Ten years ago this week, our seminary experienced the monumental announcement of the sale of its property in the San Francisco Bay Area, its move to Southern California, and plans to change its name to Gateway Seminary. The announcement thrust our seminary into a season of transition, which shaped us personally and professionally. All of us who lived through the experience can identify remarkable ways our faith was stretched, our relationships deepened, and our commitment to our mission was sharpened.

That last result, clarifying our mission and enhancing our commitment to it, is the longest lasting impact of the relocation on Gateway Seminary. Over the years, we have developed an internal catchphrase – “the mission matters most” – that encapsulates what we learned from the overall experience. It also describes the positive, continuing impact of the relocation on our corporate culture.

This is so important to us, we are using this anniversary week to remind us of our shared history and teach each other principles and practices which must be part of our long-term seminary culture. We are having a special training for all employees featuring testimonies and a panel discussion from people who lived through those storied days, with the goal of communicating to our present and future employees how our mission was central to the relocation and must be central to our future decision-making. We will also remember and celebrate specific ways God led us to become the seminary we are today.

Corporate culture is shaped – at least partly – by rehearsing common stories. In the case of churches and ministry organizations, it is also shaped by stories of God’s interventions, activities, and – using the word carefully – miracles. Yes, God still acts to make the seemingly impossible, possible. When God is moving through and around us, we should be a bit awe-struck, admitting results are beyond anything we can initiate or control. Remembering those aspects of our shared story is the best part!

Working at Gateway Seminary has been an incredible honor. It is a pleasure to come to work every day with people who believe and live this simple statement – the mission matters most. This week, we will celebrate our greatest example of living that conviction, the relocation and rebranding of Gateway Seminary. In doing so, we are reaffirming our organizational flexibility. We are willing to change – whatever that means in each new era – to fulfill our mission. Leaders change, circumstances demand new methods, and never before-seen problems demand a nimble response. That’s who we are and what we celebrate – looking back to our recent past while declaring ourselves ready for whatever the future brings.