In a few short weeks, I will be participating in my second graduation ceremony here at Sioux Falls Seminary. It has been amazing to serve alongside our faculty, staff, therapists, board members, and students during the seemingly short period of time I have been here. God is moving in powerful ways in and through Sioux Falls Seminary, and we have the privilege to participate in that work.
At times, participating in God’s work can seem daunting because we are not sure we have anything to give. At other times, we think the only thing that people “give” is money and are, therefore, limited in our understanding of stewardship and participation.
Over the next three months, we are going to focus on 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Rev. Dr. Gary Hoag, an expert in biblical stewardship, will dive into the scripture and share with us his insights. We will look at how we are stewarding the resources God has given us as a seminary, and we will see how God is working through givers, students, and other members of the seminary community to pursue his mission.
You see, stewardship is about what you have, not what you don’t have. Often times “stewardship campaigns” are [not-so] clever disguises for fundraising campaigns, complete with all the transactional language one might find in sales management. We try to “sell” an idea and hope that people will “buy” it with their giving. This couldn’t be further from the biblical ideals of stewardship.
1 Peter 4:10 says nothing about money and has anything but a single focus. Stewardship is simply about serving others by using whatever God has given you. It is about a mindset that places ownership of everything in its rightful place, in God’s dominion. We do not own anything, but rather have been granted the right to steward that which God has given us. Stewardship, therefore, extends into every facet of our lives and every corner of our system of theological education at Sioux Falls Seminary.
With that truth in mind, we must think differently about all that we do. Leadership, building maintenance, ministry service, strategic planning, and much more become acts of stewardship! As President of Sioux Falls Seminary, I believe it is important to be held personally accountable for the stewardship of my gifts as well as the gifts God has given Sioux Falls Seminary. It is for this reason that we want to spend the next three months sharing with you how we are stewarding all that God has given us. At the same time, we want to challenge and encourage you to consider how God might be calling you to steward the gifts he has given you.