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Stewardship Report: The Importance of Encouragement

April 23, 2018

There are approximately 80,000 seminary students in North America spread across more than 270 seminaries.  Despite this the median number of schools that each seminary student applies to is just one.

I think that this is one of the most surprising statistics that we gather from Association of Theological School reports each year.  It should have a profound impact on the way that we think about our work as seminaries.

Seminaries are not competing for students.  Yes, there are some students who apply to many schools, but most are only looking at one school.  Embracing this statistic encourages seminaries to work together and to think differently about meeting the needs of those they are called to serve.  We are all on the same team.  The partnership between Sioux Falls Seminary and Taylor Seminary is a great example of how schools can put students first.  Working together, we are better able to serve the North American Baptist Conference and the needs of students.

So why is it that many students just apply to one seminary?  If you dig a bit deeper into the enrollment data, it points to why students are drawn to the schools they choose.  For some, it is the connection to a church or denomination.  For others, it is the location.  Yet, the number one reason for choosing a seminary is because someone encouraged them to choose that particular school!

Over the last three years, enrollment in the Kairos Project has grown by more than 10 times the size of its original cohort.  With such explosive growth, Sioux Falls Seminary now has students in over 20 states, 4 provinces, and many other places the world.  The majority of this growth comes from students and individuals just like you!

The Kairos Project is more than just a distance learning track.  The Kairos Project, at its core, is a discipleship process.  When students participate, they are invited into a journey of theological education that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.  They move their way through this discipleship process under the supervision of a mentor team, by the direction of faculty, through participation in a community of learning, and alongside a network of people who are actively investing in them throughout the journey.

How you are investing in the lives of those around you?  Are you encouraging the people that God has brought into your life?   Is there someone you need to encourage today?  Every person who applies to Sioux Falls Seminary lists the person who most encouraged them to apply.  This person could be you.

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