Colossians 3:17 reminds us, we are to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  As a result, all of the great things happening here at Sioux Falls Seminary are happening in the name of Jesus and for spreading of the glory of God the Father throughout the world.  We welcome you to join us in this great task!

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