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InDepth – Reimagining Theological Education

Stewardship: Scholarships & Alignment

Over the past weeks we’ve been reflecting upon various aspects of stewardship. Demonstrating that stewardship is a key component of Winebrenner’s culture requires some kind of evidence, so these posts have included several updates about changes to Winebrenner Seminary’s approach to financial policies. These changes reflect our deepening commitment to the belief that our core...
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Stewardship: Automating the Important

Have you ever stopped to wonder why Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November? (this is for those in the United States; our Canadian neighbors to the north celebrate on the second Monday of October). The obvious reason is that we follow our calendars! Others may know the history and refer to actions...
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Stewardship: A Kingdom Priority

Perhaps you’ve heard some variation of the phrase “God equips those he calls.” Since the mission of Winebrenner is to equip leaders for service in God’s kingdom, we should pay special attention to those who fit within either category – the called or the equipped! When seminary is part of a person’s call, every person...
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Highlighting Collaboration: Voice of the Gospel Ministry, Kenya

Winebrenner Seminary is privileged to work alongside multiple organizations focused on serving within God’s kingdom. Currently, Dr. Kathryn Helleman, Director of Winebrenner’s Doctor of Ministry program and Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, is in Sagana, Kenya, and is teaching Theology I to just under a dozen students. Pastor Nancy Boyer is accompanying Dr. Helleman. I...
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Stewardship: Extreme Generosity

The invitation to approach theological education as discipleship is accompanied by the challenge to align our daily activities and decisions with those of Jesus. Of all his challenging words and stories, one that many find provocative is the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard recorded in Matthew 20:1-16. The opening line of the parable...
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Stewardship: A Cornerstone of Kingdom Culture

As Maria sings in “The Sound of Music,” let’s start at the very beginning: All things belong to God. Our task is to steward – or manage – what we have in a way that gives honor to God. These dual beliefs (all things belong to God and our task is to steward them well)...
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Shifting Focus: From Operational to Cultural Priorities

Since becoming President of Winebrenner Seminary in December 2015, much of my time has been spent on day to day items required for operating a seminary. All of these items are guided by our mission and strategy and serve the greater purposes of God’s kingdom. Focusing on operational items has made sense in light of...
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Appreciating our Pastors

I received a phone call last week from a pastor that I’ve known for over 35 years.  We first met when he arrived to serve as the pastor of the church I attended when I was 10 years old.  For five of my most formative years he was present in our church and community.  And,...
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Organizational Truth Telling

Any healthy organization will have a strong commitment to telling the truth. This includes both a commitment to being open handed with information as well as making sure the information that is shared is accurate. Many organizations share a “Dashboard” that summarizes key metrics and data points. A dashboard has the potential to: shift benchmarks...
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Back to School 2022: Student Story (Joshua Thilmony)

One way to think about the role Winebrenner Seminary plays is to ask What problem exists in the life of a student that Winebrenner solves? (you can read more about answering this question by clicking here). In many cases, Winebrenner adds value by contributing to ministry knowledge. As we wrap up this series on InDepth, it’s...
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Back to School 2022: “Cost to Educate” a Student

Over the past few weeks we’ve been sharing updates at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year. You can follow these links to learn more about finances and enrollment. Before moving on to a new topic next week, I want to provide one additional update for our current year related to how much it costs...
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Back to School 2022: Finances

The Book of Proverbs yields a wealth of wisdom. One verse, in particular, guides much of my belief surrounding Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s efforts to affordably offer an accessible and quality graduate education – Proverbs 22:7 (NIV) states, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Winebrenner’s offering of a...
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Back to School 2022: Enrollment

I continue to be humbled and amazed by the variety and number of students who are being led to continue their education at Winebrenner. Winebrenner exists to equip leaders for service in God’s Kingdom and as we move into another year of record enrollment I have been asked to reflect on this continual growth for...
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Back to School 2022

The fall trimester is under way at Winebrenner! In the coming weeks we’ll have updates about fall enrollment (spoiler alert…this is another fall of record enrollment!), our continued commitment to low fixed costs and financial stewardship, and the various ways in which we continue to serve a diversity of students. Check back next week to...
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Meet Adam – Winebrenner’s new Coordinator of Development

