October 28, 2013

Partnering with Churches

            I have the best job in the world!  Yesterday I was privileged to preach at Friendship Baptist Church, a vibrant African American congregation ably led by Central alumnus, Pastor James Terrance.  Other graduates of Central, notably Rev. Debra Sermons and Rev. Reggie Mitchell, are capable congregational leaders.
            The emphasis of the final Sunday of the month was on youth and children’s ministries.   Not only did they fill the choir and offer joyful praise, they also led in responsive Scripture reading.  The most moving part of the service was a time of prayer for them.  Standing in the altar, surrounded by the deacons and ministers of the church, the youth received the intercession and blessing of the church.  It was powerful witness to their concern for these in their care.

            The words Paul wrote to the Thessalonians are apt for Friendship:
We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.  Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith . . . (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4).
            Though hardly in the apostolic category, I must boast of this good church.  It is on the move, and Central benefits from a strong relationship with Friendship.
The church and theological school must partner.  Formation for ministry works best when seminaries and churches are closely aligned in the calling and nurturing of congregational leaders. 
            Recently, pastors and youth leaders have been gathering at Central to discuss how to cultivate a “culture of calling” in our churches.  Churches are always in need of good leadership, and we have been probing the question: “are we doing all that we should to prepare a new generation?”  Central desires to be of assistance in equipping youth leaders with the theological insights about nurturing calling as well as practical actions that will allow such a calling to flourish.

            On November 16th, Kaleo will convene at Central, an event for youth and their leaders.  It is a way that the seminary can support the good work churches are doing with adolescents.  A priority for Central, this conference sows seeds for the future of the church.
            Paul offers further words to the church at Thessalonica:
            . . . we pray continually that God will make you worthy of the call, fulfill all
            your desires for goodness, and empower all your works of faith (v. 11).
            May it be so for Friendship Baptist Church, as well as all the churches with whom Central partners.

            Molly T. Marshall

            Central works in collaboration with teaching churches.  To learn more, continue visiting our website.

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