Yesterday Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur Georgia installed Dr. Steve Hayner as its ninth president. If you're a Presbyterian Christian you should take notice. If you're not a Presbyterian Christian...well, I hope you'll take notice anyway.
In a wonderful irony, this most mainstream of institutional Presbyterian seminaries welcomed a new president who made it clear in his remarks that the job of the seminary is not to create ministers to prop up the institutional church. It is to create leaders for the church who can discern what God is doing in the world and guide the people of God to join Him. Those of us who know Steve know his personal commitments match his public comments.
It's a window on our times to see an ecclesiastical institution throw its best party for someone who believes the institution can't save us. It's also a very hopeful sign. Many of us who lead mainstream churches are only too aware of the entrenched problems of denominational Christianity in our day. Fresh leadership is needed to guide us through difficult times in the North American church while older forms of "doing church" wither away and new expressions are being born.
Dr. Hayner is the right kind of leader for the times. May God prosper his ministry at Columbia.