Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Seminary Re:mixed

posted by Scot McKnight

Seminaries are today again up for review. The editors at Christian Century have a series of questions we can discuss and then they have a rather firm suggestion as well. How would you answer their questions?

If church leaders had the chance to fashion a seminary from scratch, what would it look like? Would it have its own campus? Would it be tied to a denomination or be fully ecumenical? Would the classical academic subjects be taught and, if so, how would that learning be correlated with the work of forming spiritual leaders and training them in the practice of ministry? Would greater emphasis be placed on supervised ministry? Might the entire curriculum be based on an apprenticeship model of learning?

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Seminaries and their constituencies should use this moment to consider new pedagogical models as well. Take, for example, the longstanding disconnect between the practical fields of ministry and the academic disciplines of Bible, theology, ethics and church history. Curricular discussions have focused on how to help students integrate the practical and theoretical aspects of study, but most efforts end up maintaining the division and placing the burden of integration on the students more than on than the curriculum and the faculty. Is it time to organize courses around the life and mission of the church?

Change usually comes slowly to institutions, but these are not usual times. Deft administrators and imaginative teachers will have to take some risks to redefine theological education for the next generation.



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Ken Schenck

posted February 10, 2010 at 6:49 am


It’s funny because many of these things are exactly what we have done in our new seminary at Indiana Wesleyan. MDiv students have to be in ministry at least half time to do the degree, and assignments each week involve action research or strategizing in their local church context. About 2/3rds of the program can be done online.
Similarly, Bible, theology, and church history professors come into the practice of ministry courses and facilitate foundational material in the context of a missional, leadership, etc. course, thus a kind of team teaching approach. Online they facilitate particular forums each week in addition to the lead praxis prof of record.
So our question is how much trouble are we going to have with ATS accreditation, since those who hold the power are traditionalists?!



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RJS

posted February 10, 2010 at 8:00 am


Is a seminary an academic arm of the church – to develop thinking, wrestle with new developments, and connect to the past – or is it a training school for pastors?



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Scot McKnight

posted February 10, 2010 at 8:04 am


Ken, sounds like good innovative teaching. Are the students responding well?
RJS, that’s one of the major questions at the heart of Seminary Enterprise. There is too much disconnect with the local church and with ministry; part of that is because it has become an educational institution.



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RJS

posted February 10, 2010 at 8:30 am


Scot,
I don’t doubt that there is too much disconnect in seminary training. But where, it anywhere, do we have room for academics – thinking and wrestling with new and old ideas – in the church? Is seminary such an institution or should it be?
It seems to me that the only way to “finance” such room for thinking is to connect it to another part of the mission. There will be a tension between the academic and the training aspects – but I don’t like the idea of seminary as training school.



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nathan

posted February 10, 2010 at 8:38 am


i think where i saw the major disconnect at Vanderbilt was how to draw connections for the life of preaching/teaching/spiritual formation from classes like Hebrew Bible or NT. These survey classes were taught by world class voices, and the material was rich…
however, because of the historic commitments of Vandy Div., there is for the most part always an “on the ground” sensibility in the teaching and the students. (It’s got a great program for PH.D in theology and practice.)
It’s undeniably a “constructive” school and deeply concerned with forming parish/congregational leadership.
additionally, Vandy has a robust Field Ed./pastoral care component to it’s M.Div and M.T.S. programs where action is paralleled with a group of colleagues that debrief your action with theological reflection, writing, etc.
I think the ecumenical character of the place was critical to the success of the program for me.



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James-Michael

posted February 10, 2010 at 8:46 am


RJS,
I think you make a good point, but I see Scot’s also. During my M.Div training at Gordon-Conwell I didn’t know whether I would be going the academic route or the local church ministry route until my final year, and I wasn’t alone in that. I think seminaries should allow for such flexibility in the beginning years of one’s M.Div. Too many times it was assumed that everyone in class was going to be a pastor/missionary. At the same time, the practical ministry experience and coursework helped me realize that ultimately that was not the route I was to take.
At the end of the day a seminary education should train Pastors and ministers how to be as academically minded as they can be…and should train academics to be as ministry-minded as they can be.



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Scot McKnight

posted February 10, 2010 at 9:04 am

joanne

posted February 10, 2010 at 9:09 am


What I have needed in ministry is more family counseling, more on missional strategies for reaching the community. I loved the academic too but perhaps some balance toward practical aspects also.
I think seminary could also be less tied to a place and could become more hands on in that learning could be at a missional ministry site with active participation and classroom learning.



