Letter From the President

During his teen years, my son struggled with how to answer people who were fairly certain that he was called to ministry. By “called to ministry” they meant a trajectory that included a ministry degree followed by a lifetime of work in a pastoral or para-church setting. While open to that call, he ultimately felt God leading him to become an insurance agent. Does this mean that as an insurance agent he is not “called to ministry?” Amy Sherman in her book, Kingdom Calling, states that today thousands of Christian professionals sit in the pews wondering, “Can I participate in Jesus’ mission—and do so using the gifts and skills God has given me?” While the obvious answer is “yes” and while we have been teaching pastors to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” for a long time, very little attention has been given to the call to marketplace ministry. This is true within the walls of the church and the halls of seminaries. The mission of Ashland Theological Seminary includes equipping men and women for ministry in the world. And so we believe that our continuum of learning should include resourcing those who are called to ministry in all aspects of society, not just the church. This issue of the table highlights the variety of ways that ATS is attempting to be faithful to our mission to equip persons for ministry, regardless of the setting of their call. We are excited about what God is doing and will do through our marketplace initiatives. We have already seen the fruit of helping insurance agents (and many other professionals) live out their Kingdom calling as we equip them for ministries that are as valid and critical as any. As you read the following articles, I trust that you will be challenged to live your life in dedication to God’s mission, and that you will be led to pray for us as we look for ways to “equip ALL the saints for the work of ministry.”

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