Introduction

Welcome to the Seminary Stewardship Alliance (SSA) Toolkit! This toolkit is designed to equip seminary leaders to become leaders in the creation care movement. The toolkit is broken up into four main sections, outlining our approach on how seminaries can live out their love for God’s creation:

TEACH others about the Biblical call to care for creation
PREACH about creation care in local churches and the community
MODEL good stewardship practices
SHARPEN each other to be leaders in the creation care movement

Our inspiration for each of these sections comes from the following verses:

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28: 19-20

“Jesus said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” – Mark 16:15

“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” – Philippians 3:17

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

Table of Contents:

SSA Background and History
SSA Covenant
Creation Care Introductory Resources

SSA Background and History

The Seminary Stewardship Alliance (SSA) brings together seminary leaders who covenant to teach, preach, model, and hold each other accountable for good stewardship practices.  Serving as a powerful catalyst for change, the SSA helps prepare the future pastors of our 300,000 houses of worship to take a leadership role in caring for God’s creation.

The SSA grew out of conversations between Blessed Earth’s executive director, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, and seminary leaders across the country.  After being encouraged by work with Dr. Timothy Tennant at Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Sleeth was inspired to form an alliance with other evangelical seminaries to provide a support network for sustainability efforts.  He drafted the SSA covenant in partnership with Dr. Tennant and Dr. Richard Mouw (of Fuller Theological Seminary).

In April 2012, the SSA was launched in an historic Earth Day signing ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  Signatories of the SSA Covenant included presidents and deans of the following schools:

 

  • Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Denver Seminary
  • Duke Divinity School
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • George Fox Evangelical Seminary
  • Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Luther Seminary
  • Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  • Tabor Adelaide Seminary
  • Wake Forest School of Divinity

Liaisons from these twelve founding partner schools participated in the first SSA gathering in September 2012.  Bringing the SSA full circle, the event was held at Asbury Theological Seminary.

The SSA catalyzes sustainable practices by providing

  • Institutional models of good stewardship
  • Resources for seminary-specific stewardship plans
  • Consulting services for developing creation care teams
  • Tools for energy audits that result in cost savings
  • Resources for stewardship/ sustainability coordinators

The SSA advances theological scholarship by developing

  • A nexus of scholars in creation care
  • Databases of creation care courses and syllabi
  • Content for online creation care courses
  • Bibliographies of publications and scholarly research on creation care
  • Seed grants for creation care scholarship and praxis

The SSA nourishes dialogue by supporting

  • Leadership development and discourse within and among seminaries
  • Conferences and workshops
  • Monthly cyber gatherings and information exchanges
  • Local consortiums that foster resource and cost savings
  • Respectful dialogue with scientific, governmental, and academic institutions

 

Seminary Stewardship Alliance Covenant

Inasmuch as we affirm that God, out of an infinite and unbounded love, did freely choose to create a world and populate it with a myriad of creatures, and

Inasmuch as we affirm that God did create humans in the very image of the Triune God, and did assign them with responsible stewardship of that world and its creatures, and

Inasmuch as we affirm that God did look at the completed and ordered creation and did declare it to be very good, and

Inasmuch as we affirm that God’s love extends over every aspect of the creation, and

Inasmuch as we affirm that all creation groans in anticipation of the full revelation of the renewing of creation, and

Inasmuch as we affirm that through the incarnation the second person of the Trinity became human in Jesus Christ, and was bodily raised as the first fruits of that renewed creation.

Therefore, as representatives of the institutions charged with educating, preparing, and equipping the leaders of churches all around the world, we do publicly, and with God as our witness, covenant together that we will:

 

  1. Teach creation care as the outworking of God’s command that humans steward the created order, showing its relation to Christian life, ministry, and calling.
  2. Model sustainable practices in areas such as our facilities, hospitality, housing, missions, communications, recruitment, travel and use of resources.
  3. Integrate creation care teaching across the academic disciplines and encourage the development of opportunities for living out what they are learning in the classroom.
  4. Take a leadership role in all facets of creation care, with particular attention to those that are distinctive to followers of Christ, including simplicity, humbleness, love, forgiveness, retreat, forbearance, faith, prayer, and compassion.
  5. Examine how biblically and theologically based creation care principles can inform relevant exchanges in areas such as science, medicine, technology, and commerce.
  6. Facilitate spiritual formation through biblically and theologically based creation care principles, such as sabbatical practices, self-control, and sacrifice.
  7. Facilitate the fruitful exchange between Alliance partners of scholarship, teaching, prayer, and discipleship centered on creation care and stewardship.
  8. Work with humility, self-control, and love with those who may not share our faith commitments in order to secure the common well being of future generations.
  9. Establish an institution-specific plan with identified creation care goals and to report our progress on an annual basis.
  10. Hold each other accountable for our efforts in these areas, and celebrate and encourage those who excel according to their gifts and means.
Creation Care Introductory Resources

What Is Creation Care? This original Blessed Earth document describes the basic proponents of creation care.
Creation Care Themes Throughout Scripture This document discusses the various ecological themes that are present in the Bible.