The following article was written for Evangelicals Now and published in their news publication for March 2014. In it I interview Dr. Dennis Hollinger, president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:
DH: I love the fact that Gordon-Conwell reflects a thoughtful evangelicalism as it educates over 2,100 men and women from more than 90 different denominations and 60 different countries. Its vision: ‘We seek to advance Christ’s Kingdom in every sphere of life by equipping Church leaders to think theo-logically, engage globally and live biblically’.
JM: What are your key opportunities?
DH: Three opportunities stand out. First, to help build the church around the globe as we train leaders of leaders from many countries, including China. Second, we are serving the most theologically under-served group in North America with our Hispanic Ministries Program. We take courses to key Hispanic population centers and then have them come to our main campus for short-term intensive classes. Hispanics are our fastest growing group (now 16% of the US population), but constitute a very small percentage of seminary students. Third, we have developed a significant centre and programme in Workplace Theology and Business Ethics. This enables us not only to offer courses and conferences for Christians in the marketplace, but to help future pastors understand the contexts where most of their parishioners spend the bulk of their lives.
JM: What are the seminary’s challenges?
DH: Like most seminaries, the biggest challenge we face is funding our ministry adequately. The economic models for theological education of the past have not worked well in the 21st century. But, more significantly, one of the greatest challenges we face is developing church leaders who are wise, godly, understand the cultural context, but are deeply rooted in the gospel and Scripture.
JM: How can EN readers pray?
DH: Pray that God will keep us faithful to the gospel and the Word. Pray that God will raise up young people with a deep passion for ministry. Pray that our faculty will be able to minister not just to the minds of our students, but also to their hearts.