The School of Women in Ministry Partnership
At Taylor Seminary we believe it is important for theological education to be a system of interconnected parts. That is to say theological education is something that requires seminaries, denominations, local churches, ministry leadership training programs, and more to work together. By working together we are able to more fully represent the Kingdom of God and more fully embrace the unique value each partner brings to the journey of theological education.
As a result of seeing theological education as a system, Taylor Seminary works hard to develop partnerships with kingdom-minded ministries who are passionate about developing followers of Christ for the call God has placed before them. One such partnership is with the School of Women in Ministry.
Originally developed by Pamela Heim in the United States for women involved in leading women’s ministries, The School of Women in Ministry was launched in Canada in 2002. Since the first Canadian school in Langley, BC, over 100 women from a range of Christian denominations and diverse ministries across Western Canada have graduated from the program. Below is some exciting news about the program, shared by Christa Eisbrenner, the Dean of the School of Women in Ministry.
After some years without a Canadian program, the School of Women in Ministry is being relaunched for the Canadian context in partnership with the Baptist General Conference of Canada, Taylor Seminary, and Sioux Falls Seminary. This international movement has been traveling around the globe to places like Switzerland, France, USA and has just wrapped up it’s first school in Mongolia. Plans for future schools in Japan, Romania and Uganda are also underway! But first, the School of Women in Ministry will be here in Alberta, with live feed satellite sites in BC and Manitoba!
In most career positions, there is an expectation of professional development that is either required or expected. Yet, within the church setting, we have a host of volunteers who have little or no training for the ministry in which they serve. Many women currently involved in church programs long for coaching and training opportunities; others are hesitant to become involved as they feel unprepared for a leadership role. If the church is to fulfill Christ’s mission, women want and need excellent training to increase their competence and confidence in ministry. The School of Women in Ministry is specifically developed to offer an affordable, accessible and applicable way to meet these needs.
To fit into the lives of busy women, we meet in the classroom on six Saturdays over an 18-month period. Those six class days follow an essential overview for anyone who wants to grow in spiritual formation, biblical knowledge and ministry training. In between class days students will complete assignments that are relevant to their lives and ministries, as well as a ministry project of their own design. Students will stay in community through online forums, as well as meeting with a professional Christian life coach to help the student discern how their learning and practices are unique to their lives. This model of learning has strong parallels to the Kairos Project, a global network of theological education with hubs at Taylor Seminary and Sioux Falls Seminary. We are proud to offer a partnership with Kairos that empowers students from the School of Women in Ministry to use this training towards a certificate or masters degree!
It’s an exciting opportunity to be involved with real-world, applicable learning for busy women who desire that God would use them where they are – or in a new way! The School of Women in Ministry is an equipping ministry that is designed to teach and encourage women in the areas of theology, church history, service, leadership, and ministry work with the goal of using their gifts in service to Christ; both within the church and community.
The school exists to serve the church by equipping, training and supporting the women in the body of believers to serve with more vigour, intentionality and effectiveness than ever before.
- How would your church be impacted by women who were equipped and excited to apply the Word of God more infinitely within their lives, and the lives of those around them?
- What if they brought that training back to you and the others in your church?
- What if the women in your church had the confidence and competence to carry out what God was calling them to?
The School of Women in Ministry aims to help answer these questions and more. There’s no telling what could happen when God moves! Be a part of it!
We at Taylor are excited about this partnership and the fact that it is led by Christa Eisbrenner, an adjunct professor here at Taylor. If you’d like to learn more about their program, please check out their website by clicking here. If you’d like to learn more about the Kairos Project, go to www.taylor-edu.ca/kairos!
A New Pathway for Theological Education
Taylor has made an exciting step toward the future into which God is calling us! Upon the recommendation of the seminary’s Vision Task Force and approval of the faculty, Taylor Seminary is now part of the Kairos Project. I (David Williams) couldn’t be more excited.
My enthusiasm stems from the fact that this bold step forward creates a new pathway for theological educational that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful. The life-changing journey of discipleship we call theological education is now available to students who once thought it was unreachable.
