By Michaela O’Donnell Long, reprinted from the Oikonomia Network.
At Fuller Theological Seminary we are grateful for the work of the Oikonomia Network and enthusiastic about our common vision of flourishing as central to theological education. Over the past year we at Fuller have been busy: 1) in the classroom; 2) developing a new platform for theological formation; and 3) equipping marketplace leaders to grow and make an impact through their work.
In the Classroom
We continue to help both our masters and DMin students make sense of faith, work, economics and vocation. With our master’s students we do this through a course called Practices of Vocational Formation. In this course, professors partner with Fuller’s Vocation and Formation Department to provide a robust ecosystem for vocational discernment and formation. We hear from students that this class is foundational and eye opening as they wrestle with what calling actually is, consider their own theology of work, and discover practices that help them sustain their sense of calling. Tod Bolsinger, Scott Cormode and I are among the faculty who teach this course.
We also have a dedicated DMin cohort focused on faith, work, economics and vocation. This popular cohort is led by Mark Roberts. Mark brings biblical wisdom, pastoral experience and FWEV leadership to the classroom. The first cohort (of what we hope will be many!) is headed into its third and final year of classroom work, where they will be covering ecclesiology and culture in relationship to faith, work, economics and vocation.
A New Platform
Fuller is convinced that in a changing world we have the opportunity to make theological education accessible to the wider church. We believe that full time master’s students will always be a heartbeat of our work, but also realize that to meet the needs of a changing world, we are well positioned to deliver creative and thoughtful formation resources to anyone. To this end, and under the leadership of Tod Bolsinger, we’ve developed Fuller Formation. Currently, we have over 25 resources on work and vocation from a collection of Fuller leaders and professors. In fact, several of the most popular resources on the platform are about these topics. We invite you to try it out, as it’s open to anyone!
Equipping Marketplace Leaders
Through the De Pree Center for Leadership we continue to steward a more specific mission to equip marketplace leaders to grow and make an impact through their work. Let me highlight a few examples of this work below.
- FWE Network: At Fuller, we are committed to the flourishing of the larger Faith, Work and Economics Network. It’s one of the reasons we value the work of ON so much. We are convinced that collaborative efforts will increase impact and lead to more lasting initiatives. To this end, we created a new position that exists to help facilitate collaboration and communication in the broader movement. Karley Hatter’s role is to understand the network deeply and to work on behalf of the collective good, serving organizations as they seek to collaborate with one another.
- Third Third: We are excited to embark on new work through the support of a generous donor, we began a new initiative that seeks to serve people in the third third of life. This new work is led by Mark Roberts. Given the large and growing number of adults in the third third of life, and given their overall wellbeing, it’s not hard to imagine how they might flourish in the full sense of the word, living lives of deep fulfillment while making a tangible difference in the world.
- Entrepreneurial Formation: Finally, over the last year we have made encouraging progress on a new initiative that seeks to help people become entrepreneurial. I lead this particular expression of our mission. We have tested a series of resources (workshops, coaching, and six-week labs) with hundreds of people that aim to help people discern calling, navigate a changing world of work and engage in biblically-based spiritual practices for entrepreneurial formation. We have heard from several of our early participants that the space to talk about discover and practices spiritual practices has been “life changing” and “transformed their work.” I will be at the upcoming Karam Forum to share a bit about the research that led to this work.
We are grateful to ON for encouraging robust thinking issues related to faith, work, economics and vocation. And, we are excited to meet many of you at the Karam Forum in January.