Our professors and staff deepen their knowledge and hone their skills to provide excellent educational experiences. We invest resources into events and communication strategies so prospective students might consider NTS in their educational journey. We develop programming to equip our alumni and friends with opportunities for continued learning and growth. We share the vision of our school in hopes that people will be inspired to support its mission.
All these efforts are necessary for NTS to exist and thrive. And as we engage in them, we receive helpful data: Number of classes taught, students enrolled, dollars raised, events held, scholarships established, and more. These are important indicators for tracking the effectiveness of any organization. And thankfully, despite the challenges of a global pandemic, NTS has seen encouraging signs across each category. However, this data alone doesn’t capture the essence of our seminary’s work. What does? In my opinion, it’s the stories.
Just as we began to celebrate NTS’s 75th anniversary in early 2020, the pandemic unexpectedly hit. Plans changed. Events we had envisioned had to be canceled or greatly altered. Interestingly, one initiative remained especially impactful and largely unaffected over the months that followed. It was the gathering of stories. We asked our alumni and students to share their “NTS Story,” an account of how God had used NTS to shape their lives and ministries. The response was overwhelming.
We heard from alumni like the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Wills, the first woman to receive her Doctor of Ministry degree from NTS. Carolyn spoke of how NTS prepared her not just for a job but for a lifetime of vocational ministry.
We heard from Rev. Scott Armstrong and Rev. Emily Armstrong, global missionaries in the Mesoamerica Region. Emily wrote, “NTS taught me to see the Bible as the story of God and to find myself in the midst of the pages.”
Rev. Dr. Jeff Spangler, who has served as a pastor and an active duty Army chaplain, wrote, “I can’t imagine where I would be right now were it not for my experience at NTS.”
Recent graduate Rev. Shane Burt-Miller gave thanks to God for the opportunity to enter seminary and for the support of his local church, Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene, which provided a financial gift to help him complete his studies at NTS.
There are many more.
What is so powerful about hearing stories? They go beyond numbers and stats. They tell of real peoples’ lived experiences of God’s work in the past. And they have the potential to provide strength to endure the challenges of the present.
In the Christian faith, we have a name for this vital practice: testimony. (See Psalm 71:15)
Behind a student who applies for acceptance, a person who generously and sacrificially gives, an alumnus who faithfully serves, and a professor who pours into his or her students, there are multiple testimonies – stories – of God’s enduring love. And though there are many important indicators of organizational health, at the end of the day, it is these stories that can help us endure.
NTS is just one small segment of the grand narrative God is composing in his mission to redeem and restore all things. I think that’s a story worth telling. What’s your story?
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Jason Veach, DMin
Director of Communications and Outreach
P.S. – We’d love to hear your NTS Story. Share it here!