Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reaching a Lost Generation: A Special Message to Our Church Partners

In a recent article on the so-called lost Millennial Generation, young writer Maura Pennington decries what she sees as a resigned emptiness and lack of purpose plaguing her own generation, those born in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

Citing Austrian psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and founder of “logotherapy” Viktor Frankl’s 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning, Miss Pennington chides her fellow Millennials for willingly living in what Frankl called an “existential vacuum” — which he argued can only be filled by searching for some logos or meaning in life’s circumstances, whatever they may be.

“In a life with logos or meaning, anything can be endured. Without it, a person is lost,” she writes in her article. “The lost ones are smart…. The lost ones went to college. They know about Sisyphus. They could draw the connection between checking and rechecking social media feeds and pushing a rock endlessly up a hill. Yet, perhaps they will not self-identify as lost. That abyss they feel inside is maybe just ‘growing up.’ It’s not. It’s a vacuum.”

Indeed. We at Greenville Seminary know that this “God-shaped vacuum,” to use Pascal’s phrase, can only be filled, not by some generic existential logos,” but by The Logos — Christ, the "Word Made Flesh," revealed in the inspired written Word of God and the Gospel found therein. It is that Word which is the foundation of all we do and teach as we prepare ministers of the Word to touch their lost generation.

We express our thanks to churches that have supported the work of Greenville Seminary in 2013. We pray that you will continue your support in your next budget. The prayers and financial support of your congregation are vital to us. We humbly request other churches to do likewise.

Sessions or consistories of churches that give $15.00 per communicant member per year (with a minimum of $750) are invited to become sponsoring churches of the seminary. Although the role is advisory, these relationships provide accountability for Greenville Seminary as she seeks to serve Christ’s church. Contact us for a copy of our Sponsoring Session Agreement.

One of the ways we partner with churches is to provide tuition waivers for students whose sending churches sponsor them at specified levels. The support levels required of such churches generally do not rise to the level of regular tuition rates. We seek to make up the difference by requiring waiver students to contribute some hours of work for the seminary or by depending on other churches to underwrite the work of the seminary. While student work contributions save on labor costs, they do not create positive income. The number of tuition waiver students this year is 37 percent of the student body, up from 33 percent last year. This 4 percentage point increase in tuition waivers means a greater income gap for the seminary. General support from other churches is one way to help fill that financial gap.

If you cannot place us in your church budget this year, would you consider a special offering on behalf of Greenville Seminary? We would be happy to send materials that you can distribute or use as bulletin inserts. I hope that you will prayerfully consider our request.

Thank you again for your partnership with us in prayer and giving.•