Lighting the Way
The Apostle Paul in his letter to church in Philippi expressed his prayerful desire that they are, “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27b, ESV). The secret sauce to this church’s influence and impact for the Gospel was not its size, budget, or public stature. Instead, it was their steadfast and unified commitment to the spread of the Gospel.
The Gospel focus of Mid-America is motivated and maintained by its unwavering allegiance to the pillars of the Bible, missions, and evangelism. The faculty plays an integral role in fulfillment and furtherance of the mission. The faculty serving this institution are more than signatories to a set of articles; we are fellow laborers for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The following practices that characterize the Mid-America faculty explain its effectiveness and enduring pursuit to be world-class in its worldwide mission.
While our faculty consists of persons highly accomplished and eminently competent, we understand that effective ministry occurs through the power of God rather than the pedigree of people. Thus, the Mid-America faculty commits the beginning of each school and workday with Bible reading and prayer. This devotional time establishes spiritual priorities and commits the work ahead to the Lord. The needs of students, faculty, staff, and the school are cast upon the Lord for His grace to meet them. The prayer time also includes intercession for our alumni and missionaries on their birthdays and unreached people groups around the world. This devotional practice serves as reminder of our role in the Great Commission beyond the chapel and classroom.
The apostle Paul admonished the Philippian Christians to stand resolute and together for the faith of the Gospel. He used two metaphors in Philippians 1:27b to describe how the believers were to maintain their unified witness for the Gospel. The word translated “stand” is a military term that means, “to be firmly committed in conviction or belief.” It is quite fitting that our founder, Dr. Gray Allison, was a military man, decorated war veteran, who led the establishment of a seminary that would take an unwavering stand on the inerrancy and the sufficiency of Scripture (all of it). Dr. Allison’s stand continues to be our stand. Our faculty holds that being unequivocal in these core tenets is critical in matters of integrity and unity.
The second metaphor Paul used in the text is the word translated, “striving together,” which comes from the athletic games of the day. Paul painted a picture for the church that effective ministry is a team sport. Richard Melick’s comment is quite relevant: “complete harmony of purpose and coordination of various elements was necessary to achieve God’s purposes.” No one person can do more or better than they could do together. The Mid-America faculty functions as a team to carry out the mission in preparing students for their God-given assignments.
The regular prayer meetings before the Lord offer precious time for faculty fellowship with each other. The faculty prays for each other’s needs and rejoices over answered prayer. This time also becomes an occasion to share reports of evangelistic engagements.
The collegiality of the faculty stems from the conviction that, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). The diverse experiences and interests constitute a well-rounded faculty that readily offers encouragement and counsel to one another. The junior faculty seeks the wisdom and insight of the experienced faculty. The experienced faculty values the input and perspectives of the junior faculty. The mutual respect of the faculty allows each member to be more than a face but also a voice that is welcomed and heard.
The qualities of one who would serve in ministry are more concerned with character rather than competence. Paul explained forthrightly in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 the character qualities one must have in being a servant leader in the Lord’s church. Being that we are training people for Gospel ministry, we understand that strong character must be modeled and developed in our students. The biblical values of family, honesty, hard work, and integrity are inculcated by each faculty member and instilled in our students.
Spiritual formation is the essence of character development. We emphasize the importance of personal devotions for spiritual health. Mid-America also believes strongly in the regular practice of engaging our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only message of hope. While requiring our students to participate in personal witnessing, Mid-America faculty leads the way. It matters immensely that our faculty commits itself to what is required of our students regarding this vital spiritual discipline.
The faculty at Mid-America understands that our ministry goes to all the world through the students that we train. Therefore, the mentoring relationships are developed and maintained throughout the student’s time here and beyond. Jesus modeled a similar relationship with his disciples as He called them to be with Him and sent them out to preach the Gospel (Mark 3:14). Jesus demonstrated the adage that so much of ministry preparedness is caught rather than taught.
The Mid-America faculty has deep ministry experience in the local church, missionaries, and parachurch ministry. Many faculty members currently serve the church as pastors or staff members. This ministry involvement enriches the classroom experience for our students beyond the theoretical to the practical. The imminent value of serving the local church is exemplified and emphasized by our faculty.
The Mid-America faculty labors together for the faith of the Gospel. Our collective assignment goes beyond our campus “to all the world for Jesus’ sake.” The work that we do is a labor of love whether teaching, mentoring, or writing. The faculty commits itself to a standard of ministry excellence so that in everything, the Lord Jesus Christ “might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:18). Being a part of a dynamic and devoted faculty roster keeps our Lord front and center with the ethic that Paul instructed the Christians in Colossae, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
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