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Winter 2010 Rapport: The Heart of AGTS

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“AGTS is passionate about responding to the Spirit’s call to serve the church and the world by shaping servant leaders. We do this best when we are dangerously authentic with each other and radically dependent on the Spirit. Pursuing who God has made us to be, we will search relentlessly for better ways, closer ties, eternal results. Cooperating with God as he does powerful things among us is the part we love. We will get places together or not at all. We love Jesus unapologetically. We trust the Spirit’s power unrepentantly. The world is our arena. Tomorrow is our best thing.”
 

The statement above describes the “heart” of AGTS as we believe the Spirit has shaped it over the course of our 37-year history. It is what we aspire to. It is what we are all about.

“AGTS is passionate about responding to the Spirit’s call to serve the church and the world by shaping servant leaders.” There are no engineering courses at AGTS. We train leaders for Christ’s church. We care deeply about this mysterious but wondrous community that is meant to represent Jesus fairly. God is saying to all of us at AGTS (to some loudly, to some softly but getting louder), “I want you to be a leader in this global community of Jesus followers.” We believe that we have been called to do something special in this moment.

About eight years ago, T.L. Osborn, a leader in the healing movement of the late 1940s and ’50s, spoke in Chapel. From the pulpit, he reminisced about what God had done through him, a poor Arkansas farm boy. I will never forget sitting on the front pew as he pointed his 77-year-old finger at the students in that room and said, “I am here to tell you that God wants to do greater exploits through every one of you.” It was as if this elder statesman had passed a mantle, as if electricity had flowed through him into the crowd of young leaders there that day.

In this place, we are passionate about responding to the Spirit’s call to serve the church of Jesus Christ in this world that desperately needs redemption. God has called our students to be shaped into courageous leaders for this crucial moment in history.

The mission of AGTS is “Shaping servant leaders with the knowledge, skill and passion to revitalize the church and evangelize the world in the power of the Spirit.” We believe leadership is necessary. The seminary is full of people with the gift of leadership whom God is calling to lead the charge to revitalize churches that lack vision to reach their community, to plant new churches and to establish his kingdom around the world.

“We do this best when we are dangerously authentic with each other and radically dependent on the Spirit. Pursuing who God has made us to be, we will search relentlessly for better ways, closer ties and eternal results.” Community exists in many forms. Text messaging, Facebook and Twitter keep us connected with people all over the world. While there is nothing wrong with these methods, the church still does its best work face to face. People with real flesh and blood issues—not virtual people, but real people whose lives are shattered, whose heartbreak is real, whose tragedy is incomprehensible—need us to look them in the eye and say, “Jesus loves you.”

They need to be held and to know that someone cares. That tangible, eyeball-to-eyeball community needs to remain the focus of our lives—not Facebook. AGTS is the perfect place for just that type of community. The people our students meet when they walk on campus for the first time could very well be the people who will stand in the gap for them the rest of their lives.

This community is kept together, in part, by all kinds of wonderful, new electronic media. But because Jesus came in the flesh and died in the flesh, his kingdom still takes on in-flesh dimensions. People are central to the kingdom community—real people with real needs.

“Cooperating with God as he does powerful things among us is the part we love. We will get places together or not at all.” God is building his body out of a plethora of individuals with diverse gifts and from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. He puts people who wouldn’t normally hang out, who may not even like each other, together as a powerful force to represent the name of Jesus. It is miraculous, and the world is desperately looking for that kind of visible reconciliation, not only with God, but with one another.

“We love Jesus unapologetically. We trust the Spirit’s power unrepentantly. The world is our arena. Tomorrow is our best thing.” Our mission energizes us. Building knowledge, skill and passion requires stretching the left and right brain. There are times when our students find themselves awake at 3 a.m. striving to understand and unpack the concepts they’ve been exposed to—concepts that broaden their perspectives, sharpen existing skills and uncover new skills. All of this is brought together under a rubric of passion for Christ.

Leaders in the cause of Christ usually don’t crash and burn because of a lack of skill but because they have imploded, thinking that skills, charisma and love for people could carry the day—wrong! We do not have the capacity, in and of ourselves, to do what God has called us to do. Our abilities may be formidable, and they are certainly God’s gift, but they will never bring anyone to the cross. Only the Spirit of God can do that.

God has given us great gifts, coordinated by the eternal redemptive mission of Jesus, empowered by the Spirit. We’re unrepentant about loving Jesus and taking time regularly to follow him in worship. We are unrepentant about our belief that it is “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

AGTS is a community that loves Jesus unrepentantly and serves him with our minds—through acquisition of skill, through our passion for knowing one another and with a welcoming spirit.

Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010 11:57 AM

 
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