Happy New Year! | Forum for Theological Exploration

Happy New Year!

By: Stephen Lewis
December 31, 2011


Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that you are preparing for an exciting new year.

As people contemplate New Year’s resolutions, many Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate the feast day of Epiphany, which commemorates God’s revelation in Jesus and his appearance to the world as God’s beloved Son.

What is God’s revelation in you or your organization? As God’s beloved, how will you appear to the world? On the dawn of a new year, these are two questions I am wrestling with on behalf of The Fund for Theological Education (FTE). And, we will spend significant time in 2012 discerning what God calls FTE to become in the next era of its history and specifically how it will conduct its work over the next several years.

This time of discernment offers the FTE Board, staff and me an opportunity to chart a viable path forward for the organization. While FTE will continue to conduct its business as usual, we will spend some time this year listening more intently to young adults, partners and friends as we discern God’s leading of FTE. I am especially excited about a few opportunities in 2012 toward this end, which consist of the following:

  • Meeting a new class of FTE Fellows and Transition-into-Ministry Pastoral Residents who represent the kind of visionary and adaptive leadership the church and academy need to shape the church’s emerging future.
  • Sharing a new vision for FTE that outlines the future direction for the organization and our hope for a new generation of church leaders.
  • Developing a strategic planning process to reimagine FTE’s work and to determine the best approaches for advancing FTE’s new vision and mission. (While our mission of nurturing the next generation of diverse leaders for the church and academy has not changed, where to focus our energies and how to effectively conduct our work must change over time.)
  • Convening generative conversations with key partners and religious leaders working to cultivate and mentor a new generation of visionary pastors and leaders for Christian communities.
  • Welcoming a new VP of Program and five new Board members who will bring a wealth of experience, wisdom and insight to FTE’s future work.

The future is bright with many possibilities. But we cannot envision or create it without partners like you. This work requires that we pay attention to a deeper longing for God’s revelation in all of us. It demands nothing less of us than our faith, courage and time.

The future compels us to embrace uncertainty and take extraordinary risk. It calls us to shift fundamentally the way we see, think and act together for the sake of what God envisions us—the church—to become and for the sake of the Gospel and the Spirit’s work in the world.

Therefore, we will resist making any New Year’s resolutions or predictions! Instead, we will spend the dawn of 2012 discerning FTE’s epiphany—what God is revealing about Godself in and through FTE and how the organization will manifest itself to the world in the months and years to come.

I pray that you have a wonderful and productive year and for God’s epiphany of the Holy child to be realized in us all.

Tags...: Inside FTE

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