Winebrenner would like to welcome Adam Willford as our new Coordinator of Development. Adam brings with him a diverse background in non-profit, ministry, education, and mental health experience. He is from Findlay and attended Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee; it is there that he met his wife, Crystal. In October, they will be celebrating 14...
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Graduation 2022: Student Story (Madeline Baker)

This week we are continuing with an update about a recent graduate. Winebrenner Theological Seminary exists to equip leaders for service in God’s kingdom. For the first 70 years of Winebrenner’s existence that meant that most students were either looking for education to further their development as a local church pastor or pursuing a degree...
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Graduation 2022: Student Story (Ross Wiley)

As Dr. Coats noted in last week’s post, Winebrenner’s graduation was a few weeks ago. Each Academic Year consists of three 12-week trimesters. At the conclusion of the third trimester – either in late July or early August – we have our annual graduation ceremony. This milestone provides a great opportunity to share some updates...
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Graduation 2022

On Saturday, July 30, 2022, Winebrenner Theological Seminary held its annual Commencement. This year, twenty students graduated, including six from the MA in Clinical Counseling, two with a Master of Divinity, and twelve with the MA in Practical Theology. One attender called the ceremony “warm and friendly.” Since it marked the first major group to...
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An Update from the Churches of God, General Conference Triennial

Last week I was a delegate at the triennial General Conference sessions of the Churches of God, General Conference (CGGC). The theme for the week was “Reimagine” and provided a great opportunity to connect with many students, partners, and givers. As a bit of a pre-conference, on Monday, July 25, we gathered in a room...
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Development & Faithful Activities: Believing in the Promises of God

The Old Testament character of Abraham is key to three major world religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Within Christianity, we see many places that Abraham is noted for his faith – specifically, Hebrews 11 shares many actions which Abraham completed “by faith.” Going further, Paul writes that he is a wonderful example of faithfulness...
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Development & Faithful Activities: Financial Stewardship

I was at a gathering of seminary leaders last month and very often the conversation turns to the lack of resources instead of recognizing God’s abundance. This is a recurring theme. As I was preparing to write this post I found what I wrote a few years ago: The other day I was in an...
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Development & Faithful Activities: Defining the terms

In Galatians 5, “faithfulness” is included as one of the “fruit of the Spirit.” An organization that is Jesus-centric should produce similar fruit, including faithfulness. So, how can we think about faithfulness within a context focused upon theological education? Our daily tasks work toward some goal, whether we are intentional about it or not. Unfortunately,...
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Development & Faithful Activities

In the previous series I introduced the idea of “faithful activity” as a way to fulfill our mission of equipping leaders for service in God’s kingdom. In the coming weeks we’ll be exploring that concept in the context of Development at Winebrenner Seminary. Stay tuned! – Dr. Brent Sleasman, President, Winebrenner Theological Seminary
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Stewardship: “The kingdom of heaven is like…”; Summary & Conclusion

The past few weeks we’ve been exploring what is often referred to as the “Parable of the Talents.” This story told by Jesus exists in two versions within the New Testament – Matthew 25:14-30 & Luke 19:11-27. Before sharing some concluding thoughts about this story, here is a summary of what we’ve explored so far...
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Stewardship: “The kingdom of heaven is like…”; Part Three

For the past few weeks we’ve been exploring Matthew 25 and the “Parable of the Talents.” A second version of this parable is found in Luke 19:11-27. One significant difference between these two accounts is found in Luke 19:13 where the landowner called ten of his servants together and gave each their resources to steward....
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Stewardship: “The kingdom of heaven is like…”; Part Two

We are continuing our exploration of Matthew 25:14-30. A few basic coordinates are helpful as we unpack this passage in relation to stewardship and theological education. A helpful way to interpret a parable of Jesus is to find who or what represents God in the story – in this case, God is represented by the...
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Stewardship: “The kingdom of heaven is like…”

