As part of its mission to develop servants for their participation in the kingdom mission, Sioux Falls Seminary believes it is important to collaborate with others who share this passion.
Collaboration is, and always has been, an important aspect of theological education. Over the years, it has taken several different forms, and each generation is tasked with developing new and effective models of collaboration that serve students, the church, and all the various stakeholders within a system of theological education.
In 2015, Sioux Falls Seminary began reimagining what it might look like to build partnerships. Today, the school’s Statement of Strategic Direction reads:
We work efficiently, develop people, and empower fresh and collaborative expressions of theological education and integrated counseling. In order to provide systems of theological education and integrated counseling, we must have best-in-class operational efficiency and effectiveness. With that as our foundation, we are positioned to meet people where they are and move them through affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful journeys of personal development to where God is calling them to be. By maintaining high levels of efficiency and effectiveness in this work, we create margin for investing in strategic alliances that shape the future of integrated counseling and theological education, thereby empowering disruptive innovation across the industry.
In order to invite others into this conversation, Sioux Falls Seminary secured funding from In Trust. These funds allowed the seminary to facilitate a gathering of several evangelical schools at which “large-scale non-geographically bound collaboration” was discussed. Out of that meeting have come several important developments, and more connections are being made every day.
Behind all of this is the biblical principle of collaboration seen in 1 Corinthians 3:9. We are mere “co-workers in God’s service.” The focus is not on Sioux Falls Seminary, what we own, or who we are. The focus is on working with others to make known the Kingdom of God. In fact, we do not seek partners as out of necessity for growth. Rather, we get to know those the Spirit leads to us. We hear their heart for God's work and Kingdom to see if it aligns with who we are and what God has called us to do and be. If that goes well, we begin talking about how we might partner together.
Today, Sioux Falls Seminary has three types of partners: Legacy, Collaborating, and Operational.
Legacy Partners are unique among the various forms of collaboration pursued by Sioux Falls Seminary in that they are institutions that have ceded management and governance to Sioux Falls. Like a school within a university or a brand within a larger company, a Legacy Partner becomes part of Sioux Falls Seminary. All assets, governance, operations, programs, etc., are managed by Sioux Falls Seminary who is committed to maintaining the heritage, unique identity, and stakeholders of each Legacy Partner. In each case, a Legacy Partner joined the network because it felt the best way to fulfill its mission was to pursue it in partnership with a community committed to a similar vision.
Our current Legacy Partners include: Taylor Seminary, Evangelical Seminary, and BLI School of Ministry. For more information about these specific partnerships, how they impact students and stakeholders, and pertinent legal arrangements for them, see our Legacy Partnership Transparency Report listed below.
The most common partner in the Kairos Network, Collaborating Partners work with the Network in several different ways ranging from marketing and promotion (which is most common) to sharing courses, degrees, and human resources to leveraging the Kairos Project to provide affordable, accessible, and accredited journeys of education built around the unique expertise of the partner. Many options exist within this category which means an organization’s participation in the Kairos Network can often be customized to fit its needs.
A few current Collaborating Partners include: Cascade School of Theology, Emmanuel Academies, Gospel Depth, Every Nation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Avance, Transforming Center, VantagePoint3, NAIITS, Canadian Baptist Seminary, North American Baptist Conference, and Dinner Church Collective.
Finally, Operational Partners are related to many of the back-end office functions of education. In some cases, partnership means sharing costs with another organization or working together to provide a service to students. In other cases, it means finding ways to reduce costs by sharing services or software packages.
Our current Operational Partners include: Augustana University, Digital Theological Library, and Symporus.
The Legacy Partner Transparency Reprt shares details on implications for students, Legacy Partner faculty, Legacy Partner academic offerings, expertise and tradition integration, new program development, and implications for external constituencies of Legacy Partners.