You may have heard the old quote that three things matter when it comes to real estate – location, location and location. Although likely in the past few years many are wondering if anything matters when it comes to the value of real estate!
This blog contribution is not to pique your interest in real estate investment. Those three words also capture why our Seminary Board chooses to meet on campus in Marion, IN for some of its’ meetings, while some meetings take place in other locations.
We’re grateful to be rooted on the main campus at IWU, and it is exciting to see houses being moved, streets vacated and the property cleared for our new Seminary facility to be constructed beginning next Spring. And we’re thankful for the opportunity to serve the Midwestern United States where we reside. But we wouldn’t want a “Midwest mindset” to thwart our vision to serve our whole nation and world. That’s why we have Board representatives from across North America, and also why we hold some of our meetings in locations other than the Midwest.
In the fall of 2010 our Board was hosted by 12Stone Church in Atlanta, GA. Being “on location” in one of the world’s great cities, rooted in the South but drawing people from all over the world, we could visualize the challenges and opportunities of major urban areas.
Just last month, we were “on location” in New York. One of our Board members is Major George Hood, National Community Relations & Development Secretary of the Salvation Army (SA). He arranged for us to be hosted by SA Educational Center in Suffern, NY. The first day our Board visited the Harlem Temple Corps Center in New York City, and we were briefed on the amazing work they do as a local church and compassion ministry as we toured the facility and saw them in action. It once again awakened us to the realities of serving the great urban areas of the world.
Location matters. The church you serve is located in a specific community with its own unique demographics and culture. The New Testament is full of epistles named for the location of their intended audiences – Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica. Effective ministry will be contextualized for its location.
But those New Testament letters were filled with reminders the Church of Jesus Christ transcends any one location. The power to witness propelled them beyond Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Offerings were collected in one location to serve the needs of another. A church was affirmed when its faith was so vibrant that it spread beyond its immediate location – “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia – your faith in God has become known everywhere.” (I Thessalonians 1:8)
The Board of Wesley Seminary at IWU seeks to envision our educational ministry faithfully serving ministry leaders in the Midwest, yet being part of a global network of intensive sites and technological connections that enables us to reach to the ends of the earth. The nomadic nature of our meeting locations in these formative years of our Seminary enlarges and broadens our vision. It is one way we can intentionally seek to escape being limited by location, but instead leverage location in recognition that, in the words of John Wesley, “the world is our parish.”