by Rev. Dr. Jon Berquist, President of DSF -
This is the time for a Spring of new beginnings, as well as the conclusion of another school year. This month, we are celebrating about two dozen graduations of degree and certificate students from San Diego to Seattle. Every one is a dedicated Disciples leader already, with plenty of room to grow in their service to God, church, and world. There are exciting things to come, and each of these graduates join the more than 850 DSF graduates serving throughout the world.
Those are large numbers. Disciples Seminary Foundation now works with more Disciples students and leaders than anywhere else in the United States. We have a unique approach. DSF doesn’t focus on brick-and-mortar buildings, or on building an entire infrastructure so that we can control every aspect of an education. We work with partners, bringing their academic strength together with our mentoring, networking, ongoing education in ministry, and financial support. Our mentors have great experience in ministry and leadership, and they are giving away their hard-won experience and knowledge so that it can take root in the next generation of Disciples leadership. DSF now has 156 students in degree and certificate programs, the largest in our history.
Today, DSF announces a new partnership. For decades, Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, has been preparing Disciples ministers and leaders. From the results of what Iliff graduates have done in Disciples churches, it’s been a powerful contribution to Disciples life, and we’re grateful for that. In the 2018-2019 school year, DSF and Iliff will partner in a one-year pilot program to provide a full range of DSF services and mentoring to the 8 Disciples students currently enrolled at Iliff. We hope that this is the beginning of a long relationship that will benefit the whole church. I’ve met several of the students already -- and they are great people of deep spirit and strong potential for the life of the church. Now, because of DSF’s partnership, these students will have access to a larger Disciples network, for better connections to congregations, regions, the general church, global ministries, and Disciples justice work. Students at the established DSF schools will also gain from these Iliff students’ experiences, passion, and commitment. I’m eager for all of you to meet our diverse range of phenomenal students.
Why is DSF reaching out to a new location? Because God has greatly gifted us already, with so much wisdom and encouragement to offer to new leaders. We owe it to God and to the whole church to share what God has given us as deeply and as broadly as we can, for the glory of God. We will keep seeking ways for service to more leaders whose lives are committed to gospel faithfulness.
At DSF, we see signs of life all over the church. We are so deeply grateful that you have been part of DSF, and that your partnership has made it possible for us to share more widely. We’re happy to be a part of what you are giving to the world, and happily humbled that we can make a difference together with you. Our partnership with you is what keep us going and growing. Together, we can all be open to God’s new future and we can keep on moving wherever God takes this work. Thank you!