September 24, 2012
Bold Moves in Theological Education
What's Next now!
Earlier this month my friend and colleague, Stephen Lewis, President of the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), announced
that the vast majority of FTE's generous fellowships are under review during a strategic planning process of the board and staff. For almost six decades FTE has cultivated new generations of diverse leaders in the church and the theological academy, but now is a time to step back before stepping forward. Fellowships currently in place will not be impacted nor will the popular Volunteers Exploring Vocation program.
I'm a big fan of FTE, especially how it operates as a think tank and active force in the North American church and theological education world. In full disclosure, I was elected to the board last year and have been honored to be a part of the conversation and visioning process. Now when people confuse the TEF, the Theological Education Fund
of the PC(USA), with the FTE, the Fund for Theological Education, I can honestly say I work to support both of them!
FTE's bold move to press the pause button, get in the balcony
, and gain a clearer vision for the future is something I am seeing happening all across the church and theological education world. Some call it strategic planning, others organizational discernment, still others visioning, goal setting, and establishing mission priorities or directions. Whatever it's called, an organizational and personal reorientation is required.
In my office and world, we are preparing for the Committee on Theological Education (COTE) meeting next month at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. We are celebrating over two hundred years in theological education in the Presbyterian Church this year that began at Princeton
and Union Presbyterian
Theological Seminaries. We are also imagining with God the future of theological education in the PC(USA). I'm encouraged by changes already taking place at our schools and with students and excited about the bold moves that will lead us toward God's imagined future.
Lee in Louisville