By: Ryan Egli
Director of Enrollment Management and Marketing
at Biblical Theological Seminary
Biblical Theological Seminary is very excited to be an official sponsor of Easter Outreach. The belief that one meal can make a difference resonates very deeply with who we are. We also believe that one meal can open doors and connect neighbors. We believe that one act of kindness in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is a powerful thing. There are three basic reasons why we wanted to partner with Easter Outreach.
1. Because Easter Outreach is missional.
In 2003, then President Dr. Dave Dunbar, led Biblical Seminary’s faculty, staff, and board of trustees to adopt a new vision and mission for the seminary. It was generously orthodox in theological grounding and missional in focus. For 15 years, this has been our mission: to prepare missional leaders who incarnate the story of Jesus with humility and authenticity and who communicate the story with fidelity to Scripture, appreciation of the Christian tradition, and sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of postmodern culture.
At Biblical Seminary, our faculty and staff understand that missions impact every aspect of our institution. Our innovative curriculum is geared specifically to prepare women and men to engage our post-Christian culture. To be missional means that we love the Bible and are committed to reading it with a penetrating honesty and with an ear to what it teaches about urban ministry, poverty, social justice, sex-trafficking, child abuse, sexuality, and violence against women. For us, the missional outlook extends to every quarter of the globe and requires greater sensitivity to the resident cultural complexities and a commitment to work within such complexities.
That’s why we love Easter Outreach. It pushes Christians outside the church walls and onto the streets. It pushes us into people’s lives, homes, and living rooms with an Easter meal and an invitation to prayer. We also love the international justice component and the deep partnership with Water is Basic.
2. Because Easter Outreach partners with local churches and non-profits.
At Biblical Seminary we love the local church. We seek to serve the church in all its diversity and beauty. We don’t expect our professors and students to agree on everything. We encourage diversity, dialogue, and discovery. As a non-denominational school, we welcome students of diverse denominational, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds from around the globe. We believe that the mission of Christ is strengthened through those not afraid to ask questions and inquire beyond the status quo and their own tradition. There are no cookie-cutter students at BTS, only committed followers of Jesus, working to authentically follow Jesus into the world.
That’s why we love that Easter Outreach has always been about partnership across denominational, racial, and neighborhood lines. We love that the list of partners grows every year! We also love that Easter Outreach partners with a variety of non-profits and other Christian ministries. We want to join in and be a part of what God is doing through this diverse network of churches and non-profits.
3. Because Easter Outreach serves the city we love.
We love Philadelphia. And, if you haven’t heard, we are moving to Philadelphia in January 2019. We will be located in the heart of Philadelphia (a formal announcement of the exact location coming soon!). We have had a presence in the Philadelphia in the Hunting Park neighborhood through our Joy in the City campus, but we have now sold our main campus and are relocating entirely to Philly. Philadelphia is and will be our place to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This is where we feel God has called us to authentically incarnate the gospel. It is a city of culture, creativity, and community.
We seek to learn and listen to those who have been doing ministry in Philadelphia for a long time. We want to actively join in where the Holy Spirit is moving among the vibrant churches and ministries of the city. We are Philadelphia’s seminary – preparing the next generation of servant-leaders. The fact that Easter Outreach started in Philadelphia and serves primarily Philadelphians means it is a movement of God that we want to be involved in. The BTS community looks forward to serving and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with you this year!