Rebecca Slough’s gifts in worship, music, ministry and the arts come together in her teaching at AMBS. She is a musician, and in the classroom, she helps students discover new insights by testing artistic responses to biblical texts. Before coming to AMBS in 1998, Rebecca was managing editor for Hymnal: A Worship Book (1989–92) and also was on the faculty at Bethany Theological Seminary. She became Academic Dean of AMBS in 2007. She is a member of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and of the North American Academy of Liturgy. She extends her teaching beyond AMBS by leading retreats and workshops for pastors and congregations on worship, music and the arts.
How does the Bible shape your vocation as a professor?
The wisdom traditions weaving their ways through the Bible hold my respect and gratitude. The Spirit and the Word take flesh and form in the everyday of our lives. With watchful eyes and alert senses, we learn the truth of what lies below the surfaces of life’s day-to-day demands. Biblical and theological wisdom are the wellspring of discernment, creativity and imagination that I trust.
How do you encourage students to hold together academics and spiritual formation?
The virtue of study is its requirement for me to slow down and to take notice. This demand requires my consent to humility, a most-needed virtue for a Christian leader. Through study, I recognize the limits of my knowledge. I test the ideas of others for their soundness just as my own ideas are tested, refined, expanded and often purged. In taking on the discipleship-making practice of study, I am forced to recognize that I am not the center of the universe. Decentering my arrogance through study is a first step toward honoring the wisdom of lovers of God, the faithful followers of Jesus in my time and long before my time, the observers of God’s creation and servants of truth.
What do you value about being part of a diverse, globally connected community?
I’m grateful to be part of a learning community whose vision is to serve the church in its many cultural expressions. I’m glad to be among people who share the values of intercultural reconciliation with me and risk the struggle of living into our deepest hopes. We need each other to hold our vulnerability and mistakes, offer forgiveness and grace, and live in courage and joy.
My goal for students
My goal for students is to grow in their knowledge and trust in God’s steadfast love.
I want them to leave AMBS with the ability to recognize and honor every person they meet as a child created in God’s image.
I want students to be the kind of people who can interpret events and activities from the perspective of Jesus Christ’s redeeming grace.
Nurturing Spirit Through Song: The Life of Mary K. Oyer (Cascadia, 2007) and companion DVD, Nurturing Spirit Through Song: The Legacy of Mary K. Oyer, produced by Mennonite Media Productions, co-editor
Preparing Sunday Dinner: A Collaborative Approach to Worship and Preaching (Herald Press, 2006), co-authored with Marlene Kropf and June Alliman Yoder
“Pastoral Ministry as Improvisatory Art” in The Heart of the Matter: Pastoral Ministry in Anabaptist Perspective (Cascadia, 2004)
“Acting the Word: Preaching in the Context of Worship” in Anabaptist Preaching: A Conversation Between Pulpit, Pew, and Bible (Cascadia, 2003)
Deal with it: The Bible on Death and Dying (Generation Why Youth Curriculum, Faith & Life Resources, 2000), co-author
Hymnal: A Worship Book (Faith & Life, Brethren, Mennonite Publishing House, 1992), managing editor
Memberships and associations