GCTS Vision: Aspiration as Inspiration
DR. SCOTT W. SUNQUIST
President & Professor of Missiology
[This is part 7 of a 7-part series on the community vision or “aspiration” for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. To become a thoughtful, loving, Christ-centered community of global discipleship.]
An aspiration, at its best, should become an inspiration.
I hope this aspiration will become an engaging inspiration in all that we do at Gordon-Conwell as we begin our second 50 years of service to the Church.
In this final posting on our aspiration as a community at Gordon-Conwell, we want to make it clear that an aspiration is of no value unless it becomes a watchword, a standard, a part of our common discourse. An aspiration must inspire us in our work. Are we inspired by such a vision?
“But wait,” you may be saying. “Where did this aspiration come from, anyway? I didn’t vote on it!” Well, not exactly. No one voted on this aspiration for Gordon-Conwell. But we all, in our collective GCTS history—a history that goes back to two urban schools in the late 19th century—we have shaped this aspiration. Each of these words reflects our past. But more than our past, this reflects interviews I have conducted with alumni, personal and group conversations with faculty and staff, as well as times with Board members.
Universally we want to hold up high academic standards in the future, even as we begin programs for lay leaders: we will be thoughtful.
We have already begun to grow in our concern and practice of caring for one another and showing special grace and kindness in the workplace called Gordon-Conwell: loving.
Not only in our emphasis upon evangelism, church planting and mission, but in our emphasis upon Scripture and counseling we have a grounding, a rootedness: Christ-centered.
Even as we move to offer more theological education online and in various learning formats, we care about doing that in relationships, not as a lone or solo activity: community.
We recognize the need to engage in theological education and give and take with the growing edge of the church. While we have abundance in the Western church, we recognize church demographics are changing. We care about the Great Commission and want to see us continue to engage in mission: global.
Finally, in the past decade or two we have been breaking down the wall between “classroom” and “discipleship.” We want that to continue and so we aspire to be a school that is known as a community of discipleship.
Our prayer is that in all that we do, we, Gordon-Conwell, are inspired by such a vision. My prayer is that this little phrase, “to become a thoughtful, loving, Christ-centered community of global discipleship,” will inspire our future. If I were beginning to look for a place for theological studies, I would love to study at such a place.
I find this inspiring!
This concludes my first 26 blog posts which lay a foundation for what Gordon-Conwell is as a seminary. For the coming months I will be lifting up some of our great faculty, staff, students and alumni. Actually, I may talk about a board member or two.
Scott W. Sunquist, the new President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, writes a weekly blog, “Attentiveness” which is posted each Monday morning on the Gordon-Conwell web site. He welcomes comments, responses and good ideas.