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01
Apr

Wholesome Formation

Posted by on in General Secretary's Blog
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Wholesome Formation

Easter is the crowning celebration of the Christian year and Easter Day is a time of great rejoicing. How tragic is it that on such a day children playing in a park in Lahore, Pakistan became the target of an act of terrorism.

The attack in Lahore, the terrorist attacks in Beirut, Lebanon; Paris, France; Maiduguri, Nigeria; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Ankara and Istanbul in Turkey; Damascus, Syria; Brussels, Belgium and Baghdad, Iraq, are among the recent acts of violence that show how far human beings have lost "the milk of human kindness." These events show that, all too often, respect for the dignity of the other and for each person's right to life is vanishing fast. Still, how we respond to situations of rampant inhumanity signifies whether we have sunk to the same level as the purveyors of hate and the destroyers of life.

Persons called to exercise leadership in the church need to benefit from formation that cultivates in them the passion to rightly value others and to practice the ministry of reconciliation. Recently, I visited one institution that provides this kind of formation – the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky (BSK)

The BSK is a closely-knit family of faculty, administrators, staff and students committed to:

preparing men and women sensing God’s leadership for life and ministry in faithful witness to Jesus Christ in the church and the world.” The BSK Master of Divinity program strives “to integrate the best insights of the Christian academy with a commitment to nurturing spiritual formation and a theological imagination for the practice of ministry. Students gain a knowledge and understanding of Christian scripture, history, theology, and practice that is substantial and relevant to ministerial vocations; through sustained theological reflection on ministerial identity and contexts; and they learn to live their witness through the cultivation of habits, practices, and skills for leading and directing persons in faithful Christian living.

Started in 2002 and accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, BSK is likely to grow rapidly as more and more persons who discern a vocation for the Christian ministry learn about the opportunity it provides.  

In welcoming those who visit BSK, President Greg Earwood states: “You will experience the bond of shared learning. We have professor-scholars whose expertise in their fields of study is evident…. They create an environment in which students and faculty members interact, dialog, and learn together. You will discover that seminary education is more than information; it also involves formation.”

For the seminary to form servant leaders who love and respect others and who are committed to contribute to the maintenance of social harmony – among other priorities – it needs first to seek to be the community its  students would desire to replicate wherever they serve – the kind of community every church needs to exemplify.

The more people see communities of Christ-followers modeling the love and transformation that Jesus both enables, the more they will recognize the worth and attractiveness of a life marked by other-regarding love and readiness to forgive the offender.  Our institutions need to help people discover that life is to be lived not in the shadow of individualism but in the embrace of a glorious communitarian spirit. We give God thanks for communities that help form persons in wholesome ways.

 

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Neville George Callam, a Jamaican, has been serving as general secretary and chief executive officer of the Baptist World Alliance since his election in Accra, Ghana in 2007.

Comments

  • Guest
    Pr. Pedro Alves Cardoso - Sao Paulo - Brazil Friday, 01 April 2016

    Be glorified our God by by careful with our brethren in persecuted places

  • Guest
    Chekrovei Cho-o Friday, 01 April 2016

    Thank you, sir, for your incredible articles, they're very enlightening. I've benefited a lot by reading your aticles. Looking forward to more of your articles.

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