In the last post, I highlighted the answer I recently gave to a group of Christian leaders on “What Makes Christian Higher Education Christian?” In this post, I’ll follow up with the answer I gave to a second question: “Why Does This Matter?”
The vision that captivates me for Christian Higher Education is that of serving the Church and its global mission. I mentioned previously that the one-liner we are using to summarize Heritage’s vision and mission is: We help Christians major in the Word of God so they can help churches make a world of difference.
Now a fair question I have to ask myself is whether this vision is worth pursuing with all we have?
Here are three reasons why I’d answer YES to that question. Here are three compelling reasons why it matters that we train students to help the Church make a world of difference.
The Church is loved by Christ
Church is the bride of Christ. He loved it enough to sacrifice himself for it. We don’t ask our students to love the Church because it’s always lovely, but because Jesus loves it.
Since Jesus gave His all for the Church, this motivates us to give all that we have to serve His Church.
I like to say Heritage exists for the Church and we can’t exist without the Church. We are not the Bride; we are a bridesmaid. We exist to serve the Church and its mission.
The Church is Christ’s tool of choice for His global mission
Christ’s mission of reconciling and restoring people has been entrusted to His Church. The Church is His tool of choice to accomplish his global mission. Jesus said He would build His Church and the gates of hell wouldn’t stop it. He said the Church would bring together people across racial, ethnic, socio-economic lines.
I’d argue that the church at its best is the best hope for the world.
I believe our best contribution as Christian Higher Education institutions is to serve Christ’s Church since this carries out Christ’s mission. By serving the Church, we are in line with Christ’s agenda.
The Church needs spiritual leaders to become healthy and vibrant
We train those who will be spiritual leaders in local churches. Some vocationally; some as volunteers. The health of the spiritual leaders we train will greatly impact the health of the local churches they serve.
I see the Bible College, Seminary, and Christian university as the headwaters for the Church. What flows out of our schools will flow into the Church. There is a great deal of truth in the saying, “As go the leaders, so goes the Church.”
John Stott emphasized this truth when he wrote,
“This is why the key institution in the church is the seminary or theological college. In every country the church is a reflection of its seminaries. All the church’s future pastors and teachers pass through a seminary. It is there that they are either made or marred, either equipped and inspired or ruined. Therefore, we should set ourselves to capture the seminaries of the world for evangelical faith, academic excellence and personal godliness. There is no better strategy for the reform and renewal of the church.”
We build up spiritual leaders who will help the local churches make a world of difference. While many things are needed and necessary in the world, I’ve become convinced nothing is more important than this vision.
It matters in time. It matters for all eternity.