About Western Seminary
The overarching purpose of Western Seminary is shaped by its Christian commitment:
Western Seminary exists to glorify God by exalting His Son, Jesus Christ, in prayerful dependence upon the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
All aspects of the seminary’s operations consciously aim at enhancing the reputation of the Triune God. Furthermore, these efforts must be consciously guided by God’s inerrant word and empowered by His Holy Spirit to fulfill this high and holy calling.
Flowing from this purpose is a more specific statement of mission:
Western Seminary serves as a catalyst and resource for spiritual transformation by providing, with and for the church, advanced training for strategic ministry roles.
To be most effective, Christian organizations must discern the distinctive contribution that God would have them make to His kingdom program. To try to do everything is both foolish and arrogant. Western, therefore, focuses its ministry upon providing advanced training to individuals who aspire to, or who currently serve in, strategic ministry roles so they can become agents of spiritual transformation in the lives of others. Recognizing the critical role that leaders play with respect to how effectively the church fulfills its God-given mission, Western gives special emphasis to training pastors and related ministry leaders (whether vocational, bi-vocational or avocational).
While this ministry seeks to serve the church, it is also done in active partnership with the church because local congregations occupy a unique place of priority in the outworking of God’s redemptive plan. Furthermore, biblical synergy results when the distinctive resources of the seminary and church unite in this equipping task.
Western also partners with selected parachurch ministries (particularly those organizations that value the local church and honor it in their ministry philosophy and practice) in the equipping of their staff.
A key part of Western’s vision is to provide education that is thoroughly biblical in its conviction, faithfully conservative in its theology, passionately spiritual at its core, intensely missional in its focus, creatively flexible in its delivery, and warmly relational in its dynamic. In so doing, Western seeks to be both a proactive influence and an ongoing source of support for the body of Christ as it matures spiritually and increases in fruitfulness. To that end, special emphasis is given to grounding students in the classical dynamics of spiritual renewal for both individuals and groups.
Western aspires to become, by 2010, the “seminary of choice” for conservative evangelicals west of the Rockies due to the valued leadership training it provides and to the contribution those trained make to spiritual renewal. This achievement will be measured both by the increasing number of students enrolled compared to similar seminaries in our region and by the enhanced ministerial fruitfulness experienced by those who receive this training. We trust that, as a result of being increasingly seen as a blessing to our expanding constituency, we in turn will be increasingly blessed by them as well.
To accomplish this goal, all Western training will be thoroughly biblical in its conviction, faithfully conservative in its theology, passionately spiritual at its core, intensely missional in its focus, creatively flexible in its delivery, and warmly relational in its dynamic.
Western recognizes the need to focus its energy and resources in order to have the greatest influence and impact through its Strategic Ministry Role Training (SMaRT). While global impact is a valued reality for Western and one we desire to sustain, we believe the seminary can secure the strongest foundation for this impact not by the proliferation of formal teaching sites or branch campuses but rather by growing our current campuses in the western United States (in particular, tapping into the significant growth potential of our Northern California sites) and by focusing on opportunities that are geographically contiguous (e.g., selected segments of the Pacific Rim) to attract students to these campuses. Western will also sustain our broader global influence via both partnerships with global ministries that operate from that same geographic base and the strategic use of technology to deliver instruction.
Recognizing the critical role that leaders play with respect to church renewal and effectiveness, Western will give special emphasis to training pastors and related ministry leaders (whether vocational, bi-vocational or avocational) to become facilitators of renewed spiritual vitality and missional impact within their spheres of influence. The aforementioned increased use of flexible, distributed education to supplement our residential programs will be a key element of our institutional strategy so that geographical or other circumstantial barriers that limit potential student accessibility to this training are lowered.