I have always cherished opportunities to be part of a ministry team. Good teams are well-led, have a central purpose or call, specific tasks to carry out, and opportunities for the team to evaluate how well they are achieving their purpose or fulfilling their call. I have cherished being part of Team NTS! Students, faculty, staff, administrators, donors, prayer supporters, alums, and others make up the Team, while smaller groups make up the more task-specific teams that all go together to accomplish the mission of NTS.
One of my treasured team roles is as a member of Team Faculty. Faculty members teach courses, of course, but at NTS the Faculty are a team that discuss deeply our individual roles and callings and how these help Team NTS carry out its calling and mission.
I deeply cherish the beginnings of Faculty meetings that begin with Scripture reading. The Dean invites comments on the passages read. Biblical scholars highlight meanings of original words or reflect on a time when this passage was discussed in class and students pondered new and deeper understandings for them. A church historian or theologian relates the passage to various points in the history of theological or church development when the passage had special significance for the church at critical junctures. A scholar of pastoral ministry or spiritual formation offers insight on how this passage illuminated a particular point of deeper spiritual growth, or a missiologist noted how the passage speaks to people of different cultures in various ways that throw new light on how the gospel changes lives in a host of disparate contexts.
Another treasured team is Team Coursework. Out of his doctoral research, my colleague David Wesley brings increased understanding of the role of partnership in ministry. In a true partnership both (all) partners draw fromthe partnership as well as bring something significant tothe partnership.* Partnering characterizes graduate education as professors bring resources and guide students. Students also bring significant background, experience, and perspective to the course. Rich discussions develop in class sessions and in online forums as new insights are formed and shared among all.
Teaching in areas related to missiology, I find that increasingly students enter graduate missions studies with significant cross-cultural ministry experience that not only enriches course work, but enriches me as a partner in learning. Students also bring a deep love for Christ, for the gospel, and a desire to know and follow Christ into the missional contexts to which they are sent, where they also will form partnership teams, giving and receiving from those who will join them in the partnership of the gospel (Phil 1:3-6).
Thanks be to God!
Dr. Bill Selvidge
Emeritus Professor of Intercultural Studies
*Please see David W Wesley, A Common Mission: Healthy Patterns in Congregational Mission Partnerships. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2015