The Kairos Project does this by restructuring the educational process around the student’s ministry context, life situation, and learning preferences. It also brings around them a team of mentors to walk alongside them through their journey of discipleship. Let me introduce you to a few students enrolled in the Kairos Project:
I first met Jeremiah six years ago while he was an intern at the Mustard Seed. Jeremiah was finishing his undergrad program at a local Christian university and had a passion for serving those on the margins of society. With a desire to be fully engaged in ministry while continuing his education, Jeremiah attempted to enroll at Taylor. Although he was very bright and strongly motivated, it became clear that his passion for serving Jesus and the pattern of his vocation never seemed to align with a traditional course schedule. Soon his pastoral gifts were recognized by his community of faith and he began to serve on the pastoral staff in a new church plant. Continuing his education seemed to move further and further out of reach: until now! Because of the integrated and contextual nature of the Kairos Project, Jeremiah’s life and ministry context have become the catalyst for his education rather than an obstacle.
Matty came to faith as a teenager in Australia through the ministry of Fusion Australia. His passion for working with young people led him to complete Fusion’s competency-based discipleship and certificate programs. This educational approach fit well with Matty’s natural learning style and it soon became evident that he was a gifted and spirit-led young leader. After joining the pastoral staff at The Father’s House in Bon Accord, Alberta, Matty recognized the need to continue his education. He had a thirst to learn more about his faith and how to best minister to the people he was called to shepherd. However, being in pastoral ministry and living in Bon Accord made attending classes very difficult. On-line classes seemed disconnected from ministry and didn’t fit with his competency-based approach to learning. The Kairos Project created a means by which Taylor could walk alongside Matty rather than requiring him to uproot his life. Its competency-based approach to education is very familiar to Matty. Because of the way learning is situated in his ministry context, Matty can pursue an education he once thought was out of reach!
Janene is a young entrepreneur who, along with her husband, started an electrical business eight years ago, 2 years before becoming a Christian. Her flexible work hours and financial resources provided her what she needed to begin a degree, where she quickly showed herself to be an outstanding student, deeply inquisitive, with a hunger for learning more about her young faith. As her program progressed, however, her interests diverged from the traditional course-based degree model to the Kairos Project where she could fold in the practical work of developing an arts-based ministry for young girls. Kairos allows Janene to continue taking courses while also utilizing her practical work in the field! She has a team of mentors that walk with her providing the structure and feedback necessary to successfully navigate her new path. The Kairos project is perfect for Janene. Designed to give her the freedom and flexibility to follow her interests in the directions that she wants, she was one of our first Taylor students to say YES to Kairos.
Thank you for your participation in the work God is doing in and through Taylor. God is creating exciting opportunities for students to flourish in ways unimaginable even a few years ago. I hope this encourages and inspires you as much as it does us. We covet your continued partnership as we walk the journey God has set before us. I invite you to join us on this journey. These are exciting times at Taylor as God continues to use us to “develop Christ-minded leaders who make a difference in the world.”
By David Williams, President
About Taylor Seminary and the E P Wahl Centre
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Taylor also offers a growing list of continuing education learning opportunities through the E P Wahl Centre, and you can read about some of those here. The Healthy Pastors Initiative, Healthy Churches, the Church Administrative Professionals Symposium (CAPS), White Cross Canada, the Conservatory of Music, and theParish Nursing Institute are all part of the E P Wahl Centre at Taylor.
A Partnership with Sioux Falls Seminary
A partnership agreement between Sioux Falls Seminary and Taylor Seminary, signed in June 2015, is uniting these institutions and creating groundbreaking new opportunities in theological education.
This partnership began with a focus on online education, faculty development and global theological education. Over the past two years, the partnership has deepened significantly and has resulted in the integration of some systems, operational functions and academic programming. For example, the seminaries have merged the curricular competencies and outcomes for respective Master of Divinity (MDiv) programs; the two schools share a registrar, and each school now also recognizes their campuses as educational sites of the other.