Our mission statement is:
It is helpful to look at the various parts of this statement in more detail.
To build up the church. The Lord Jesus has a great company of people in this world, a company of people whom we call the Body of Christ. It is these people for whom our Lord died and whom he is using to extend his kingdom to the ends of the earth. At SGTS we wish to serve this body, helping individual believers—and the Body as a whole—to be built up into maturity in Christ. We also believe that the Lord gathers his children into local churches so that they can be edified by one another and undertake concrete mission projects together. Helping local churches to grow to maturity is at the heart of our mission.
By training men for pastoral ministry. One of the most desperate needs of the Body of Christ—and of local churches—in Africa is for properly trained shepherds. Churches can only grow to maturity if they are led by Spirit-anointed men who have been thoroughly equipped with a knowledge of the Scripture and skill in shepherding the flock of God. Therefore, one of the primary means by which we desire to build up the church is by training pastors. Jesus spoke about John the Baptist as a burning and a shining lamp (John 5:35), and this description inspires us in our own work of training men for pastoral ministry. Such men must be filled with light (“shining”), which reminds us of the need for a thorough knowledge of the word; they must also burn with a passionate zeal for God, his kingdom and his people. We realize that a seminary like SGTS cannot provide a complete and comprehensive training for pastors: much of the training must take place in the local churches themselves. However, there are few churches which can provide all the academic input needed for training pastors, so we make it our aim to focus on providing the academic input while cooperating with local churches for the practical training. Our academic programmes therefore focus on the knowledge and skills needed in pastoral ministry.
And equipping other believers. The primary focus of our academic programmes is pastoral ministry, and we have a strong focus on training men who are called to such ministry. However, we believe that our work can benefit other believers too. In the first place, we do admit other believers to our study programmes so that they too can benefit from rigorous, systematic theological study. Secondly, we wish to benefit the wider body through research, and through writing and publishing exegetical, theological and devotional materials.
With a deeper knowledge of God. The aim of all that we do is to help believers come to a deeper knowledge of God. Although we work with Scripture and the writings of God’s people through the ages, our central aim is not to increase people’s knowledge about God or about his word or work; it is to help them grow to a deeper knowledge of God—a closer personal relationship with their Creator and Redeemer. If our work falls short of that it will be little more than useless.
Through his word. While we seek to lead people to a deeper relationship with God, we do not pursue that aim through any mystical or merely subjective means. God has revealed himself fully through the Scriptures, which remain the only objective means of knowing God and his truth. The Scriptures are the Holy Spirit’s chariot, which he himself prepared, and in which he rides most triumphantly. Therefore our means of leading people to a deeper knowledge of God is nothing other than the word of God.