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Ken Schenck

posted February 10, 2010 at 9:29 am


Scot, students are responding very well indeed. But this sort of approach will attract a certain kind of student. It probably isn’t as attractive to the student who wants to go on and get a PhD in Bible or theology. But then again, it’s really designed for the person that wants to be maximally equipped to “do the work of the ministry” rather than the person (admittedly like me) who is more wired to want to think more than act.
The accessibility–both because it’s online like Bethel and very inexpensive–has made it impossible to refuse for students whose personality might have led them in a more traditional direction.



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Richard

posted February 10, 2010 at 9:57 am


I’m currently wrapping up a program that is similar to the format described at IWU, emphasizing a balance that leans more toward practical and less away from theoretical. I have to humbly disagree with this being the model of the future.
I’m very underwhelmed by the advantages of shifting coursework online and limiting life on life interaction with the professor. It’s great if the goal is information transfer, but it is very limited in its ability to help with life transformation, which is absolutely necessary for those who are going to be the primary “disciplers” (for better or for worse) of whatever church they end up serving at. I think that gets at the pedagogy question mentioned in the OP.
I’ve also found that emphasis on practical has often been shaped, rather unintentionally, by church growth movement more than anything else. Pragmatism rules the day when there aren’t other core values that run deep enough to resist the temptation.
I don’t think you’re equipped to do ministry by reading practical handbooks or completing assignments online. Though I do appreciate the effort IWU is making by requiring seminarians to complete counseling to catch issues that need unpacked. Ultimately you’re shaped for ministry by being shaped and molded for it by the community of faith and by the disciplines.



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chris

posted February 10, 2010 at 10:33 am


“I’m very underwhelmed by the advantages of shifting coursework online and limiting life on life interaction with the professor” -Richard
I have to respectfully disagree with this. I work with the MA in Global Leadership program at Fuller Seminary and our experience is that the community that is built within the cohorts of students that go through our program rivals, if not exceeds, the depth of community found on campus. This is due to a number of reasons. Primarily it is because while studying online the students are all leading in their respective fields and the cohort becomes a safe place to wrestle through the tough issues with other experienced leaders. We also build in some very intentional times of sharing during the on-campus portions of the degree.
Part of the design of our program also speaks to some of the issues raised in other comments and in the article. the first is the issue of pedagogical styles. The MAGL uses a more androgogical method which utilizes both the previous experiences of our students and also sees professors as “co-learners” not just sources of information. This approach only works because we require a certain amount of ministry experience in our students. This means that it is not a “pre-service” degreee, it is not preparing anyone for anything, rather it is coming alongside the people whom the community has raised up as leaders and helping them in whatever way we can.



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Darryl Schafer

posted February 10, 2010 at 10:34 am


Some of the best pastors I know are terrible theologians, and vice versa. There are some out there who do both rather well, but they’re pretty scarce.
So, to answer your question, I don’t know. I echo RJS’ question as to whether or not there’s room for academics (theology?) in the church.
Just thinking out loud.



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Joey

posted February 10, 2010 at 10:44 am


Chris #11, you disagree that he is underwhelmed?
I’m sure there is a large variance between institutions on how well these programs work. Like any discipline, though, the entire person needs to be addressed. If, like you claim is the case in your program, the students are already engaging professionally in ministry then I’m sure that “information transfer” could be quite an asset. But what of folks who are just starting to feel called to an area of ministry but have no previous training and can’t get a job “leading in their respective fields” without said training and coursework? Would an online program benefit this large portion of hopeful ministers?
My formation into ministry was multi-dimensional: I was allowed to participate in overseas church work for seven months as an intern, I had deeply committed professors who personally invested in me and my peers. I also had a solid load of diverse coursework, much of which was simply information transfer. I can’t see how a person like me, with little or no church background, who feels call to ministry would be greatly aided by an online degree.
I’m sure your program is great. It has a wonderful reputation. I just don’t know that it is a great option for all seminaries.



