The Henry Institute is proud to feature and sponsor The Commonweal Project at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Commonweal Project (TCP) is generously supported by The Kern Family Foundation and is led by SBTS professor Ken Magnuson. Magnuson, Director of TCP, leads the project’s steering committee, which consists of Magnuson, Owen Strachan of the Henry Institute, David Kotter (Assistant Director of TCP) of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, and Denny Burk, Director of the Center for Gospel and Culture at Boyce College.
TCP operates under the conviction that where the gospel is received and lived, it transforms every aspect of life. This means not only the personal lives of individuals, but also our work, businesses, and even economics. We desire to see our students equipped with a robust biblical understanding of the purpose and meaning of work, economics, and human flourishing, as they seek to reach and disciple people who spend a significant percentage of their waking hours in the workplace. We want to see pastors lead their congregations to understand and embrace a strong sense of vocation and God’s calling in all areas of life, in order to serve and minister to others and to promote a gospel saturated vision of life, where the church is active in the transformation of communities.
To this end, there is a need for pastors and churches to have a well-formed theology of work and economics. Work is a gift of God that is meant to be a blessing and to be integral to the creation mandate to subdue and exercise a godly dominion over the earth. Economic exchange and service to others are meant to be part of human flourishing. Yet because of sin we toil, our work is often futile, and through greed we take advantage of others instead of serving them. These are basic realities of work and economics that we need to understand. In addition, the economic realities brought about by a complex global economy require the application of biblical wisdom to a new reality. Thus it is important for professors, students, pastors and lay leaders to cultivate such wisdom.
The Commonweal Project at Southern Seminary is aimed at responding to this need. We are therefore very excited to have received a generous grant from the Kern Family Foundation that will provide opportunity for Southern Seminary to engage in this work, and we are grateful for the Kern Family’s commitment to equipping future pastors with an understanding of issues at the intersection of Faith, Work and Economics.
Toward this end, TCP will equip students to understand basic principles of economics, business and entrepreneurship, the biblical and theological principles that ground and shape a theology of work, and how the intersection of faith, work, and economics relates to ministry in the church and through the church to the community. TCP will sponsor lunch talks, film discussion nights, a conference on Economics, as well as some workshops that will bring together faculty, with their theological expertise, with leading thinkers on work and economics, as well as pastors, denominational leaders, and Christian leaders in the business community, to learn from one another and develop godly wisdom that is needed for a complex set of issues. Topics will include “what every pastor needs to know about economics”; how Christian virtues should guide work and economics; the purpose, meaning, and dignity of work; gospel transformation in businesses, communities and economies; vocation, calling, and stewardship in all of life.