Flying at 3500 feet

2013-02-20_09-22-18_423I am sitting in four days of board meetings for the International Board of Education and the Global Committee for Global Education and Clergy Development.

2013-02-21_10-07-46_367At the same time Kansas City is quickly being buried under around a foot of snow that has already closed the airport.

However, there seems to be a lot of “flying” going on in the meeting. What I mean is that often we are reporting and deliberating on efforts around the 2013-02-21_08-53-28_298globe with a vantage point that seems, at times, like we are cruising at 35000 feet trying to listen intently to efforts around our church to educate and shape particularly ministers within our denomination.

To give you some idea, 2013-02-20_09-17-40_97Education Commissioner, Dr. Dan Copp, reported that the Church of the Nazarene has 53 seminaries, colleges, universities that serve 117 world regions across 6 continents with 52, 439 students. You might call that the “satellite” view of global education.

Later we heard reports from six regional education directors who shepherd education within global regions. Each report was rich, often capturing the successes and struggles of institutions world-wide including issues around faculty, student 2013-02-20_09-18-55_406life, administration, church partnerships, and always… always… the growth of students who often already serve as ministers in their local context.

It is hard to understand the amount of imagination that is needed when you are sitting in a conference meeting room.  I know just how difficult it takes to capture the passion of ten schools in the United States and summarize, in 20 minutes, so imagine that work undertaken by six regional education directors address the amazing accomplishments of all  schools for the sake of the other global regions.  What really drives the imagination in this otherwise mundane setting, is the passion of all the members of the 2013-02-21_08-37-25_223committee.  The people in the room care, really care, about the how the Kingdom of God manifests itself through the various institutions, and particularly the lives shaped within those communities.  At moments, when we move from description to decision making, the challenges seem daunting but the people in this room trust the leading of Holy Spirit, and lean on the grace of God, as we discern together the next steps for educational leadership. The future looks bright,

the opportunity 2013-02-20_16-10-10_436to globally partner in educational efforts have already begun;

  • the potential for a global digital library to resource ministry students often in remote parts of the world will begin soon;
  • the ongoing work of engaging and curating ideas that articulate a Wesleyan theology/philosophy of education continues;
  • and efforts to encourage continual improvement in our institutions through missional reviews now approaches “Phase II” of contextualized, collegial, engagement.

2013-02-21_08-53-39_526   I could say more, a lot more, but the meetings continue and I suspect the time it takes to explain each initiative… to “land this plane”… would take longer than most jets on a snow driven day. What is most important in this 35,000 foot discussion remains the singular passion of each member and the people they represent, specific students around the globe that they, and other faculty members, engage “face to face” each day.

About Dean G. Blevins

Dr. Dean G. Blevins currently serves as Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary. An ordained elder, Dean has ministered in diverse settings and currently also serves at the USA Regional Education Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. A prolific author, Dr. Blevins recently co-wrote the textbook Discovering Discipleship and edits Didache: Faithful Teaching, a journal for Wesleyan Education.
This entry was posted in Discipleship, Higher Education, Leadership, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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