WHAT IS MISSING
- Invisible – The Greater Pacific Northwest has over 52 schools that have Christian roots and offer degrees or courses that could be considered theological or biblical. But few people know they are there! They are not all the same, but their diversity is the region’s strength. However, they do not interact in a visible way to bring the strength and visibility of a collaborative community. The are mostly invisible to one another and much more invisible to the population of the region.
- Separated – These schools are largely operating separately. They have a challenge in time and resources to engage the larger neighborhood of schools.
- Missed Opportunity – This region is a world leader in technology, medicine, business, and creativity. However, the regions theological community has a hard time gathering and together asking what is needed to move theological education and the practice of ministry forward. I will not dismiss the presence of individual schools and ministries who are exemplary, but we need regional visionaries who see the potential of this as a destination for the best theological research and practices to be found. We are missing the matrix to make this networking possible.
- Renew Humanity – As the hard sciences take over and those jobs become the goal, the humanities in general and the practice of theology in general, and ministry in particular, has been diminished. The meaningful life has been replaced by the successful life defined interns of income and power.
- Jobs – There is a diminishing number of opportunities for teaching jobs in the theological disciplines. Even in the churches, it is more difficult to find jobs to support those called to a life of ministry. We need strategies to revitalize the job opportunities that could support the lives of those called to serve.
- Biblical and theological literacy – the general population is losing its general exposure to the story and hope of the Bible. Thus, it misses the importance of discovering the love of the God revealed there or what it means to live as a community that participates in God’s life. We need art, storytellers, accessible and interesting programs, and public conversations to make visible and appealing that which is fading from sight.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
- We need Theological Infrastructure. Infrastructure is the means for creating meaningful links between like-minded people and organizations that will allow them to better serve the surrounding communities.
- We need better communication. People are unaware of all the great programs and conferences that are available. We need easily accessible and readily available information regarding what is already happening.
- We need gathering events. Nothing can replace the face to face meeting of people to make visible the relationships that create a neighborhood. In meeting, friendships are born and we find a tangible connection that replaces the vague idea.
- Thy Kingdom Come – While it is clear that God inaugurates the Kingdom coming, we are not intended to be idle observers. Those who believe in the Christian God need to act as brothers and sisters and to let our love for one another be what is noticed by the world who needs to see this authentication of our belief that God brings us together as different parts of the body, but that together we are a functioning outcome of the Kingdom, first in knowing God, and then in acting like it in service, reconciliation, wisdom, education, and provision of what is needed to empower God’s agenda in humble collaborators.