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Ken Schenck

posted February 10, 2010 at 10:46 am


I think most of us would prefer the traditional onsite class but I do think:
1. I am seeing a ton of students starting their MDiv online who might never have dawned the door of a traditional seminary because their churches don’t require an MDiv.
2. Online education requires an intentionality in androgogy that actually can make the average learning much greater than the typical onsite class–Department of Education studies bear this out.
3. Online education makes “on the job training” possible, something a residential program cannot as easily pull off.
In the end, it’s hard for me to imagine that alternative modalities of this sort are not going to enrich the minister pool in America significantly, since most American churches do not require seminary.
I don’t think there’s a big problem with the traditional way of doing seminary and it has its advantages. But I think there are also clear advantages to some of the new possibilities–especially as technology increasingly collapses online “distance” between faculty and students.
My opinions…



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T

posted February 10, 2010 at 11:25 am


I’d like to see the bulk of the enterprise (other than scholarly research/PHD work) move largely to the local church/mission, including the space to raise and explore theological questions, and have that local work assisted/resourced by the scholarly institutions which is more possible now than ever. I’m glad that more seminaries are moving in those directions; hopefully more local churches will take advantage of the opportunity to integrate online classes with local mentoring and mission.



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Richard

posted February 10, 2010 at 11:30 am


Chris and Ken,
I think the models work great for information dump and even some skill training. I’m not advocating for an expert to tell us what to do either. And yes, the research backs up that students wrestling with the material increases learning… but what material- how to write a sermon, great. How to foster community development, awesome. What are you offering that a book doesn’t already offer?
In my experience, online community doesn’t foster spiritual formation and I’m not sure it can. It flattens your communication to just the written words- like playing a one string guitar instead of a 6 string; sure you can get the tune plucked out but it’s not as rich and vibrant. Think of all the advantages of human interaction that get tossed to the side in favor of bottom line efficiency (cost) and convenience (location). If the secular world gets that (like Clooney’s new movie Up in the air illustrates), why are we missing it?
One of the major crises, if not the major crisis, of the American church is that we live no differently than our non-Christian neighbors. I think it’s perfectly possible to get all of the training from Seminary, online or onsite, and never resemble Christ for all the pedagogical models I’ve exposed myself to. The research backs that up.



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JR Rozko

posted February 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm


Excited to see this conversation going on over here. I did a 9-part series on this subject on my blog. You can find the last post in that series (with links to the precious ones) here – http://j.mp/4RsKs1.
I mention it for 2 reasons. 1) Because of the great discussion had on several of the posts and 2) Because it assumes that there is no real point in asking this question until you have articulated what KIND of church seminaries need to equip leaders for. I was asking question about the future of theological education in light of a missional ecclesiology for Post-Christendom.
Programs like Fuller’s MAGL (which I used to work for – Yo Chris!) and IWU’s new MDiv are good examples of modifications to the given system, but for many of us, the changes we need to see in how we seek to form missional leaders move far beyond what can happen here.



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andy

posted February 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm


What a wonderful discussion! I think the local church and the seminary need each other and, rather than seeing seminaries drastically change, the relationship between these two elements must change. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve heard seminary called “cemetery” with a wink and a smile in my local church, as though no living faith could survive there. And, while in seminary, I heard an endless critique of local congregations and pastors. I’m not sure where all this enmity comes from.
But seminaries and local churches need each other. I’m the Equipping Director at a large church, and I’m at times overwhelmed by the biblical illiteracy in my congregation. The average Christian simply doesn’t know how to read the Bible well. Couldn’t the seminary (and those trained there) easily solve this problem, and others like it? On the flip side, my greatest regret about my time at seminary (Gordon-Conwell) was not getting involved with a local congregation.
I think the future of seminary education lies not in online forums or innovative programs, but in partnership with and integration into the lives and missions of local churches. If these two partners can’t learn to dance, then the Church Universal will be severally impoverished.



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Brian Kiley

posted February 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm


I agree with James-Michael’s comment above that it would be wise for seminaries to allow some programmatic flexibility for students depending on whether they plan to go the ministry route or the academic route. I’m nearing the end of my M.Div, and several of the courses I have taken would have been useless if I was planning to go the academic route.
I also think that seminaries need to broaden their thinking when it comes to preparing students for ministry. Others have already noted the importance of focusing on integration between theology and practice, and I would add to that that seminaries need to focus on training pastors in some more practical ministry skills. Two examples are:
Business- It boggles my mind that graduate schools (whether they are in theology, law, medicine, etc.) don’t do more to train their graduates for the business side of their professions. Whether we like it or not, the reality is that running a church is running a business, and I believe pastors would be more able to streamline the business side of their operation so that they can focus more on ministry if they had some basic training in business management.
Counseling- Most (if not all) M.Div curricula have at least one class in pastoral counseling, but I’m inclined to believe this isn’t enough. Pastors interact with people during their times of greatest need, and the preparation to offer sound, biblical advice during those times needs to be taken very seriously.
Also, it would be nice to see the cohort system come into broader use, whether in online or in person settings for several of the reasons already mentioned. It seems far better for the health of students to have them in groups where they can progress through seminary together.



