In the midst of both a changing educational landscape and the current COVID-19 crisis, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) is moving forward on a variety of fronts with her commitment to preparing leaders with the vision and skills of discipleship and mission that integrate faith with work and economic wisdom.
All AGTS syllabi include outcomes related to work and the economy. Professors are educating with all dimensions of the human person, the local church and the common good in mind.
Students enrolled in our accelerated 4+1 program for pastoral preparation are being well-mentored from their freshman year through their master’s degree and graduation. The mentoring relationships include foci on personal wholeness, leadership development, and integration of economics and work. Program Director Michael Jaffe and his faculty team are leading a transformation of ministry preparation.
AGTS is preparing the inaugural Faith, Work and Economic Wisdom Symposium for 2021. It will engage the seminary and university with symposia and workshops from a variety of disciplines. Enthusiasm is strong among all the academic departments. Seminary Vice-President and Dean Tim Hager is leading this initiative as part of a long-term plan for positioning AGTS as a leading institution in the faith and work space, serving global leaders, movements and networks.
This moment of crisis is an opportunity for local churches and ministry agencies to recalibrate discipleship with focus on outcomes over programs, real change in people over church activity. AGTS professors, in consultation with hundreds of leaders, have developed the Discipleship Dynamics Assessment™ – the first biblically grounded and empirically validated tool that assesses a believer’s life in all five dimensions. Spiritual formation, personal wholeness, heathy relationships, vocational clarity, and economics and work are integrated. Individuals receive an 11-12-page report. If a leader invites a group to use the assessment, a dashboard is available (while retaining personal privacy) so that the strengths and weaknesses of the community are clear. Students and thousands of users have found this very helpful. Pastors are beginning to see this as a snapshot of opportunity to resource, not a report card.
Another exciting development are the number of doctoral dissertations and projects that include integration of work and the economy. Two recent D.Min. graduates have integrated the aforementioned assessment into their reimagining and transforming local church discipleship and outreach. Several recent graduates of the AGTS Intercultural Studies DAIS and Ph.D. programs have included serious research and reflection on the economic issues of mission and ministry around the world. Several leaders enrolled in doctoral programs are using their new understanding and piloting new initiatives in their communities.
AGTS is listening to church leaders across the nation, and the time is now for the integration of faith with work and economic wisdom. The seminary is working with other agencies and helping church leaders disciple their congregants for the new economic realities ahead. Difficult as the times may be, making the case for integration has never been easier.