As we continue to consider what it means for Sioux Falls Seminary to walk alongside others as they become fully alive in Christ, it is important to focus on how the seminary serves the community of Sioux Falls. A few weeks ago we shared our conviction for developing servants to participate in the kingdom mission by helping them “use whatever gift [they] have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). This requires us to recognize that Sioux Falls Seminary is part of a wider system. One of the wider systems in which we operate is the city of Sioux Falls.
When I reflect upon the ways in which the seminary is serving the city of Sioux Falls, I am always reminded of the fact that various parts of Sioux Falls Seminary are woven into almost every aspect of the city. We are woven throughout the education, ministry, nonprofit, business, and government sectors of the city are graduates, current students, and specific initiatives related to this seminary.
I could go on and on about the various students and graduates who are woven into the fabric of this community, but allow me to focus on just a few. Andrew Hille, is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with a private practice in Sioux Falls. He is also on staff at Sanford Hospital. Andrew is currently enrolled in a Master’s program at Sioux Falls Seminary. He remarked, “Through my theological education at Sioux Falls Seminary, my faith has increased. As my faith increases, my compassion for my patients increases and makes me a more capable surgeon. My theological education impacts every aspect of my life.”
Lin Van Hofwegen, Managing Director of Dakotas America, a community and economic development entity, recently graduated from our Training in Spiritual Direction program. About her time in the seminary, Lin shared “We tend to bifurcate our lives into our work life, family life, our church life and that just doesn’t really work. My theological education is helping me to become a better leader in my work, family, and church.”
Finally, Donn Hill, President of GreatLife Golf and Fitness, is a wonderful example of the ways in which Sioux Falls Seminary is connected to several aspects of the city. Donn began his journey at the seminary while he was Fire Chief of Sioux Falls. Over the course of several years, he was often asked what theological education had to do with firefighting and his simple remark was, “It has everything to do with it!” Now, in his role at Great Life, Donn believes his time in seminary continues to be foundational to his work. He remarked, “Coming from a business perspective, if you want someone who really understands how to treat people and how to do things right and out of character, a theological education is perfect for that.”
Obviously, the seminary is serving the community through the educational journey it provides to its students. However, we believe the seminary, as an institution, should take an active role in Sioux Falls. In this way, the seminary serves not only through its graduates or students, but also through the efforts it makes as a local community of faith.
Throughout the city, God is doing great work through various people and organizations. Sioux Falls Seminary is involved in several of these activities, but let us focus on Empower Sioux Falls. Highlighted in this article from the Argus Leader, Empower Sioux Falls is an organization that strives to bring local Christian churches together to significantly increase the impact of the Church in bringing hope to those in poverty. As a seminary, we work with Empower Sioux Falls in the area of education. I had the privilege of being on the steering committee for the organization and am excited about the possibilities is provides.
Below is a video that summarizes our focus on serving the city of Sioux Falls. Over the next few weeks, you will have the opportunity to hear from Andrew Hille, Lin Van Hofwegen, Donn Hill, and other seminary graduates as we share their stories in our Story Center.