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Sue

posted February 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm


Richard,
I don’t know where your seminary experience has been, but perhaps the problem lies in the design of the particular program, not in the fact that it occurs online. I have done both online coursework and traditional classwork for my seminary classes and plan to do more online in the future. All of the online components that I’ve taken so far include at least some hours of face-to-face time on campus, (for which I flew to the campus attend.)
My experience is that I have developed richer relationships with a number of online students as opposed to students whom I’ve only met in traditional classes. Our discussion time in traditional classes is limited; our discussion time in online posts can last as long as any of us are interested in posting on a particular topic.
I had one experience where I went out for lunch with five other students that I had gotten to know first through online discussion, and over lunch we talked nonstop for over an hour. I am still in contact with three folks from that group and we continue to share our ideas online. I have not had this kind of experience in my traditional classes.
In my online classes I have access to everyone’s thoughts online. In my traditional classes there are some students who rarely contribute, and the rest of us don’t get to benefit from them.
I admit that at the beginning I was frustrated not to have as much interaction with the professor as I would have liked, but it challenged me to form my own thinking. I also grew tremendously from hearing the perspectives and experiences of my fellow classmates, all of whose backgrounds were very different from my own.
I have experienced being formed by God’s Spirit through both my online and my traditional classes. I’m not sure how one couldn’t be, but perhaps that depends on your definition of spiritual formation.
Outside of my seminary classes I am fortunate to have a circle of ministry colleagues with whom I can discuss ideas and get advice. Currently being in a ministry position keeps me always trying to find practical application for what I am learning.
I believe academic richness, spiritual formation and training for the practical ins-and-outs of daily ministry ought to be a part of any seminary training, but I can’t see why these goals can’t be accomplished equally well through an online program. They are just going to have to be accomplished differently.



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Ken Schenck

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm


Richard, the question of spiritual formation is a good one and regularly raised. I tend to agree with you at least to say that it is easier to do spiritual formation face to face. I also suspect that certain personalities (particularly introverted intuitives like me) would find it easier to be formed spiritually online than others (e.g., extroverted, concrete types).
But I do think effective spiritual formation can take place online. Online there can be live chats; you can post videos of yourself on YouTube. There can even be live video chats with various software. Technology will only collapse the distinction over time.
If a “cohort” or spiritual formation group met face to face before meeting together online, the onsite bond can continue into online courses over the course of a year before meeting back together again face to face. This is how we do it. Their first course is together onsite, then they come back together a year later onsite again. In the meantime the same group takes two 1 hour spiritual formation courses together.
I know a person that did a doctorate in online spiritual formation. I’d be interested to know if he has any studies on this…



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Richard

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm


Amen JR Rozko
That articulates a lot of the frustration I was trying (and failing) to articulate on this thread. I’m not against using online mediums and I’m not convinced that the traditional format has been working either. I just think that sometimes our shiny new toys distract us from addressing the deeper issues.



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Jim Martin

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm


Good discussion about a very important subject. A few observations:
1. You make such an important point, Scot #3, when you speak of the disconnect that exists between seminary and church/ministry. We would be much better off by asking one another for help in bridging the gap. There is much that seminary has to offer the church and much that the church has to offer the seminary.
2. With such a disconnect even the ministry courses taught at seminary can sometimes seem dated and removed.
3. Ministers need to learn to think theologically. Therefore, the NT, OT, Theology, Church History, courses can serve to build such a foundation in the life of a minister.
4. Seminaries need to partner with a variety of churches. Partner with urban churches, small churches, church plants, etc. Such partnering will give color and texture to the conversations about ministry among students and will offer broader possibilities for the future.
5. There is much for a student to learn about ministry that can not be learned in seminary. Seminaries need to partner with healthy ministers who will help to mentor students in these areas.
6. Professors and MInisters need to spend time in each others world. There ought to be opportunities where ministers can get a “refresher” at the seminary. For example, if I graduated ten years ago, there ought to be a time where I can return and hear the NT profs tell me what I need to read, be aware of, etc. Likewise, some professors need to spend some time in church settings, not just in church service, seeing what these ministers are grappling with and what they are being asked. (I think you model this very well, Scot)
7. We (both academics/church) would do well to model the humility to ask each other, “What do we need to learn from you?”