Winebrenner exists to equip leaders for service in God’s kingdom. Since this is our commitment, it makes sense to explore what that kingdom is like! There are multiple times when Jesus begins with the words “The kingdom of heaven is like…” and then proceeds to tell a story about workers in a vineyard or a...
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Shifting: From “Organization” to “Movement”

You may have encountered the following sentence at some point in your life journey: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” This not only makes for good theology but also for good business practice for faith-based organizations (as a side note, the origin of this sentence is in dispute but I’ll openly acknowledge...
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Shifting: From “Institution” to “Organization”

In the first few chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis, God creates. As he creates he recognizes his own handiwork as “good” and proceeds to the next new creation. We are surrounded by people, animals, plants, and nature uniquely created by God and designed to intentionally to fulfill his purposes. Created in his...
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Shifting: Series Recap

Over the past few years we’ve provided some insights into various shifts we’re making at Winebrenner Seminary. You can read more about our approach to benchmarking and decision-making: Shifting Benchmarks & Decision-Making: From External to Internal Markers Shifting Benchmarks & Decision-Making: From External to Internal Markers, Part 2 Shifting Benchmarks & Decision-Making: From External to...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship: Summary & Conclusion

The education offered by Winebrenner Seminary has always played a role in the Christian discipleship process. However, over the past few years we’ve made an intentional shift to approach theological education as discipleship.  As a learning organization we are committed to growing in our understanding of our own commitments. Over the past few weeks we’ve...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship: Interventions in Education

In viewing education through the lens of discipleship, a clear understanding of the purpose of interventions in education emerges. In general, interventions in education include the steps teachers and/or institutions take to remove barriers to students’ learning. Similarly, discipleship is about following Jesus and walking with others to help them come to Christ, and yes,...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship: Clinical Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) program offered at Winebrenner Theological Seminary is specifically designed for Christians with deep compassion for people, and who feel “called” to the counseling profession. Students who enroll in this program typically desire to serve their community as professionally trained, licensed counselors. The program aims to prepare students...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship: Counseling & Addictions

What first comes to your mind when I say the word addiction? What mental images start to formulate and what associations start to surface? Prior to enrolling in “Addictions and Counseling” last trimester, I often immediately associated addiction with the words: drugs and substance abuse. Not too far behind, images of needles and middle school...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship: Transformation & Growth

Recently, I walked along an oceanfront beach and studied the shells. At first, I picked up the more perfect shapes but gradually, my eye was drawn to a particular shell that had been well tumbled by the waves. The original form was still present. A curving spiral still recognizable but with its sharp protective points...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship: The Role of Content & Information

Several series within these blog pages have covered seminary education as discipleship. As the idea has been discussed with faculty and staff at Winebrenner Seminary, several major questions repeatedly arise. One such question is “what is the role of content in the classroom context?” Answers range from seminary education as discipline of the mind to...
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Exploring Theological Education as Discipleship

What does it mean to refer to theological education as discipleship? Based upon several years worth of conversations it seems like the answer depends upon from which side of the conversation someone is approaching the question. For those anchored in the local church, the answer often challenges assumptions about education related to unnecessary difficulty and...
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On the Path Toward Financial Sustainability

It has been said that our present moment is simply a combination of the decisions and choices we have made in the past and, in many ways, that is true for Winebrenner Seminary. Over the past six years we have made multiple decisions – some major and many small – but there are three that...
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A Mission-based Tuition Model: Update

One of the ongoing stories that we’ve been chronicling through these InDepth posts is Winebrenner’s continued enrollment growth over the past few years. If we mark the summer 2019 as the “low point” in enrollment, we’ve been seeing a steady increase in the number of students each term. You can read more about the first...
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Reimagining Theological Education: Conclusion

Creativity is a central part of what it means to be human. As Spring approaches (slower in some areas than others!) we will be met by a variety of flowers and new growth that will all look unique and beautiful in their own ways. If God desired all of his creation to look the same,...
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For Further Discussion

If you would like to talk further about any ideas shared through this InDepth blog, please email Winebrenner President, Dr. Brent C. Sleasman at brent.sleasman@winebrenner.edu.