As part of its mission to create servant leaders for transformational ministry in a broken and complex world, Evangelical Seminary believes it is important to collaborate with others who share this passion.
Collaboration is, and always has been, an important aspect of theological education. Over the years, it has taken several different forms, and each generation is tasked with developing new and effective models of collaboration that serve students, the church, and all the various stakeholders within a system of theological education. In 2014, Evangelical Seminary made a formal decision that it would be best to pursue its mission in partnership with another school.
By God’s grace, Sioux Falls Seminary secured funding from In Trust in 2015 to host conversations about collaboration and partnership. These funds allowed Sioux Falls to facilitate a gathering of several evangelical schools at which the topic of “large-scale non-geographically bound collaboration” was discussed. Out of that meeting have come several important developments, and more connections are being made every day – including a connection with Evangelical Seminary.
Behind all of this is the biblical principle of collaboration seen in 1 Corinthians 3:9. We are mere “co-workers in God’s service.” The focus is not on Evangelical Seminary, what we own, or who we are. The focus is on working with others to make known the Kingdom of God. In fact,
we do not seek partners as out of necessity for growth. Rather, we get to know those the Spirit leads to us. We hear their heart for God’s work and Kingdom to see if it aligns with who we are and what God has called us to do and be. If that goes well, we begin talking about how we might partner together.
Sioux Falls Seminary and Evangelical Seminary strongly believe theological education is something that must happen in community and that the community in which it happens has a profound formational impact on students. As a result, by working together we have made a commitment to honor the history, heritage, and identity of each other. The stakeholders, local communities of faith, students, faculty, and administrators of our institutions have faithfully pursued their respective missions and each is committed to honoring the other.
While honoring the past, the schools are also embracing a future wherein students from around the world can access a wider array of expertise, theological traditions, and unique learning experiences – all while adhering to our shared desire to provide a system of theological education that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.
In fall 2019, Evangelical Seminary’s board of trustees unanimously voted to become a Legacy Partner with Sioux Falls Seminary. Legacy partnerships are unique among the various forms of collaboration pursued by Sioux Falls Seminary in that it is a commitment to moving forward together. In Spring, 2020, we shared the exciting news that Evangelical Seminary and Sioux Falls were stepping boldly into the future of theological education by joining our missions – something we call a union. This is not a legal term or even an organizational term. Rather, it is a missional term, one that reinforces our shared desire to honor the work God has done in and through these two institutions.
To achieve this goal, ETS has entered into a teach-out agreement with Sioux Falls Seminary wherein ETS will relinquish its accreditation and cease to be a stand-alone legal entity on June 30, 2022. Sioux Falls Seminary will receive its students, academic programs, faculty, institutional records, assets, and liabilities. For its part, Sioux Falls has pledged to continue the name and identity of ETS as a unique brand (“dba”) within Sioux Falls Seminary (i.e. Kairos).
Questions about this agreement can be emailed to Dr. Tony Blair, President of Evangelical Seminary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ETS and Sioux Falls Seminary have worked together to foster additional partnerships of this nature. You can read more about these partnerships here.