Taylor Update: Spring 2018
As most of you know, Taylor is in a time of transition. We are moving forward in a number of exciting ways. All of these are things that have been developing for some time. Most of them are quite exciting. Some of them are less so.
First, we are finishing the renovations of Stencel Hall and our classrooms to make them more functional for the variety of ways we use them. We are freshening up the look, upgrading the technology, and making our space more functional for our changing world. We hope we can show off these changes to you at this year’s NAB Triennial Conference here in Edmonton!
Second, we are redesigning our academic programs to better serve the needs of our students, the church, and the work of the Kingdom. This involves shifting our philosophy of education to more of a competency or outcome based model than we have had in the past. Though it is taking a lot of time and energy it is time well spent. We are convinced that we are moving forward in a way that better serves our students in exciting new ways.
Third, we are leaning into the partnership that God has been creating between us and Sioux Falls Seminary. For the last number of years we have sensed an opportunity to more closely align the two institutions in serving those we are called to serve. We started this partnership by integrating our on-line education platforms and a joint work with the Cameroon Baptist Convention which, in part, helps to create a system of theological education for Cameroon. We have also begun to share staff resources to provide some of the basic functions necessary to seminary education. As we integrate more thoroughly, we are finding other ways to do things together that allow us not to duplicate in two places what can be done as efficiently in one.
Lastly, the partnership is maturing at the perfect time. In our February Board Meetings our investment advisors strongly encouraged us to plan on much less growth in the endowment earnings than we are used to for the next several years. The unusually robust growth of our endowment over the past 10 years has been a crucial way God has sustained the work here. To deal with this expected decrease in revenue we need to trim our operational budget by about $250K. It is the partnership with Sioux Falls Seminary that allows us to have a balanced operating budget, even with this decrease in revenue, as we work together in more significant ways.
But this change is bittersweet. On the one hand, we know that God has led us in and through this process. God has confirmed our journey at each step and faithfully sustained this work in more ways than we can say. There is a peace, energy, and renewal at the core of this partnership that is evidence of the Spirit of God working in our midst. We have no doubt about that. On the other hand, the change we must make means that we will be saying good bye to dear colleagues who have been an integral part of our community.
Change is hard, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean it is bad. We know that these hard changes are good. But this isn’t just hard, it is also painful. For that pain it is reassuring to know that since God is sovereign, these changes will ultimately work out for good for everyone involved. God is a God who cares for us all, and works for the good of all, even when it’s hard to see. We all consider ourselves blessed to be the community of people that God has called together to serve at Taylor, knowing we are called to serve only for a time.
In spite of our loss, there is an undercurrent of excitement, joy, and hope about what God is doing here at Taylor. God is faithful, and we rest in that. We live in that truth as God continues to do in our midst the amazing work of “developing Christ-minded leaders who make a difference in the world.”
Please pray for the whole Taylor community as we go through the difficult days ahead. Also, know that I would be glad to talk further with anyone who might want to do so.
David Williams, PhD
President, Taylor Seminary