This month, the Oikonomia Network is making an important transition – and so am I. The network’s national office is moving from The Kern Family Foundation to Trinity International University, and I am going with it! I will be joining the staff of Trinity’s newly created Center for Transformational Churches (CTC) to continue – in a new form – my current role as director of the Oikonomia Network. With profound gratitude to the Kern family and my colleagues at the Foundation, I eagerly look forward to the new opportunities this transition opens up for the important work that all of our partners are doing together.
The Oikonomia Network began in 2010 when the Foundation, building upon a decade of support for seminary education, started making grants to support theological education in the area of work and economics. After six years of effort to build and nurture the community – efforts that have included content creation, event planning, coordinating collaborations across schools, and more – this month the Foundation has made a grant to Trinity that includes the transfer of the national office of the network to the CTC. The ON newsletter, website, etc., will be managed there, as will the national events that bring our community together several times a year. Under the leadership of incoming Faith, Work, and Economics Program Team Leader Josh Good, the Foundation will continue to make grants to seminaries across the country to support ON activities, but it will no longer host the ON’s network-building and content-creation initiatives.
This transition is a testimony to the strength of the work that has been done at all our partner schools over the past six years. Faith, work, and economics programming in these seminaries has matured to the point where the network’s national office no longer needs to be housed within the Foundation. This transition will make it much easier for the whole evangelical church to come alongside us in connecting pastoral ministry to work and the economy.
The Oikonomia Network is not an office at Trinity. The Oikonomia Network is all of us – the over 100 theological educators and 18 major partner schools involved in our community are the network. We are a national community of educators and schools with a shared mission. Leadership roles in our community are distributed across our schools; this model of shared leadership will only grow in the years ahead as we develop deeper and stronger network connections in specific areas, such as discipline-specific networks.
As we have designed this transition over the past summer, we have been greatly helped by the partnership and support of the eight-member committee that plays a leadership role in our national activities. As part of the transition, it is being renamed the Oikonomia Network Steering Committee. The steering committee consists of:
• Chris Armstrong, Wheaton College
• Gerry Breshears, Western Seminary
• Greg Forster, Oikonomia Network & Trinity International U.
• Donald Guthrie, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Trinity International U.)
• P.J. Hill, Wheaton College
• Tom Nelson, Made to Flourish and Christ Community Church
• Scott Rae, Talbot School of Theology (Biola U.)
• Charlie Self, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (Evangel U.)
As always, the members of the committee welcome your questions and suggestions.
As the ON enters this new stage of maturity, I look forward to the opportunities the Lord will open up – both in my own work and in the work all of us are doing. There is no shortage of good work to be done!