Stewardship Report: Opportunities for Innovation, Pt. 1

Stewardship Report: Opportunities for Innovation, Pt. 1

July 31, 2017

Each year, God provides roughly $3 million in financial resources to Sioux Falls Seminary.  God also blesses us with the provision of administration, faculty, therapists, and board members who are invested in our kingdom calling, physical space, and a vast array of opportunities and relationships.  One can easily say that God has abundantly provided Sioux Falls Seminary with significant resources.  The questions before us are then, “How are we stewarding these resources?”  “Are we faithfully pursuing the call placed on this seminary?”  “Are we fully embracing the opportunities we are given?”

I think the simple answer is yes.  Today, I want to share a glimpse of how we are embracing these opportunities.  To put it another way, I want to describe how Sioux Falls Seminary is stewarding God’s gift of an innovative spirit and an entrepreneurial approach to theological education, integrative counseling, and partnership creation.  We will divide this conversation into two parts.  First, we will look at our seminary team and how we are stewarding the opportunities that God has provided.  Next week, we will look at theological education and integrative counseling.

At Sioux Falls Seminary, we are called to create systems of theological educational and integrative counseling that are affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.  Each portion of this phrase is important, and each portion has a deep impact on our team and our focus on partnerships.

If we are called to develop “systems” of theological education and integrative counseling, then we must be committed to thinking beyond ourselves and the work that happens at 2100 S. Summit Avenue in Sioux Falls, SD.  Systems involve multiple components that function together as a complex whole.  Such work requires a commitment to developing kingdom-minded partnerships.  We will share much more information about these partnerships in the weeks ahead.  Today, I want to talk about how our administration, faculty, therapists, and board members have embraced our call to develop these systems.

It is not easy to embrace opportunities for innovation or to consistently apply entrepreneurial thinking, especially in an institution that is nearly 160 years old and embedded in an industry defined by tradition.  Nonetheless, our team does this each day.  That is not to say that it is easy or that everyone loves doing it each day.  Rather, I am saying that our team knows we have been given unique opportunities to be innovative, and we are committed to stewarding these opportunities well.

Doing so requires a commitment to ongoing change, learning new ways of being and doing, and living into adjustments in daily tasks, or even historical roles, in the work of the seminary.  Every time I am asked how our seminary has been able to make so many changes it in such a short amount of time, my clear response has always been that we have an amazing group of people engaged in the work.  Our administration, faculty, therapists, and board members are distinctive in their commitment to stewarding well God’s provision of opportunities for innovation.

As a result, we now have students in over twenty-five states and on five continents.  Enrollment in our Master of Divinity program has more than doubled, and our counseling center is growing so fast that we have to think creatively about maximizing office space.  More importantly, students and clients are experiencing hope like never before.  The primary way through which we measure our work is not in how many people are served but in how well people are served.

In a context that consistently adapts to the world around it, serving students and clients well requires a group of people committed to developing relationships and embracing the opportunities that lay beneath challenges. Indeed, we are stewarding those well, and I am thankful to be part of this group of people.

Come back next week to hear some specific examples of the opportunities for innovation and creative thinking that we have addressed.