One of the books that has had a profound impact on my view of the Church's mission is, Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, by Minneapolis pastor and well-known Christian author, John Piper. As the title suggests, the book is about missions; and many who know me know that I have a deep concern for world missions. I serve on the boards of the South American Missionary Society, Uganda Christian University Partners, and the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on World Mission.
But Piper's book is really about the glory of God—seeing God glorified in our worship, our prayers, our sufferings (Piper cites many examples from martyrs and saints down through the ages), and finally seeing God glorified in the mission of the Church and in world missions, as we see people from every tribe, language and nation come to know God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and as we see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
When I was in seminary, we had a seminary president who was so passionate for world missions, someone asked him one time if he wanted all of his seminary graduates to be missionaries, and he replied, no, he would be satisfied with 90%. I don’t expect all of our graduates to be missionaries, but I want all of Nashotah House's graduates to be “world Christians”—those who have a sense of what God is doing in the world, with an awareness of our connectedness to the worldwide Church, with a passion for justice and mercy, and with a desire to see God glorified among all the peoples of the earth.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be yours as well.” In context, “all these things” means food, clothing, and shelter—all of the things Jesus’ disciples were worried about—and that we sometimes worry about. Seeking first the kingdom of God means putting the desire that all people would come to know Christ, and that his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, ahead of our other priorities. What does it mean for us to seek his righteousness? In his book, Piper defines righteousness as: “valuing that which is truly valuable.” That is, seeing things the way they really are—the way God sees them—so that our values, our priorities are God’s values and priorities. It is the advancement of God’s kingdom and God’s values and priorities that we are to put ahead of everything else in our lives. And the promise contained in this verse is that, if we do so, God will provide the other things that we need.
The mission of Nashotah House is to provide spiritual formation and growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. This growth occurs in our worship, our academic studies, and our life together in community. Nashotah House was founded 165 years ago as “The Mission,” when this area of Wisconsin was still the American frontier. An inspiring account of the founding of Nashotah House and great insight into the life of its founder, the Rev. James Lloyd Breck can be found in the book, James Lloyd Breck: Apostle of the Wilderness (available from the Nashotah House bookstore).
Our aim today is that all who study here will be steeped in the riches of the Church’s spiritual tradition of piety and learning, and that all of us will have a spiritual burden for the frontiers of today’s world and be “world Christians” and missionaries—keeping in mind that the mission field is not only overseas but also on our doorstep.
Whatever your interest in visiting our website—whether as a prospective student, a member of the clergy or a layperson looking for continuing education, or as one whom God is calling to join us in this important ministry—I hope you'll come and visit us at Nashotah House.
Blessings in Christ, The Very Rev'd Robert S. Munday, Ph.D.
Dean and President
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