By Greg Henson, President Sioux Falls Seminary, and David Williams, President Taylor Seminary
June 24, 2019
This week and next week’s articles will touch on how Sioux Falls Seminary and Taylor Seminary are embracing God’s work within theological education. This short series was originally published by the North American Baptist Conference as part of its fall 2018 issue of Onward Magazine. This week, a brief introduction and an update on the impact of technology within theological education will be provided. Next week, updates on our work in the areas of curriculum and student engagement will be shared.
It has been a great joy to be part of the way God is weaving together Taylor Seminary and Sioux Falls Seminary. These two institutions of the North American Baptist Conference are dedicated to supporting the church in fulfilling her task of teaching disciples to observe all that the Lord commanded them. Although we have taken our own unique paths to get where we are today, our journeys have shared a common trajectory. This is bringing us together and showing us in new but familiar ways that we are better together than we are apart.
Part of the journey of transformation taking place at each school has been to recognize that great strides can be made when we work together in a more integrated and intentional way. By embracing our shared call to walk alongside the church in its work to develop followers of Christ who participate in the Kingdom mission, we are finding ways to focus the journey of theological education on each person and the work of Jesus.
As theological seminaries doing our work in North America at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many of our core practices have been shaped by the same cultural forces that have shaped institutional life in general. However, as we all know, these cultural forces are changing dramatically. This reality is forcing both of our institutions to change. We embrace these changes and believe they are the work of God transforming us for the sake of the church.
Through this process, God is calling us to be better stewards of the resources that are provided to us, to be more attentive to the vocations of all the people of God—not just pastors and professional church leaders—and to make the resources collected at our institutions more accessible to those outside of our regions. Three areas in particular are setting the stage for a bright future: technology, curriculum, and student engagement.
Technology is an important aspect in all forms of education. A portion of the NAB Reach campaign was designated for Taylor Seminary and Sioux Falls Seminary for improvements in this area. Together, each seminary has worked hard to find ways for technology to enhance or support the journey of discipleship that we are creating for students.
At Taylor, these changes are taking place in a variety of ways. Upgraded technology has been added to both Stencel Hall and the classrooms. These renovations are enabling Taylor to work with students and event Sioux Falls Seminary & Taylor Seminary participants around the world. These upgrades align with similar technology already in place at Sioux Falls. As a result, it is creating opportunities for students at both schools to be in class together despite the distance between them.
With technological hardware and infrastructure in place, Sioux Falls is focused on developing software to better serve students locally and around the world. Beginning this fall, a segment of people engaged in the Kairos Project will use software that Sioux Falls helped develop. This unique software was designed from the ground up to support competency-based theological education. It is setting the stage for better interaction with and support of students engaged in a discipleship journey through theological education.
Please join us next week to learn more about our work in the areas of curriculum and student engagement.