October 10, 2011

Co-workers in the Gospel

                Central is humming this morning with D.Min. students from Myanmar and Shawnee, beginning their first seminars, navigating new relationships, and finding common ground as fellow laborers in the work of the Gospel.  In addition the Associated Baptist Press board has gathered here for its meeting.  Our faculty and staff are grateful for opportunities to host generative partners—Myanmar Institute of Theology and ABP—who share our vocation of bearing witness to the transformative power of God.

                A seminary demonstrates its vocation by the way it serves both ecclesial bodies and the larger society, where God is also at work.  As the Central narrative continues to unfold, we affirm that a seminary today must be:

·         Fully engaged in congregational life (the seminary cannot exist without the church)

·         Actively participating in global Christianity (our collaboration with Myanmar Institute of Theology is transforming both institutions)

·         Innovative in curriculum development for a changing world (we must focus on congregational health, entrepreneurial practices, and deeply grounded Christian spirituality: Central’s create program is a prototype for this)

·         Supportive of women in ministry (a test of congregational health is the capacity of churches to embrace women in ministry; relegating the giftedness of women to the sidelines impoverishes the church)

·         Partnering with key congregations in formation for ministry (students cannot learn all the competencies for effective ministry in the classroom; they must also learn contextually from vibrant churches)

Each of these pursuits requires an ever expanding circle of co-workers who care about faithful expressions of God’s mission in the world.  When Paul writes his most beloved congregation (his “joy and crown” Ph. 4:1), the church at Philippi, he names those who have labored alongside him in proclaiming the stunning story of redemption in Christ Jesus.  Three key leaders are identified: Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement.  These faithful sisters and brother multiply apostolic ministry as they live out their calling.  They are models of collaboration—with all its tension and promise.  Learning to be of the same mind in Christ Jesus is the heart of Gospel ministry.  It remains our challenge if we would be co-workers with Christ and with one another.

How wonderful in our day to grow with others in recognizing our interdependence as we embrace the whole world.  Through faithful journalism, digital story-telling, classroom instruction, and table fellowship, we make Christ’s presence known in the world.  Indeed, we tell the Gospel story in new ways.

                Molly T. Marshall

                                To learn more about the global reach of Central, continue visiting our website.



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