The Bauer-Broholm Lecture
By Dr. Bradley P. Bauer (DMin ‘16)
Established in 2019, the Bauer-Broholm annual lecture seeks to honor the theological legacy and the lives of ministry as witnessed in the Reverend Dick Broholm and his conversation, exploration friend, and meaning making partner George Bauer.
For those who are unaware, Broholm was a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School (circa 1956), where he was also later a DMin student, a student teacher and eventually the head of both The Center for the Ministry of the Laity at Andover Newton Theological School and The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership at Andover Newton Theological School. Walking alongside him on the journey, Bauer, served as a senior executive for IBM, as an investment banker, philanthropist and entrepreneur who is further connected with Andover Newton Theological School by way of being a former Trustee.
Together the two of them explored for more than fifty years the theological shapes, boundaries and implications of what is meant, as Jitsuo Morikawa so elegantly offered, by the fact that “humankind is called to affect history and the reshaping of the world” meaning then that “men and women in the business, social, health, educational and physical planning institutions must see themselves under the mandate of calling”, further meaning that every individual and indeed every institution, fore institutions are the creations of individuals in society, are then being confronted with the penultimate question “to what end.”
With this as the field of play or more aptly proposed as a part of the truth of reality within the span of the Christian life, they also asked, what is the role of the church in bridging the Sunday to Monday gap, fore as to Jitsuo’s point, the bulk of the churches relevance comes by way of ministry happening outside of its four walls? In the world of work and not the day of rest. Indeed, to what account should it be held too if its role is to serve all of creation and its people set about that task daily?
Should the church be viewed by the metrics of consumerist ideals such as gains and losses; the size of its membership role; the number of backsides in the seats each Sunday; its ability to reach and stay within its budget, etc. or, should the church be viewed in the light of the impacts that it helps to build, inform and resource in the ever maturing faith and faithfulness by way of its members being scattered as change agents co-creating throughout the world?
Through the years Bauer and Broholm engaged these questions and more within a number of frameworks as analogy to the span and dimension of this broad and diverse context some of who’s titles included: The Ministry of the Laity; Business as a Calling; Servant Leadership; A wager on the Congregation; Seeing Things Whole; Trustees of the Universe; A Theology of Institutions and Faith at Work to name a few.
Common to each category the two found no shortage of interested parties wanting to discern and build a deeper understanding of themselves connecting to a meaning by way of knowing more intimately their connection with a purpose greater than themselves. This work planted many seeds and bore much fruit. Unfortunately, however, on a communal and societal level, the two also encountered ongoing frustration along with institutional disillusionment as they struggled to find institutions willing in durable and lasting ways to convey and support the significance of this theological message. But I am thankful that thanks to this lecture series, their spirit lives on.
It is the purpose of the Bauer-Broholm annual lecture to bring timely and relevant topics to the fore relating to the legacy of Bauer and Broholm’s work on Faith at work. We do this in the hopes that faith may come to be at greater work in this world. We hope to encourage a landscape of self-examination and awareness that sees life as being the total human enterprise, in collaboration with God…so that…we consciously do our part, in the reshaping of human history toward the new creation.