As I sit in my office, the returning and new students create a real buzz of excitement and energy around the Seminary – at least I think it’s the students and not the coffee! Seriously, new semesters always generate significant vitality – new relationships, new encounters with God, new ideas, new ministry opportunities, new hope. A new semester breathes hope that God’s Kingdom work is alive and progressing.
I think Northwest’s essential business is generating hope in God. We accomplish this by equipping kingdom leaders who possess this hope in Jesus personally and know how to share it with others to build communities of hope. So many things that destroy hope happen in our world– war, famine, evil leadership, criminal activity, deceitful relationships, and disease. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace, restores goodness, destroys evil, empowers healthy relationships and eventually promises us a new, resurrected body! So I look forward to Northwest’s sixty-eighth year of hope-generating ministry.
One of the challenges I have as President is to keep Northwest, entering its sixty-eighth year of ministry, fresh and relevant. It is easy to keep doing the same things and using the same methods to equip leaders, but new times require new approaches. This new academic year we are focusing our energies:
- to offer more of our leadership development courses on line. This will increase accessibility, dissolving the geographical barriers that prevent many from benefiting;
- to revise our primary pastoral training degree so that key pastors can be involved more significantly with us to equip emerging leaders. The co-op model of education is being considered;
- to provide more initial ministry leadership development training in the churches.
A new initiative I personally am developing is the workshop entitled “Doing God’s Business: A Theology of Work.” This is offered Friday and Saturday, November 7-8, 2008 at the Fosmark Centre (TWU Campus). You can register for this on our website (right hand column, click on the date November 7-8).
Another significant initiative is being led by Dr. Lyle Schrag, the director of our Fellowship Leadership Centre. He will be working with our students to help them discern more clearly their calling in ministry and helping them to assess their progress towards achieving the goal. You might describe it as a ministry coaching process.
And then, related more to biblical research, we are hosting a major international conference on the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), September 18-20, 2008. A public session (Thursday evening, September 18) will be held in the Northwest Auditorium (TWU Campus), beginning at 7:30pm. There will be good music, along with several presentations related to the Septuagint Institute and its significance, as well as presentations by the general editors of the New English Translation of the Septuagint, published by Oxford University Press. I personally contributed the translation of Exodus in this volume.
I would encourage you take a look at our website and make use of the resources that are there. Dr. Schrag’s notes on church leadership, Mark Naylor’s contributions about cross-cultural ministry challenges, the frequent blogs about many aspects of Christian life, and the biblical and preaching resources are helpful.
As the summer gently shifts into the autumn season, I trust that you will be energized in your relationship with Jesus. Perhaps now is the time to take action and refresh your walk with God. Courses or workshops can be a stimulating way to engage this.