Training for a Church That’s Not Here Yet, Part One

This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined by Joel Murphy, a graduate of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and a member of the Board of Trustees. As Dan and Joel talk about their passion for The Seattle School’s mission, they reflect on its exciting, tumultuous beginning and the long journey of turning a dream into a reality. Dan shares about being part of the group of leaders who founded the school, and about how their vision has taken root and grown into what it is now, when integrative, transformative education is more vital than ever.

“We’re training people for a church that’s not here yet.”

As Dan and Joel look toward the next chapter for The Seattle School, they reflect on the impact of the outgoing President, Dr. Keith Anderson. Joel is the chair of the Presidential Search Committee charged with selecting Dr. Anderson’s successor, and he has spent recent months surveying members of every segment of our community to ensure that the search for candidates is rooted in the unique mission and ethos of The Seattle School.

Joel enrolled as a student in The Seattle School’s second year of existence, and he recalls being drawn by the sense that the women and men who started this institution were up to something new, something he had never seen before.

Joel: “There was so much energy going on there.”

Dan: “We had a very deep, deep passion for the Scriptures, but also a sense that we need to be open to all the texts of life—the texts of Nietzsche, the texts of Augustine. We need to be able to engage past, present, and whatever the future brings, in a way in which we are always in a stance of being learners.”

After the explosive growth (and the accompanying growing pains) of The Seattle School’s early years, new structures, new staff and faculty, and, particularly, the hire of Dr. Anderson as President helped stabilize the early energy that might have been unsustainable otherwise. His tenure has been marked by integrity and stability, fostering continued growth and innovation that is rooted in the founders’ vision.

We’re always meant to be re-forming.

Finding a successor for Dr. Anderson is no small task, but Joel and Dan share a sense of excitement as they reflect on the unfolding story of The Seattle School and look toward the new chapter ahead. Next week, they will continue this conversation by talking more about what they are looking for in a new President and what they are hoping for in the years to come.