The Leadership That Transforms the World
With mounting crises in the church and in the world, I thank God for the privilege of serving Columbia Theological Seminary, where we seek to imagine the new thing God is doing through Christís ministry. As we look through chaos in the world, these are among my hopes and prayers for what we do here, now, for our students who will serve Christís church in a new day:
I pray we will guide our students so that they will be held captive, not by anxiety, but by the vision of Christís Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I hope these future leaders of the church will envision Christís ministries, not from within the pathology of the church, but from a public-health model, putting energy and resources into transformative change. I want our students to see themselves not only as chaplains treating the churchís ailments, but also as missionaries working within a community for its health.
I believe that weóthe faculty, staff, and trustees of Columbiaómust be intentional in our efforts to keep the seminary, and what we teach here, relevant to the church. None of us here on the campus is currently serving a congregation as a full-time pastor, so as we set goals for educating clergy we must be in direct communication with church leaders who are serving the church today. We are not here to protect this institution but to serve the vital ministry of Christ in the world.
In setting goals for Columbia, we must reach, with you, beyond the comfort of old paradigms of the church that we know. God is calling us to set new goals, not those we know we can reach and not those based on the assumption that our work here is normative. Columbiaís goals must extend beyond our own limited, personal experience as we witness the work of Christís church in places like Korea and Kenya and Brazil.
Our graduates must be able to serve in the rapidly changing, cross-cultural contexts of Christís ministry. We want them to serve small congregations, but we must also have a vision of our graduates being pastors of growing congregations. We must teach our
students that faithfulness yields fruitfulness, and that their hearts must be open to Godís people throughout the world who are unchurched.
I believe with all my heart that even in this chaotic time, God is doing a new thing. So it has always been, and will always be. May we open our hearts and minds anew to be a part of Godís work as seen in Jesus Christ. This is ministry enacted through passionate love of God and love of each other. This is the leadership that transforms the world.