I don’t know who first came up with the title “Steps of Faith” for this News- and Prayerletter. But whoever it was, s/he definitely described the key principle at the Seminary. Not only in these days but in its entire 32-year history.
Several times in the past years remaining staff had to face the decision to either shut down the Seminary, including to retrench all staff, sell all properties, pay all debts and donate any remaining funds to a like-minded NPO. Several times the decision was taken to NOT shut down but to continue with small Steps of Faith as it was felt that the Lord was not done with ESSA yet.
Had anyone asked us “Why do you believe that God isn’t done yet?” I am not sure what we would have answered. How does one know these kinds of things? There was no writing on the wall (either way) or any prophecy or other supernatural revelation detailing the future of this place.
There was no “cloud of witnesses” testifying that ESSA wasn’t done yet. Oh, sure there were many who said that ESSA should not shut down. Saying that didn’t cost any of them. Their futures were not connected or dependent on the Seminary. So saying that was probably not a deep conviction of a higher truth but more a simple wish regarding the future of the Seminary.
But those who had to make the call, those who were to invest their own personal well-being in a make-or-break decision? Those who would not apply for a job somewhere else but stick with ESSA, only to possibly find out that they were to be retrenched as well – losing their job, funds, time on top of the personal emotional stress that goes in hand with these sorts of things? How did they know that it wasn’t time to say goodbye yet?
I believe the answer is quite simple: They didn’t. They had no idea what the Lord was going to do with this place. But they had faith in the one who knows. Faith in the one who promised that HIS ways are best, regardless of our understanding or approval.
And so some of our staff trusted, invested themselves and did what they could to see ESSA come through. And had to be retrenched for financial reasons. No fault of their own but a necessity to see ESSA come through. They have paid the price so that others may continue with the work. This may sound unfair or unjust or disappointing and, according to human standards it definitely is. But it is also well in line with the role model Christ has exemplified. And these staff members have ashamed us all by their willingness and acceptance in humility and sacrifice.
We are happy to announce that these staff members have found opportunities to use their gifts, talents and experience outside of ESSA and continue to train and impact future generations of servant-leaders.
Remaining staff is still continuing forward with small Steps of Faith. Why? We still have no definite revelation of what God has in store for us. But we have seen lots and lots of small confirmation and indications of where our steps have been blessed beyond our imagination.
This is what we will share with you in the newest edition of: Steps of Faith.