When we consider the second statement of our Lord’s Prayer, we may ask, “How does God establish His Kingdom on earth?” He is the omnipotent, self-sufficient Lord of Hosts, and yet He wills to use ordinary, finite people so that the name of our Lord Jesus is glorified in us. Even in our failures and shortcomings, He still restores us to carry out His perfect work.
On June 23, the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) held its graduation ceremony for eight fulltime theology students, thirteen online students and three Master of Religion students who desire to do God’s will and to further His kingdom in the Middle East and North Africa. As they venture to walk the often unpaved, thorny road, His Spirit will prove to be a steady help.
During the ceremony, Karen Shaw, Student Affairs Team member and Associate Professor of Cross-Cultural Ministry, delivered the graduation address. She spoke about an unusual school – the school of failure. Failure is an inevitable part of lifelong learning, although fresh theology graduates would like to evade it. Karen shared,
On this day of your big success, I expect that some of you fear you will blow it. I have bad news for you. You are going to fail in ministry – not in everything – but you will experience moments, days, months and even years of failures, big and small.
Karen also shared how God had restored her and her husband unto greater things after they had both experienced failure at the start of their ministry. Isn’t it the case with many heroes of the faith? ABTS students will be learning from their failures, too, always rising back up to serve their churches and their communities, and to be a voice to the voiceless.
God continues to establish His Kingdom here, and as He works, He calls faithful Arab men and women to lead His Church. ABTS has been serving the Arab Church since 1960 by equipping such men and women for effective service. Today, we stand amazed at the Arab Church’s rapid growth, but we also feel the weight of the responsibility. Much work is to be done, and despite its limited resources, God is using ABTS in amazing ways!