Illustration By Dan Williams
I am writing in August, on the eve of a new academic year. Another season approached with uncertainty due to COVID-19 and its variants, which will continue to impact on-campus life, hybrid and remote learning, and institutional planning in the year ahead.
As you read this, your academic year already will have begun. For some, in-person with masks on; for others, fully online or in hybrid spaces. We continue to live in the space between what was and what will be. And yet we enter this new academic year hopefully. Theological school communities are resourceful and resilient.
Theological school leaders have had to become pioneers over the past 18 months, exploring new landscapes with a limited view of the horizon, called to be nimble in responding, creative in experimenting, and open to contemplating new paths and opportunities.
In this issue of In Trust, we invite you to hear the voices of a new generation, to ponder a future of blockchain technology in theological education, and to learn from peers whose creative innovation during COVID has surmounted many obstacles.
How can theological schools prepare ministers to engage with Generation Z? Springtide Research shares what it uncovered in a year-long research study of young people. The findings are an opportunity for you to reflect on your own relational approach to this generation, recognizing that they are seeking – and value – trusted relationships most of all.
What does blockchain have to do with theological education? More than you would think. The technology behind cryptocurrencies also is revolutionizing record-keeping. Crypto Credentials explores this technology and the ways it is making credential management more manageable – and meaningful.
The In Trust Center has awarded 98 Resource Grants since 2018 to spur innovation; recent grantee Trinity Evangelical Divinity School pursued a small pilot program which ended up with big learning.
And what have advisory board members, deans and other leaders learned about living in community as a part of a university? Six schools share their unique experiences. Spoiler alert – no two embedded schools are alike.
Finally, several theological school leaders are sharing prayers that are in their hearts entering this academic year. May God hear and receive them, along with your own.