Co-Laborers: The Value of Working with Other Seminaries
October 14, 2019
October is a busy month for Sioux Falls Seminary, the network of partners engaged in the Kairos Project, and me personally!
Between October 1 and October 31, members of our community will be in Canada, all four times zones in the contiguous US, Germany, Dubai, Ethiopia, and Colombia (and I am sure I am missing something). I have the privilege of being in each of those places over the course of the month. We decided I would share a few blog posts throughout the month to provide a glimpse into what God is doing.
Let me begin by giving you a rundown of the topics for the month. First, we are going to talk a bit about the value of working in partnership with other seminaries. Next, we will look at the role we are playing in helping leaders from countries around the world think about leadership from a biblical perspective while seeing what Kairos looks like in Dubai. The following post will start a conversation about innovation in theological education and share some of the doors God is opening in that area. Finally, we will learn from our friends in Colombia who are pioneers in ministry and are inviting people to participate in Kairos.
I am typing this article while sitting in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, the home of our newest partner seminary, Evangelical Seminary. While here, I (along with several members of the team at Sioux Falls Seminary) were also participating via Zoom in meetings related to the accreditation site visit for Taylor Seminary, our long-term partner and fellow NAB seminary in Edmonton. In between Zoom meetings with Taylor Seminary, meetings with staff, faculty, board members, and students at Evangelical Seminary, I was in conversation with colleagues at Sioux Falls Seminary as we prepare for the upcoming Kairos Gatherings in Sioux Falls, Dubai, and Colombia.
In the midst of the exciting movement of each day, I was consistently reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:9 and how we are co-laborers in the work God is doing. It was such a blessing to sit across from people like Phil and Sarah Bollinger, who teach in the biblical studies department at Evangelical Seminary and to hear them describe what a joy it is to see students come alive when they discover something new in the Scripture they love so dearly or hold the handle of a jar that was used in the time of King Hezekiah (as Phil Bollinger describes the Dorsey Museum at Evangelical Seminary) or hear David Williams, who serves as the President at Taylor Seminary, describe the partnership between our seminaries as something that enhances the mission of Taylor.
The network of partners within the Kairos Project spans the globe, and it is humbling to think about the resources God has provided throughout the network. When we see ourselves a co-laborers, as opposed to competitors, so much more is possible. Such collaboration allows the people of God to actively participate in a fresh and contextualized expression of the kingdom that honors the important heritage of that location while supporting, enhancing, and enriching the community as a whole.
I believe partnership and collaboration of this nature is a picture of the kingdom. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” and our calling is to steward those resources as we participate in God’s kingdom mission. As schools, ministries, churches, disciples engaged in the development of servants who participate in the transformational work of God in Christ we have been blessed resources beyond our wildest dreams. To see that reality, we must embrace the fact that those resources are distributed throughout the world. Our job is to work together as stewards rather than to compete with each other in an effort to stake our ground or claim something as “ours.”
This week has been a prime example of what it looks like when God’s people put their focus and energy into THE kingdom rather than on building their own!