January 22, 2018
Stewardship is an all-encompassing response to the unbounded love and provision of God. It is not a means by which we control the gifts God has given us, but rather a process through which we participate in God’s work. As such, the concepts that form the foundation of stewardship extend into how we handle relationships and opportunities.
Back in 2015, one such opportunity presented itself. This past few weeks have been a reminder of what God can do when we take seriously our role as stewards. It was in 2015 that we entered into a partnership with the North American Baptist International Office, Taylor Seminary, the Cameroon Baptist Convention, Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary (Ndu), and Cameroon Baptist Seminary (Kumba). The partnership was to focus on enhancing theological education in Cameroon and North America. It would work in the areas of administration, faculty development, teaching, and innovation.
Much has happened through this partnership in these areas, but the focus of this article is on faculty development. Over the last two weeks, eight faculty (all of whom work in the area of theological education in the Cameroon Baptist Convention) have been here at Sioux Falls Seminary to attend a Doctor of Ministry seminar that was designed specifically for them.
In fact, the entire program is built around their ministry context, and the vast majority of their work is happening in Cameroon. In the past, Doctor of Ministry students from Cameroon needed to spend upwards of a year in Sioux Falls in order to pursue their doctoral degrees. However, because we have been able to create a program specifically designed around the needs and contexts of the students through this partnership, this is no longer the case.
To make this work, God provided funds for student tuition, faculty stipends, host homes, meals, and even blessings on the Visa process. It was no small feat. We are thankful for God’s provision.
As a result of God’s work through this partnership, these eight faculty members will earn doctoral degrees, which will, in turn, help the Cameroon Baptist Convention seminaries as they seek local accreditation. It will also help the schools enhance their capacity to serve the students at their seminaries in Cameroon.
We are excited about what God is doing through this partnership and feel privileged to help steward these students through their customized journey of discipleship and theological education. Stewardship takes many forms. In this instance, we were invited to steward a relationship with important partners in the work to which God has called us. We thank God for the opportunity to learn alongside our Cameroon Doctor of Ministry students and to host them in Sioux Falls the past two weeks. My prayer is that we continue to steward this partnership well!