Engaging Our City
Sajan Mathews, professor of systematic theology, Moody Theological Seminary
Moody Theological Seminary (MTS), located in the heart of downtown Chicago and reaching out through Moody Radio, has engaged the hearts of people of Christian faith working in the various professions in our city. We have drawn them to campus through a series of eight luncheon lectureships in 2014-15. An average of about 110 people attended each lecture. These lectureships have provided great opportunity for leaders in business, finance, and academia to share their life stories, including how they integrated faith and work in their professions. They encourage, motivate, and challenge students, faculty, staff, pastors, and people in varied professions to integrate faith, work, and economics in their fields of service.
The interest generated through these lectureships is now harnessed by MTS and channeled into a new non-degree certificate course, beginning in August 2015, on the integration of faith, work, and economics. This course is offered to all interested applicants of Christian faith, especially to pastors and pastoral major students. This is in addition to all entering students being introduced to faith and work themes in the first two courses common to all MTS programs, and a full degree certificate integrating faith, work, and economics – the Certificate in Vocational Stewardship – and Vocational Stewardship tracks in the Master of Arts and Master of Divinity Degree in Ministry Leadership.
In 2015-2016, MTS plans to further diversify the lecture audience while also targeting specific audiences. At least four of the planned lectureships will be industry specific, with topics and audiences drawn from fields like building and architecture, business and legal, services and health care, and media and fine arts. The speaker at each lectureship will be a recognized leader who is integrating faith and work in the workplace. The idea of all these efforts is to call all people to a whole-life discipleship – at worship, work, and “for the life of the world.”
Ken Magnuson, professor of Christian ethics, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Among the initiatives at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for 2015, we have started reading groups for students and faculty. We have two student reading groups, each with 10 students and led by one of our faculty. This has been an excellent opportunity for our faculty to shepherd students in thinking biblically about work, economics, and related issues. Each group meets every two to three weeks during the semester to discuss several resources, including “Commonsense Economics” by James Gwartney, et. al.; The Wall Street Journal, for which each student was given a 15-week subscription; and select podcasts chosen from EconTalk, NPR’s Planet Money, and Freakonomics Radio. The response from students and faculty leaders has been excellent.
The other reading group consists of 10 faculty members from a wide spectrum of disciplines, including theology, New Testament, philosophy, ethics, biblical theology, missions, evangelism, education, and business. Our faculty group meets two to three times each semester to share a meal and discuss a variety of texts dealing with work and economics. The first text was “Commonsense Economics.” Texts to follow include “When Helping Hurts” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert; “Work Matters” by Tom Nelson; “Business for the Glory of God” by Wayne Grudem; and various Oikonomia Network publications. Following our initial meeting, we have already had inquiries about next year’s reading group!