Thursday, October 27, 2016

Shaping the Next Generation of Christian Leaders for the Workplace

This week is surely going to be a memorable one, first, as I prepare to welcome 400 academic, business and church leaders from all over the globe to attend our Faith@Work Summit in Dallas this evening and, also, as Marsha and I prepare for the wedding of our daughter, Rachel, this weekend. Both of these events are the result of hours and hours of careful planning and preparation, and I am confident that God will be honored and glorified throughout them both.

As Christians, we seek to honor God in every area of our lives. That includes our work. The Summit in Dallas this weekend provides a unique opportunity for leaders to learn from each other and create collaborative partnerships to further faith/work integration, which studies show results in higher job and life satisfaction.

Seminaries and universities are considering how to shape the next generation of Christian leaders for the workplace. One way LETU is involved in that is the launching this week of our new Passage Institute for Youth and Theology to equip youth to consider God's call on their lives and how their faith informs their decisions, before they make their college and career choices. Studies have shown that youth who have engaged in serious theological study and intentional Christian practices have a more resilient faith.

The Passage Institute is made possible by a generous $600,000 grant from the Lilly Foundation and provides for 50 high school sophomores from all over the Ark-La-Tex region to participate in a meaningful mentorship program at LETU. Those students selected to become Passage Fellows will begin with a week-long residential camp in June 2017 on our LETU campus, followed by a year-long mentorship program with a Passage Mentor from their local church, guided by the Passage Institute, and followed by a second week-long residential campus experience.

During that first week-long campus experience, students will have intensive study in classic Christian theology, discipleship, worship, ministry practice and outreach. Seminars will be led by LETU theology faculty.

When these high school fellows return the following summer, in June 2018, they will be called to lead, mentor and serve the next class of incoming Passage Institute fellows.

LETU theology professor Jonathan Lett is the director of outreach for the Passage Institute. He is encouraging parents, pastors, youth pastors, church leaders and others to nominate youth who they believe will benefit from this level of study. Applications require an essay and references and are being accepted online now at www.letu.edu/PassageInstitute. Application deadline is January 15, 2017.