Dr. Gary V. Nelson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Tyndale University College & Seminary
you noticed? Things are quite different.
people say that we are living in a
Post-Christendom time, others use
a phrase: 'After Christendom' to describe
a time where the church finds itself
marginalized and decentred. As a result,
in a Canadian society where more and
more people have less and less Christian
memory, in many cases, we are irrelevant.
Worse, they may simply be unaware
that we even exist.
is the world God has placed us in
and how we live and engage with it
as people of faith is crucial. The
word 'missional' and the frameworks
behind that word may appear faddish-just
another way to do church and be Christian.
In fact, it is much more than that.
many ways it is a recovery of the
incarnational energy that enabled
the early church to turn its world
upside down. The early church believed
that knowing Christ also meant taking
on the redemptive mission of God to
the whole world-to find identity not
in some kind of holy huddle but in
the marketplace, neighbourhoods, and
the places they lived their lives.
They realized that to do so they would
have to become a 'sent' people.
mission for the early church shaped
an imagination in which its first
inclination was not to form committees
and constitutions but to be a people
of the good news both in word and
deed. The hope of the gospel in the
New Testament was a church that lived
this out with missional imagination
and courage. That is the challenge
for us today-to reimagine and rediscover
the reckless abandon and costly discipleship
of our roots; to find out where God
is at work and join with God's activity.
this rediscovery, churches and people
of faith are finding new passions.
Young adults are moving into marginal
neighbourhoods seeking to be incarnational
in their witness of Christ. Others
are discovering God's concern for
justice and still others have moved
to a new way of introducing people
to the possibilities of faith in Jesus
Christ. To have a missional imagination
is to have the heart of God who longs
for people to come to Him, and for
justice and righteousness to reign
in this world. The times we live in,
however, dictate that we may be spending
a lot of time introducing ourselves
to people and communities that do
not know who we are.
the exiles in Babylon the Prophet
Jeremiah wrote words from God (Jeremiah
29:4-9) that speak to these times.
He states clearly that it is He that
brought them here and He calls them
to settle down and live into the world
he has placed before them. This is
a great time to be the church. The
challenge is found in whether or not
we will engage the world to which
God has placed us or hide from it.
is why Christian higher education
is important. Students need to learn
to think critically and intelligently
about the challenges in the rapidly
changing world around them. They need
to learn how passionate Christian
faith can inform any career or discipline.
Students need to be challenged, stretched,
supported and encouraged in an academic
environment that treats each one as
a whole person. At Tyndale, we have
a thriving community life on and off
campus that ensures learning does
not stop when class is over.
have shaped our learning environment
to encourage academic success and
spiritual development. At Tyndale,
we believe if we invest in a few years
of student's life the educational
and formational experience will be
amazing. Each student will learn and
find their faith is nurtured and challenged
as they develop a faithful transformed
character and a passionate faith.
Students come not just for an education,
but to share in the lives of faculty
and staff in a way they wouldn't anywhere
else. Tyndale strives to model the
early church and the way the Gospel
of Jesus broke down barriers of tribe,
gender, and language in radical ways.
"This is how everyone will know
that you are my disciples, if you
have love for one another," Jesus
said (John 13:35, ISV). This is the
character and the difference in a
university education offered by Christian
Christian institutions are needed
because our society needs graduates
who are ready to shape the culture