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Joe

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm


I’ve been through IWU and some of Bethel, so here’s a few notes that need to be thrown in.
1. My cohort became pretty critical for me, but only a few of the guys because we were intentional to not let our experience together go the “easy route”.
2. Online CAN frustrate those that want to think more critically mostly because not every student will give their all (mostly because of their ministry time constraints). You just have to know that when you’re signing up for it.
3. I struggled with the inattention of the professors, however, I can understand it some because they were being assigned a lot of students at once! We weren’t usually graded correctly (often times I felt like my grades came in much higher than I had warranted, which was frustrating because I wanted the accurate assessment). Response times tended to be minimum (or non-existent) as well. Again, you get what you pay for, you have to expect that to some degree, yada yada yada.
I think what online seminary did for seminary is give us another option. Is it better? That’s not the right question. It’s not the same thing at all. Why did I finish my degree at IWU? Well, because I wanted to finish what I started at Bethel, I wanted to have a degree to open my options, etc… Did I learn something? From my cohort buddies I did, but not from the books or the profs really (you can’t learn from profs that aren’t present and the books weren’t that challenging… though may have been perfectly suited for people that don’t tend to think critically about ministry implications).



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JMorrow

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm


Many Great comments here.
I would add to them three areas for growth/change in the way seminaries operate based on my own ongoing experiences with finishing an MDiv.
1.) Rely more on cooperative learning models that take advantage of the various walks of life, skills and experiences students bring the seminary. I have crossed paths with doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officials, translators in my courses, but rarely have their backgrounds been brought to the task of doing theology or have we harnessed opportunities for them to share their skills with classmates. This is a great loss.
2.) We need diverse tracts in the MDiv depending on whether you desire to focus more on scholarly work or on diverse localized ministries. MDiv’s rigidly conform to denominational ordination expectations without the latitude necessary for being a scholar with critical pastoral skills, or for an apostolic orientation toward creating new ministries.
3.) We need more emphasis on cross-cultural understanding and cultural competency, both to broaden our academic perspective outside Western modes of thinking and discourse and to respond to God’s call upon the Church to be a social boundary crossing community.
Per RJS, I wouldn’t disagree that there needs to be space for research and scholarly study in the life of the Church. But if it is to carry the emblem of Church, such activity must not sever itself from the life of christian communities. Institutionally, it must justify its activity with its identity and therefore differentiate itself from run of the mill academia.
To keep in mind what what James-Michael (#6) said:
“At the end of the day a seminary education should train Pastors and ministers how to be as academically minded as they can be…and should train academics to be as ministry-minded as they can be.”



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Ken Schenck

posted February 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm


Joe, I would say these would then be our failings in the MA program then–in professor, in course design, in program design. But these are not intrinsic failings to online education. Online courses can be as rigorous as onsite ones. Online professors can be as engaged as onsite ones, etc.
P.S. For any past sins, we ask your forgiveness and in the words of the man in Monty Python, “We’re getting better… I think I’ll go for a walk.”



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Richard

posted February 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm


So if it can all be done online and we’re not emphasizing a rigorous academic sphere, what exactly is a seminary student gaining that couldn’t be gained through an intensive mentoring relationship with a local pastor and $5 and late fees at a library a la Will Hunting?
Especially if there are great online resources for sharpening ideas and trades?



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len hjalmarson

posted February 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm


This paper by Scott Sunquist: “Wrong Time, Wrong Place, Wrong Courses: The Dangers of the Unconverted Seminary”
http://tinyurl.com/scott-ppr



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Ken Schenck

posted February 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm


I don’t see why online need be any less rigorous than any onsite course. Many online courses are more work than onsite ones. E.g., I know of onsite seminary courses at Ivy League institutions that involve a professor lecturing all semester and perhaps the only requirement is one paper or one test. The student might never meet the prof but at best interact with a TA.
Online you usually have to make multiple posts every week. A lecture can be vidcast online as well as onsite. Tests can be administered online as well as onsite. Regardless of the failings of particular online courses and programs, I can’t really think of anything that can’t be done online that is onsite.
Practically oriented courses can be as rigorous as “foundational” ones. One often has to analyze statistical data, do qualitative studies of congregational history, etc. I love Augustine, but you can be a very effective minister without knowing a single thing about him. But if you can’t run a board meeting or conduct a funeral, you’re fired.
So what should the priorities of ministerial education be? You could at least make a good argument that the most effective ministers will come out of training that equips them to do the essential tasks of the ministry, which includes basic competencies in foundational disciplines. From there, they should add depth as much as possible–at the very least starting the minister on a path toward life long learning. I think that would be a fine seminary degree.



