Central’s time of hosting students and faculty from Myanmar Institute of Theology is coming to a close. We have celebrated the growing partnership between our institutions in these two weeks of collaborative Doctor of Ministry seminars. Central students are learning to see the world through new eyes, and students from Myanmar (Burma) are engaging the challenges of Christian witness in America with new insight. In both countries the church is experiencing rapid change. Doctor of Ministry students are on the front lines as transformative leaders, and the work of the churches will be re-vitalized.
A conversation over lunch with one of the MIT students touched me deeply yesterday. I inquired about visiting his area of the country when I travel there next. He said: “Mum, you cannot visit my area. It is not safe (because of armed conflict) and it is in the jungle. Yet, he continued, you are touching my area—indeed, all of Myanmar—through MIT.” This is Central’s vocation: to nurture leaders who will work for the common good in their contexts of ministry. The D.Min. students from MIT are not only ecclesial leaders; they are also principals and instructors in Bible colleges, serving to shape another generation of Christian ministers.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review, “How Great Companies Thinking Differently,” says that if the desire is to build enduring institutions, companies (I substitute seminaries) must invest in the future while being aware of the needs of people and society. A theological school cannot be abstracted from the churning agenda of global commerce and concerns of social justice. Rather, it must be thoroughly immersed (a good Baptist metaphor!) in these pressing realities if its mission would be relevant. Central is growing in its awareness of the needs of sisters and brothers in Myanmar.
Discerning a common purpose with MIT continues to call Central into new ways of regarding Baptist identity, global Christianity, and public witness. The words of Paul in First Thessalonians 2:8 convey our mutual feelings: “So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” We give thanks for funding from the Luce Foundation which allows our theological schools to work together in forming leaders for the church that bears witness to the resurrecting power of the gospel.
Molly T. Marshall
Continue to visit our website to learn of other global expressions of Central’s mission.