We asked leading Oikonomia Network faculty to share their experiences in programs that integrate whole-life discipleship, fruitful work and economic wisdom. These brief video testimonies provide fruitful models and lessons learned.
Nathan Hitchcock describes Sioux Falls Seminary’s syllabus integration plan. The program asked faculty to take 10-20 hours to discover how their existing scholarly interests intersected with work and economic topics, where their classes already intersected with these themes and how they could go further. Resources were provided for the professors to build off their strengths and to discover new possible intersections for their classes. This program provided data on faith and work integration in classes and also lead to faculty being more invested in these topics.
Scott Rae describes the integration of faith, vocation, and economic wisdom into the spiritual formation track at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology. Every Talbot student takes a module on these themes at least once through online education. At the end of the mandatory spiritual formation track, students go on a capstone retreat to reflect on what God has been teaching them regarding their calling and vocation.
Larry Ward describes the church and entrepreneurship program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Students invited potential entrepreneurs from their congregations to join them in the course. The program involved teaching what it means to be an entrepreneur, the ethics of entrepreneurship, best practices and the skills that entrepreneurship involve. It invited business leaders to mentor students and help them write a business plan. On the final day of the class the students would present their plan to the class. The best students out of the cohort then received seed funding to pursue their plan, and a number of businesses – from a cosmetics store to providing landscaping services – emerged from this course.
Charlie Self shares four insights Assemblies of God Theological Seminary has gleaned from the its work connecting seminary to church, Sunday to Monday, and all of life to God’s mission in the world in its educational practices. He describes how the seminary can be a publishing resource for the larger denomination on both a popular and academic level, the need to establish a connection between discipleship and evangelism, the necessity of keeping the primacy of the local church in mind, and listening to denominational and network leaders in order to appropriately address ministry needs in the school.
Eddy Shigley describes Indiana Wesleyan University’s business internship for School of Theology and Ministry students. He shares about the practical portions of the program, the five learning outcomes of the internship, how it is essential that future pastors be able to relate and support business people and understand the role of business in promoting of the flourishing of its community.