Is church-based ministerial training just as good as seminary-based training? by Jason Dulle

Here is a great article by Jason Dulle that I thought was worth passing on.

Click here to read from Theosophical Ruminations

I’ve heard it more times than I can count: “Church-based ministerial training is just as good as Bible college/seminary-based ministerial training.” Personally, I think this statement is not well thought out. The two training methods cannot be equal because they focus on different aspects of ministry. In some matters, ministerial training within a local church from a pastor is superior to the training one can receive in seminary. In other matters, the training one gets in seminary is superior to the training they could obtain from their pastor in the local church. Seminary-based ministerial training excels at preparing one’s mind for ministry, while church-based ministerial-training excels at preparing one for some of the more practical aspects of ministry (such as performing ceremonies, administering the Lord’s supper, counseling, praying for the sick, etc.) Both are needed, and thus whenever possible, both should be sought.

If someone wants to prepare themselves theologically for the ministry, church-based training is no substitute for seminary, and for good reason. Seminaries exist for the primary purpose of preparing ministers with the theological knowledge needed to more effectively minister the Word of God to the people of God. The amount of time spent learning theology in a seminary can never be achieved in a local church (at least not within the same timeframe, if not the scope of learning itself) for two reasons. First, most pastors are not equipped with a seminary-level education, and thus could not provide it.

Second, most pastors do not have the time to dedicate 15-20 hours a week teaching someone theology. They have many other responsibilities. Michael Patton recently compared the difference between a church and seminary to the difference between a hospital and medical school. He asked, “Could local hospitals provide a better place for training than medical school? Not really. Why? Because that is not their focus. They are there to practice medicine. There is a reason why a different type of venue needs to be set up for both—effectiveness in all things pertaining to the training as well as a concerted effort with a very particular purpose. The local church and hospitals serve for residencies, not the primary training venue.”[1] Well put. In the same way a doctor needs to prepare himself academically in medical school because that is a more suitable environment, likewise a minister should prepare himself academically in a seminary since that is a more suitable environment for learning what needs to be learned to effectively minister to hurting souls in the church.

No comments:

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)