First, thanks to those who have commented on previous posts about seminary. I was actually doing some research on Biblical Seminary because of the missional approach they have toward ministry training and education. Props to them and other seminaries/Bible colleges who understand that something needs to give.
Now, here are some sketchy, rough suggestions that I am pondering out loud. If you have more, feel free to add them. Also, feel free to challenge and critique mine. 😆
1. Do away with traditional pastoral internships for people who feel they have no calling to pastoral ministry. I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed folks moaning and groaning over having to fulfill a core requirement that had nothing to do with the identified calling they already sensed from God.
2. For those who feel a calling to pastoral ministry, tailor relevant pastoral internships that don’t reduce ministry equipees to paper pushers, coffee runners, and foot stools. While I understand that all of us have to humble ourselves to do grunt work behind the scenes, that does not give any ministry the right to misuse the time a seminary student’s time and gifts.
3. Bible and ministry training should center around the local church, not the seminary. A number of churches across America (including one of my former churches) have started Bible institutes to not only edify the whole church but also to train and equip leaders. This one might get me into big trouble but I find that seminary is great for producing professors and academicians (I am grateful for both!) but might be big trouble for the person who simply wants to grow in the Word or prepare for ordination in their church. My suggested adjustment would not work for a number of denominiations who may require an MDiv to be a ministry candidate. Can you tell that I grew up Baptist, lol?
4. For students who long for a traditional seminary setting, tailor courses Upward—Inward—Outward. Upward focuses the student on their relationship with Christ. As the Spirit of God pours into them through their instructors (Inward), they learn to pour their lives into those of others in the community their schools are located. I’m so sick and tired of seminaries planted in neighborhoods they have NOTHING to do with!
These are just a few changes I’m pushing for. Who knows. I might change my mind by tomorrow.