Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Question of the Day

If you could change anything about the UMC seminary education system, what would it be?

10 comments:

John Wilks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

cost to earning ratios

Pastor Chris Roberts said...

Apply MEF funds to students and cut down on debt.

Make sure profs that teach Bible, theology, and UM classes all agree with Wesleyan Theology and affirm the Articles and Confessions.

This is for starters.

Earl said...

Students would be required to examine the efforts and results of churches within their area as well as high profile churches that are recognized leaders in evangelism. Students would be required to interview area pastors who have demonstrated personal effectiveness in winning adults to Christ. Subsequent to these examinations and interviews students would be required to evaluate and then develop and present in a peer setting their personal understanding of evangelism not simply as a concept but as a central objective for ministry and their proposed plan for implementing an effective plan of evangelism in their local church setting.

Students would be required to demonstrate personal experience in winning adults to faith in Christ. Not a punch list of book read or sitting in classes or taking test but actual personal experience. Not working at a shelter or going on a mission trip but personal involvement in presenting the Gospel to adults in such a way that decisions are made for Christ. Evaluation would be based on the number of times a genuine attempt was made to present the Gospel as well as the number of times such a presentation was successful. Regardless of result, in each case the student would be required to do what would constitute a "after action report," in which he/she would evaluate the actual/possible factors that lead to success or failure in presenting the Gospel. This would be reviewed by fellow students in a small group setting. Regardless of any other accomplishments, success in this regard would be absolutely prerequisite to graduation.

Why this emphasis on evangelism? Because there are few if any task that a minister can do that can not be done with equal quality and integrity by a worker in a social service agency. But there is no social service agency charged with the responsibility of reaching people for Christ. Jesus did not found the Church as a social service agency. He fundamentally tasked the Church to reach, teach, win and develop men and women for Christ. Everything else is entirely related to that central imperative.

John Wilks said...

YIKES! Massive typo in my first post. Sorry! I had to delete it.

I'm not entirely sure how it would look, but I think we need less time in a formal class room and more time in an apprenticeship context.

Let's say 30 hours of Bible, 30 hours of theology/history plus monthly seminars on educational theory, counseling, ethics, and so on all stretched out over five years with intensive field work as an associate pastor. That would let us combine candidacy and seminary into one program.

The Thief said...

practical application

Eric Helms said...

I agree with some form of apprenticeship and "practical learning" but I also have to say that I have been well-served by a strong focus on theological reflection (styles of learning that I remember colleagues complaining were not practical). I have found that it is absolutely true that theological reflection is practical. I think I would like to see year 1 be education preparation including practical and theological teaching. A second year of apprenticeship, theological reading and reflection, and a third year of classes. I also agree that there needs to be better cooperation between the ordination process and seminary.

Todd said...

While I agree with many of the suggestions, if we are practical and want to start with baby-steps:

Forms 101 - What means what to whom and when are the due

Reports 201 - How to get facts from the right people to the right people

Michael said...

John Wilks:

I love your proposal!

the reverend mommy said...

The price.