Did you know that Sioux Falls Seminary is larger than half of the seminaries in North America? If that comes as a surprise to you, don’t worry because it comes as a surprise to most. Over the past 10 years, the seminary has grown by over 50%. In fact, the number of students in the Master of Divinity program has nearly doubled during that same period of time. How is this happening? The short answer is because of people like you.
About 80% of the students that enroll in a seminary, including Sioux Falls Seminary, first learned about the school because someone they trust told them that they should consider it. The number of students enrolling at Sioux Falls Seminary is increasing because the number of people telling others about the good work that God is doing in and through the seminary is increasing. It seems appropriate at this point to say thank you. Thank you for referring students to this seminary. We thank God for people like you who feel confident in our ministry. It is an exciting place to be. I like to say that God is doing a lot of great things, and we are just trying to keep up!
Keeping up, in this case, is finding ways to continue to serve our students well despite the recent growth. We believe that we are beginning to implement a few best practices that will ensure this is a reality for years to come.
Last week, we shared a little about some of the upcoming changes to our classic educational tracks as they relate to the process of Supervised Ministry. This philosophy is gaining a lot of attention, and we are grateful for the opportunity that we have to walk alongside the students that God brings to Sioux Falls Seminary. Today, I’d like to expand a little on how you might become a part of that process.
As I shared above, most students enroll in seminary because a person they trust saw something in them and encouraged them to consider theological education. Believe it or not, there are many people who trust you and look to you for advice, guidance, and wisdom. My challenge to you is to consider who you know that might be ready to begin the next step in their discipleship journey by enrolling at Sioux Falls Seminary. To help you in this endeavor, let me spend a few moments describing theological education and the ways in which people can be engaged in such a process at this seminary.
At its core, theological education is nothing more than discipleship. There are many ways in which people describe discipleship. I might say discipleship is simply the process of learning to walk in the way of Jesus. It is learning about God, the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work throughout history, the way in which Christ lived that mission and calls us to follow, how the Spirit guides us each day, how we can invite people to experience the Kingdom of God, and how we walk this path with others. With the rise of modernity, the academic component of theological education was given a leading role. So much so that today when people think of theological education, they think of graduate-level degree programs for pastors. Despite that belief, most of the students enrolled in seminary do not plan to be senior pastors in a local church. Don’t get me wrong, many students do plan to take that route, by many more are enrolled in seminary because they are seeking after God and desire to do God’s will.
At Sioux Falls Seminary, we are actively trying to re-center theological education around Jesus. Again, theological education is discipleship. If you or someone you know has a deep desire to know Jesus, follow in his footsteps, and invite others to do the same, then I would suggest enrolling in seminary. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean enrollment in a master’s program.
How to Engage
At Sioux Falls Seminary, we have created several different avenues for students to pursue their passion for following Jesus. Yes, we have master and doctoral level programs, but we also have certificate programs focused on spiritual direction, opportunities for students to pay a significantly reduced cost to take courses for the experience of learning, and even certificate programs that mirror our master’s programs but do not require the same level of work and cost significantly less. Put simply, followers of Christ can enrich their journey of discipleship in the way that best suits their walk with Christ.
Perhaps you know someone that is seeking to deepen their relationship with the living God. Maybe you are that person. I encourage you to consider Sioux Falls Seminary as a way to help you in that process.