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Dr. Thompson Blog #2

After teaching for 20 years in a multicultural college with a historic mission to American Indians, I came to understand that all ministry must be contextualized to its setting.  I saw what happens to entire people groups when ministry is and is not contextualized.  Contextualization can be seen in the early life of the ancient church as it moved from one culture to another and adapted its methods in the process.   Because of this commitment,  I have personally adopted the logo you see here.   It was created with the help of  Eric Lembke, a Christian Ministry major at Bacone College who now serves with his wife in her native land of Burma. 

The logo illustrates the words of Paul as he described his own approach to contextualized ministry.  “I have become all things to all people, so that I may, by all means, save some.” (I Cor. 9:22, NASB).  The logo contains the 3 Greek words Paul used to describe his commitment to contextualization:  πάντα (panta, all things), πᾶσιν (pasin, all men), πάντως (pantōs, all means).  Notice that all 3 words are variations of the same word: ALL.   All things, all men, all means. Paul drives home his point by repeating the same word 3 times over. He makes it clear that he is “all in” when it comes to connecting people with the Gospel.  The ultimate goal of  contextualized ministry is the word that appears in the center of the logo:  σώσω (soso, Might save.” That’s what we are about at Northwind.

I am at Northwind because we share that same commitment. Degrees in specialized ministry are customized to the needs of the students so that they can prepare for ministry in their unique context and calling.  A traditional course of study tells  students, “Here is a prescribed course of study, this is how ministry is done. Fit your ministry to it.” At Northwind, we ask, “Where and how do you feel called to serve, and how can we help you do it more effectively?”  Whether you want to understand the theology of J. R. R. Tolken or learn to be an effective counselor, or lead well in a bi-vocational setting, Northwind can help you do that.

My friend, the late Kyle Taylor (who was proudly Pawnee), used to paraphrase that passage to read, “ I try to find common ground with everyone so that they will let me tell them about Jesus.”   That’s what we do at Northwind.

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