January 29, 2018
A few weeks back, I mentioned the importance of stewarding relationships. Today, I would like to say a bit more about that, especially at it relates to our relationship with the North American Baptist (NAB) family.
I wrote this article while on a plane headed to Edmonton, AB, where Taylor Seminary and Sioux Falls Seminary co-hosted the first Kairos Project intensive in Canada. Unfortunately, due to the joys of traveling in winter, I arrived several hours after the opening worship service.
That worship service was led by Stephanie Fehr, a member of Taylor’s Board of Trustees. Nate Helling, our Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations, welcomed everyone, and David Williams, President at Taylor, gave a short devotional in my absence.
We always begin our gatherings for Kairos with a worship service because it is an important reminder that theological education is a journey of discipleship rooted in becoming faithful followers of Jesus who join God on mission through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.
The phrase “joining God on mission” is one that you might hear spoken at gatherings hosted by the International Office of the North American Baptist Conference. At Sioux Falls Seminary, we resonate deeply with the NAB’s renewed theological vision of the church on mission. It is for this reason that I have wholeheartedly participated in several recent initiatives launched by the International Office of the NAB.
Specifically, I have engaged in Blue Ocean, Bonfire, Elevate, Ethos, and the Strategy Team. In some cases, I have been a participant. In other situations, I have been a member of the team thinking through the event or have participated as a facilitator. David Williams, President of Taylor, has done the same. It has been a joy to work alongside members of the NAB family in this way.
It is not common for conference leadership and the seminaries of that conference to be as closely aligned as we are now within the NAB. Often, in other conferences, there is severe theological discord, fighting over “territory,” or a desire to control certain things.
How does this relate to our recent Kairos Project intensive that we co-hosted in Edmonton? One way is that participants at the gathering included NAB pastors from California, Calgary, South Dakota, and Edmonton, to name a few. Several participants had also been involved in Blue Ocean, and others had been involved in Elevate or Ethos. When we work together and steward well the relationships that we have across the NAB family, the Spirit will multiply our efforts.
As a conference, we are vigorously pursuing this renewed theological vision of the church on mission. At Sioux Falls, we are excited to play a role in the system of theological education that develops people who are invested in that journey.