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From the Archive: Co-laborers: The Value of Working with Other Seminaries

About this series:

We continue to see more and more people step into a transformational journey of discipleship through Kairos University. It is exciting to see God move in creative and wonderful ways throughout the Kairos community. As we begin a new academic year, we thought it would be good to look back on a few of the blog posts that have been written over the past few years with the goal of reminding us of the commitments, practices, and experiences that inform our work within Kairos. With each post, we will include a reflective commentary from someone in the community.

September 5, 2022

by Gary Bailey, Kairos Executive Partner and President of BLI School of Ministry

 

The following blogpost from 2017 is a great reminder of our early commitment to partnering with others for the sake of the kingdom.

In his post, Partnership: Serving Alongside Others, Greg Henson shared:

A few weeks ago, we began talking about the various types of people that Sioux Falls Seminary is called to serve.  Two areas of emphasis focused on servants who are:

–Pursuing theological education outside of the context of a seminary;
–Looking to develop new models of theological education.

Each of these areas requires the seminary to serve alongside other kingdom-minded ministries, networks, denominations, and seminaries.  In short, it requires partnership.

Partnership is a very important aspect of our work at Sioux Falls Seminary.  We believe God calls us to create integrated systems of theological education by honoring the work others do and recognizing that there is much we can learn from others.  By partnering with others, the wider church is blessed through enhanced access to theological education, which is nothing more than an intense version of discipleship.

Already, Sioux Falls Seminary works with several partners in areas related to courses, program development, teaching, training, fundraising, marketing, technology, student services, and much more.  Going forward, we will continue to expand our number of partnerships by developing relationships with people in the two areas listed above.

For students, partnership creates unique opportunities to specialize their educational journey so that it focuses on their unique calling.  For example, if a student has a desire to focus on missional church leadership, they could take advantage of our partnership with Ethos.  If students are participating through a pastoral development program offered by their denomination, we can partner with them to integrate that program into a certificate or degree program.

Partnerships that we create around things like marketing, student services, or program development enable the seminary to create systems of theological education that are affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.  For instance, our partnership with Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, AB, enables us and Taylor to be more efficient and, as a result, lower the cost of education while also expanding the programs offered at each school.

Developing servants to participate in the kingdom mission by helping them “use whatever gift [they] have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10) requires us to recognize that Sioux Falls Seminary is part of a wider system.  We value that reality and seek to develop robust partnerships for the sake of the kingdom!

One area of excitement for me has been seeing how our combined resources are making a vastly greater impact on theological education than by ourselves. Not only do our reports show this (better enrollment, finances, etc.), but our talent in faculty, counselors, and staff from across the system is truly amazing. We are stronger together than the sum of our individual parts ever was.

This strength from partnering is not simply so we can build a better institution. Rather, our increased strength enables us to better serve students and clients. As an example, our partnership with HGST has brought with it immense talent and diversity. Our partnership with Evangelical has brought with it the richness of the Wesleyan tradition and the opportunity for students to pursue a Doctor of Theology degree. The list could go on.

These benefits for the kingdom, I believe, are the work of God in response to our commitment of partnering with others.

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