“ …the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”
Leaders have many faces, yet true leadership has but one face: humility. In the excerpt from Luke, Jesus offers a vision of servant leadership that was radical for his day and seems radical even today.
This vision of which Jesus speaks is neither passive nor weak; it exemplifies confidence, courage and humility. Throughout the ages, truly great leaders have been those who have made wise and sound judgments in a spirit of humility, inspiring others not so much by their charisma as by their character.
Gifted leaders use their power to make others powerful rather than to impose their will upon them. They recognize the inherent dignity and potential in those they serve. They honor the dignity of others and unlock their potential.
Great leadership instills confidence and trust. “In my very first class at Southwest,” said a current student, “I suddenly sensed the potential to be better than I am, to be more open to others and to live my faith authentically.” At Southwest, such awakenings happen often. They’re the result of an inspired “leadership of the whole”: dedicated administrators, gifted faculty members, a talented support staff, and a serene physical environment. All of these nurture students as they discern and follow God’s plan for their lives.
Our mission at Southwest is to create the conditions in which students can discover their gifts for leadership within and beyond the Church. We prepare students for their unique ministries as leaders, whether as clergy, lay leaders, chaplains, teachers, counselors, missionaries, authors, or healers. Our goal is not merely to produce learned women and men but to prepare them for key roles in building the body of Christ with wisdom and sensitivity.
To fulfill this mission, we promote intellectual dialogue and diligence in scholarship, in the context of prayer and worship. We encourage critical thinking so that students can question assumptions and see problems from multiple points of view. We help students develop the vision needed for strategic thinking and planning in their ministries. We foster self-knowledge and service to others. Through time together in study, prayer, worship, and fellowship, all of us—faculty, staff, and students—continually experience, learn, and grow into leadership, through community.
For 60 years, Southwest graduates have gone forth into communities near and far. With confidence and courage, they apply their gifts in churches and in society. They are leaders in the truest sense of the word because they follow the example of Jesus in the work they do. Through faithfulness, humility, and engagement, these men and women are enlivening the Church. And in so doing, they are inspiring true leadership in others.
Scholarships Provide for Growth & Excellence
Southwest is committed to continued growth of our student body. We propose to raise $1 million for endowed student scholarships. Such support is essential for an institution committed to increasing the number of seminarians sent into the world to lead congregations and to serve as chaplains and laity in hospitals, hospice centers, homeless shelters, prisons, and the military at home and abroad. Our ecumenical programs—in Spiritual Formation, Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, and Counseling—are growing. Our current endowment for scholarships is more than $5 million, awarded as grants.
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