Academic Year in Review
June 8, 2020
As we come to the end of an academic year, it signals a few things. First, it means we are moving into our “development” season wherein we work on new features and improvements for Kairos in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Second, it means we take a moment to reflect on what God has done over the past academic year. It is in looking back that we are able to take account for God’s work and our stewardship of the opportunities and resources entrusted to us. Finally, it is a time to turn the page – to look toward what God might be calling us into in the coming year. In the paragraphs that follow, I am going to focus on stewardship and where we might be heading.
While there are probably a number of words that could be used to describe the past year, given the events of the past few months and weeks, I doubt many of us would use positive words. We are no doubt in a trying, heartbreaking, and challenging season. I do not want to gloss over that reality.
At the same time, as I look back over the past twelve months, I am simultaneously amazed by God’s provision and humbled by the responsibility going forward. This past year, the roughly 450 students enrolled in Kairos collectively borrowed a total of about $40,000 to pay for tuition. Just six years ago, with roughly 150 students, that number was over $1,000,000. That means total borrowing has decreased by over 96%, and the average amount borrowed per student went from just under $7,000 per year to just under $90. That is something to celebrate.
We have seen amazing things in the lives of our students who are thriving in their vocational contexts, a growing number of partners, and an expanding list of Jesus followers who are inviting us to walk with them on their journeys of discipleship. In short, despite the trying season in which we find ourselves, Kairos is in a better place than it was twelve months ago (which was a better place than it was the twelve months before that)!
As we shift our attention toward the next twelve months, and during this time in particular, our attention is focused on how we can serve others because, by God's grace, we were positioned well for this season given the changes we made six years ago. I believe we are “positioned well” for two very important reasons: 1) we have partners who are excited to join us on this journey, and 2) Kairos is designed to encourage new ways of being.
Today, Kairos is comprised of four “legacy” partners: Sioux Falls Seminary, Taylor Seminary, Evangelical Seminary, and Biblical Life Institute School of Ministry. Together, we are forging a new path in theological education, perhaps even higher education more broadly. As a first-of-its-kind collaboration, we are able to make theological even more affordable, accessible, and relevant while remaining faithful to the transformational essence of theological education and the unshakeable truth of God’s word. Doing so, will require us to steward well the opportunities God has provided through Kairos. These opportunities invite us to fully embrace a new way of being.
What is that new way of being?
Over the next few months, we will describe this new way of being first by looking at Romans and then by diving into some of the foundational principles of Kairos – the things that make it what it is. As you walk with us over the next several months, my prayer is that you are encouraged by what is possible when we integrate faith and learning in ways that honor the context, heritage, and vocation of a student – rather than superimposing definitions or experiences that come from one particular context.
We begin next week! Be sure to come back and see what David Williams has to say about Romans and Paul’s invitation to a new way of being!