I want to develop a series of posts and thoughts on education. My own denomination has a love/hate relationship with “higher” education, so this won’t be easy.
The path I want to take is to look at EVERY available option for training, but also this important point: FURTHERING EDUCATION.
This may be the important piece we need to address in ministry. We can debate what type of ministry “prepares” us for ministry, but I think what is more vital is a thirst in our own souls for furthering our education. Once we get into ministry, how do we feed our minds and spirits? What books are we reading? What educational opportunities are we taking advantage of? What opportunities could we create?
But it starts with thirst.
I see too many pastors who get their education up front and 20 years later sound the same in their thinking. They haven’t read a new book, or a book with a different idea so they can better express their own idea, in years.
If we have no thirst for furthering our education, we are not serving our churches very well. We may know the practics of putting together an outreach or building a budget, but we need to continually develop theologically as well.
What I think (and using my own denomination as a model) is we need to allow as many avenues as possible for people to pursue education. Some can be very simple, and we need to allow space for that for very particular reasons. But we also need to lift up furthering education, not out of requirement, but out of necessity of feeding the mind and spirit!
I also think we need to look at ways to do non-traditional furthering of education where we can have great thinkers and teachers give great seminar format material without worrying about “credit.” We can put those models into areas away from college campuses so travel, time, and money isn’t a huge issue, but we are still giving good stuff to pastors who need to keep growing in their theological thinking.
Let’s put it ALL on the table and forge some new ideas.