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Mark Baker-Wright

posted February 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm


Quick comment to #15 (before reading comments #16 and after),
I’d like to see the bulk of the enterprise (other than scholarly research/PHD work) move largely to the local church/mission, including the space to raise and explore theological questions, and have that local work assisted/resourced by the scholarly institutions which is more possible now than ever.
My main concern with moving so much of ministry training (that’s what you mean by “the enterprise” once scholarly research/PhD work is removed, isn’t it?) to the local church is that I fear that would-be church leaders will not get the breadth and diversity of training and experience that an off-church site can provide. Local churches have local concerns, which is a very good thing, but it can also lead in insularity. A “bell jar effect,” if you will. I want to see church leaders who know how to think outside of the boxes they grew up with.



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BJ Woodworth

posted February 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm


Yo here is an alternative at work in conjunction with Pittsburgh Seminary and Scott Sunquist and myself. It is an attempt an alternative, parallel, subversive movement with an bottom up approach seeking to influence the seminary by its participants interacting with the institution and faculty. It is called World Christian Discipleship. The World Christian Discipleship program is designed for young university graduates who are interested in discerning and preparing for Christian vocation, regardless of occupation (church planter, lawyer, teacher, pastor, etc.). The program is non-traditional so students should be prepared to live a simple life, live in community, under regular spiritual direction, while serving the Pittsburgh’s Ease End communities, and live according to a religious rule.
http://www.worldmissioninitiative.org/WCD/
BJ



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Laura Flanders

posted February 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm


In this discussion it appears that we are using the word ministry in a very particular way. Seminaries would do well to broaden the use of this word. Should we continue to assume that those we train in seminary will end up “receiving their paycheck” from a local church or parachurch organization? I think not.
If we require that students practice skills only in what we typically call “ministry” contexts (ie. church,) we are not allowing for our graduates to think about other places to which they may go as theologically trained leaders.
We need to give our students permission to dream.
A seminary that allows a student to choose the contexts in which they practice skills (through a medium of self-directed, yet collaboratively guided learning) will do well. A open-system mentoring culture and process helps make this happen.



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Your Name

posted February 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm


Seminaries will continue to struggle with equipping leaders for the church as long as we fail to move beyond christendom assumptions and structures. My observation is that our imaginations are still held captive to Clergy, Buildings and Sunday. Recently my imagination has been stirred by the Apostle Pauls instruction to Titus (Titus 1:5), That he should “appoint Elders in every polis(neighbourhood)”. Imagining this, seeing small lay led movements of Christians together in neighbourhoods demonstrating what it looks like when a people live together under the reign of God. United groups of kingdom seekers welcoming neighbours into a Christ centered community to participate in God’s dream for that polis. What would Seminary training look like informed by this understanding of the church?



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Brian

posted February 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm


I am very late to this discussion. I would like to see seminaries oriented toward the establishment of genuinely indigenous elderships. And for that purpose, going online is an improvement because it leaves students in their natural settings. This gives seminaries an open door to making real changes in how church leadership is raised.
The idea that a seminarian can relocate to a new town for 3 or 4 years and get deep ministry experience while studying can’t possibly work well, for the simple reason that most seminary towns have too many seminarians. It distorts normal ministry patterns both for the students and the churches.
The challenge might come down to how to fund seminaries under a new paradigm.



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Mackenzie

posted February 15, 2010 at 11:46 am


This is a great discussion!
I struggle with a model of seminary that does not meet students where they are in life. Students who are able to uproot themselves and be able to move every nine months to complete educational requirements over four years can be well served by a traditional residential model of seminary. However, some of the strongest candidates for the new generation of evangelists and church planters are being lifted up from communities in which they work and live with families – and hope to return to serve in after their training.
How do we equip those communities who seek to ordain one of their own in order to lead a needed ministry without removing them so far from that community that they are no longer the person who was called in the first place?
Also, the current system privileges those who can afford to leave their jobs and homes. Many of the peers I attended seminary with had to rely on Medicare to provide their families with health care. What about those who are gifted and called, but could not afford to leave their jobs or could not imagine damaging their families with burdens that are unhealthy for a child’s development?



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More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




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