Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

4/14 2015

We’re All One Body in Christ

“For just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we are all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Nepal-Mission-TripI shared this scripture passage with my World Mission Initiative Nepal team during the morning it was my turn to lead our devotional time. That morning our team shook ourselves out of bed at 4:00 so we could watch the sunrise over Mt. Everest. Of course I forgot that it was my morning to lead devotions until we filled into the church van to drive to the mountains. And of course I was so tired that I slept almost the entire drive there. I stumbled out of the van more worried about how I was going to pull together an on-the-fly devotional, than excited about watching the sunrise.

After ascending a few stairs, our team arrived at a flat, raised, platform just as the sun started to peak through the mountaintops. It is hard to describe what it feels like to watch the sunrise over Mt. Everest for the first time. It’s almost like watching a stage manager begin a play by turning on one stage light on at a time. At first all you are able to see is one stage prop, but slowly you start to see more props, then actors, then what the actors are wearing, then how the actors fit into the set. By the time the set is fully illumined, you cannot help but marvel at how every part of the set works together to tell a story. When the sun finally crept above the mountaintops, I had to sit down for a minute because I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s creation- particularly how each part of the mountain-from the snow peaked caps to the luscious green tree tops, worked together to create the breathtaking view in front of me.

All of the sudden I knew what I would share about for our morning devotional time: the idea of the church being one body with many members. One of the things I struggled with on our trip to Nepal was figuring out my place within our group. To use Paul’s metaphor for the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians, I was struggling to be a head in a context that called for hearts. I cannot be immediately comfortable in new situations the way some of my teammates can. I cannot put people at ease the way some of my other teammates can. And I certainly cannot work a church coffee hour the way our team leader can. But one thing I can do is observe a new situation and proclaim how Jesus is moving in that new situation.

So with Mt. Everest behind me and my team in front of me, I lead a devotional time on the body of Christ. I read Paul’s exhortation on the body of Christ, then lead my team through a time of recognizing the various gifts and talents of each team member. I ended our devotional time by praying for the people we met in Nepal, and for the people we left behind in the United States.

As I transition back into my life at Pittsburgh Seminary and reflect on my experience in Nepal, I realize that leading that devotional time was an important moment in my journey toward discerning my call to ministry. I learned that not only do I have gift and talents for proclaiming the Word of God, but doing so brings me great joy. For it is in the proclamation that I get to take all of my observations, and reflections about who God is and how God acts, and share them with others in a way that brings God glory. Because of my experience in Nepal I am newly energized to participate in God’s call in my life through my seminary education and ministry in the PC(USA).

Heavenly Father,

I praise you for the diversity of gifts and talents that exist within your church. Help us as a community of believers to recognize and appreciate this diversity. I pray that you would help your church discern its gifts and talents so that it might serve you more faithfully.

In your Son’s holy name we pray,


Rebecca DePoe is a middler MDiv student who recently traveled with the World Mission Initiative to Nepal. She’s serving as the seminary intern at Bellevue United Presbyterian Church. You can follow her on Twitter at @RebeccaDePoe where she live tweets her #ch47pts readings.


8/15 2014

New Doctor of Ministry Degrees: Meeting Today’s Needs

Urban scene from Pittsburgh to Paris

By the end of the century, 75 percent of the world’s population will be in urban areas. The Church must be spiritually and socially transformative in urban ministry.

As the world changes, those in ministry must meet new needs. To help prepare pastors, Pittsburgh Seminary is offering two new Doctor of Ministry focuses. The Missional Leadership and Urban Change DMins begin January 2015.

The Urban Change Focus is designed to assist church leaders in framing and pursuing spiritually and socially transformative ministry responses to rapidly changing complex urban circumstances. Opportunity for study in urban settings, including an international immersion for one week in London and a second week in Pretoria, South Africa, will provide global contextual education. Other sessions meet in Pittsburgh.

The Missional Leadership DMin seeks to form pastors to lead congregations in recognizing what it means to participate in God’s mission within their specific context. Defining mission while sitting in the pews blocks the wide open vision of community. The goal is to plunge into the neighborhood and develop new relationships while practicing a keen understanding that God is active in the world. From these new practices and habits, a new vision for ministry and faith emerges. Classes meet in January and June in Pittsburgh.

Both Urban Change and Missional Leadership include the following goals:

  • To develop a biblically rooted and theologically informed understanding of missional congregations and leadership. Achieving this goal will include the development of a theology of missional congregations, leadership theory, ethics, ecclesiology, proclamation, and conflict theory.
  • To form leaders who are theologically reflective from within their own contexts and able to lead their congregation to become a missional community. Achieving this goal includes the integration of research methodology with formative postures, habits, and practices of adaptive change leadership, the challenge of re-thinking church, cultivating communal discernment, plunging into the neighborhood, preaching, worship, and pastoral care.

Interested in either program? We welcome your applications online through Oct. 31, 2014. Or contact the Doctor of Ministry Office with questions at 412-924-1421 or DoctorOfMinistry@pts.edu. An MDiv or equivalent is required for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

Written by the Rev. Dr. Susan Kendall, director of the Doctor of Ministry Program.

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