ON at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Jessica Chang, Foundation Relations Coordinator
A historic gathering of pastors and congregant leaders from 18 churches took place in May at the 2014 Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) Pastoral Collaboration hosted by Trinity International University and the EFCA National Office. Participants deepened their theology and strengthened their practice by developing a better understanding of faith, work, and economics. Some 72 church and denominational leaders engaged in conversations and heard talks by speakers Tom Nelson (Christ Community Church), Steve Garber (Washington Institute), and Dave Kiersznowski (DEMDACO). Pastors brought at least one congregant leader to participate in discussions about how to integrate the significance of everyday work within their church contexts. Through these catalytic conversations, pastors and congregant leaders together engaged the topic of faith, work, and economics for human flourishing.
In preparation for the conference, each participant received a copy of Nelson’s “Work Matters”; at the conference, participants received copies of Garber’s “Visions of Vocation.” Nelson provided a pastoral perspective for creating a local church culture with a robust theology of faith and work. Kiersznowski shared reflections and best practices as a business leader integrating faith principles in the workplace. Garber encouraged an understanding of vocation as integral and not incidental to God’s mission. Panel discussions throughout the conference helped answer questions and stimulate planning for future gatherings.
As church and denominational leaders strengthened existing and new relationships during this three-day gathering, they also laid the groundwork for regional networks of local churches to advance the faith, work, and economics conversation. Church leaders especially appreciated Fred Oaks’ presentation of grant-receiving opportunities through the Made to Flourish pastors’ network as a way to implement the ideas in their local churches and communities.
ON at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Christopher Hlavacek, Project Coordinator
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is equipping students with an understanding of the intersection of faith, work, and economics through classes, colloquia, and a public forum. What our students are learning through this initiative will help them as they lead local congregations through the practical application of these concepts.
We are offering three classes focused on faith, work, and economics. In addition to serving our students, these classes are being recorded and will be made available for free online through digital education initiatives that are now being built. The courses are: Introduction to Theology & Culture, taught by Bruce Ashford; Doctrine of Vocation, taught by Benjamin Quinn and Walter Strickland; and Economics, Stewardship, and the Common Good, taught by David Jones. The professors are writing a booklet to go along with each course, which can be used in local churches. Our faculty and Ph.D. students are also participating in a number of colloquia associated with the initiative. Previous speakers include David Kotter, Craig Bartholomew, and Scott Rae.
The SEBTS Economic Wisdom initiative will host a three-hour, free public forum on Friday, Oct. 24th. This event, known as The Wisdom Forum, will feature speakers Brian Fikkert, author of “When Helping Hurts” and David Kim, executive director of the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. They will join with Southeastern faculty members Bruce Ashford, David Jones, Tony Merida, Benjamin Quinn, Walter Strickland, and Heath Thomas for a series of brief, engaging talks, addressing the intersection of faith, work, and economics. The event will be streamed live on our website.
For more information about Southeastern’s work with this initiative, contact Provost Bruce Ashford (firstname.lastname@example.org).