Covington and Southern Baptist Pastors

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Paul1611, May 8, 2007.

  1. Paul1611

    Paul1611
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    First of all let me say that I have no problem with Covington, ( I really dont know that much about them, except I have heard more negative than positive) nor do I have a problem with Southern Baptist Pastors (some of my favorite Pastors are Southern Baptist). I have been looking for a new church home here lately and have visited a number of Southern Baptist Churches and have found some really good ones as far as I am concerned. I have had the opportunity to sit down with some of the pastors and talk and have noticed that many of the pastors that I have talked with ( theres over 50 SBC in my county and within driving distance) have degrees from Covington, some had bachelors and some doctors, and one was in his first year of his associates. Did Covington used to be a Southern Baptist School or come recommended by the SBC? I just find it funny that many of the pastors in my area are graduates of Covington. When talking with the pastor who is in his first year I asked him about it, and he said that another SBC pastor recommended Covington to him, and that he loves it! He said that he wasnt to familiar with all the acrreditation debates about: whether or not a pastor should go to accredited or non accredited college. He did say that he has a brother in law who has spent about $45,000 on college to get up to his Doctors degree, and that after all of that he is now pastoring a church of only about 30 people, and having a very hard time paying the bills and paying back all that money that he borrowed for school. He informed me that this did play a part in him making Covington his final decision, but also told me that when ordering a few books for his work at Covington, that his brother in law had to have some of the same books when he was enrolled in the Baptist College of Florida in Gracevlle, so he figured whats the difference. Evidentally Covington and the Baptist College of Florida cant be that much different if they are requiring some of the same text books. Anyways he didnt know if Covington used to be a SBC school or if it came recommended by the SBC, so does anyone know? Do you think that this pastor made a wise decision in choosing Covingotn over an accredited school? Should the debt situation play any part in a pastor choosing a school?
     
  2. Martin

    Martin
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    ==My pastor has his Master in Theology and Doctor in Theology degrees from Covington. He is the best pastor I have ever, and I mean ever, had. He preaches the Word, he loves the Lord, and he loves his flock. I don't give Covington credit for that, I give the Lord credit.


    ==I don't know. The reason my pastor used Covington was that he could not afford full-time seminary. He had earned an associates through Mid-America but it was a "real" struggle. When it came time to pursue further education, for his family's sake, he went with Covington. It allowed him to stay at the church he was pastoring and it did not cost as much.

    ==You are correct, there are a lot of Baptist pastors who went through Covington. The main reason is probably money and other resources. Many of these pastors just did not make enough money to attend Southeastern, Dallas, or Southwestern. Today, with the rise of online learning, I think this will change. I think we will, over time, start seeing more who went through Liberty, Luther Rice, Temple, or Southern Evangelical. As far as I am concerned those schools have hit the nail on the head. They are not as costly as Dallas (etc), they allow students to earn degrees where they are, and they are accredited. For many pastors those programs are answers to prayer.

    ==I would answer that question by saying it depends upon the pastors future goals (etc).

    ==O, there is a difference. Using the same books does not make the programs equal. I promise, a person gets a better education at Wheaton, Trinity Evangelical, Liberty, and Southeastern (etc) then they do at Covington or Andersonville. Like I said above, I credit the Lord for my pastor and not Covington. The Lord may have used Covington to build him up, but it was the Lord who prepared this man. My pastor is the first to say that his degrees are not the same as a ThM or PhD from other schools.

    ==Did he make a wise decision? Only he and the Lord can answer that question. A person can attend any seminary and have made a bad decision. So whether or not this pastor has made the right choice with Covington or not is between him and the Lord. However if I were in his shoes, I would go through Luther Rice.
     
  3. Rhetorician

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    Covington and SBC Connection

    To all who have an ear:

    It is probably hard to nail down one particular reason why someone might go to Covington. I will venture a guess; yes, even an assertion: I don't believe the SBC, on any level or from any agency, would ever recommend Covington because we have the "Big 6."

    Also, there are many other great schools who are somewhat "inside" and "outside" the SBC circle at the same time. These being; Mid America (where I too have the 96 Sem. Hr. Associate's degree), Luther Rice, Criswell College who also has a new MDiv degree, Beeson Divinity School at Samford U. in Birmingham, Union U. in Jackson who has just started a new Master's program a year or so ago, and there is probably some that I have missed or do not know about (although I pride myself on keeping up with what is happening in the SBC educational sphere).

    My educated guess would say that the reason many in your area have gone there is: proximity, costs, and personal pastoral recommendations. I have tempered somewhat in the last year or two concerning schools like Covington. If the school can equip the pastor-teacher and he could not go anywhere else to study, then this is certainly a viable choice. Not all can quit a lucrative job, move to a new city, live by faith, and make it for three or four years.

    Some of the "old hands" still advocate this however. Even the on line experiences cannot compare to sitting in a classroom under a professor, asking questions, having a theological library at hand, and getting the fellowship of other ministerial students et al.

    We all know the great and grand influences that our home church pastors had and do continue to have on our ministries do we not?

    Just one observation from an old timer on the SBC education circuit.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     
  4. SBCPreacher

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    I didn't do the Covington school, but on the recommendation of some of my pastor buddies, I did do another unaccredited school. Most of the reason was that I was nowhere near any SBC seminary, and could not afford to quit and go back to school. A wife and four youngins made it out of the question. (Was I "ye of little faith"? Maybe so.) But what I did miss was the in class experience. I missed the opportunity to develop relationships with seminary professors and fellow students.

    But I must say this. Most of what I've learned about being a pastor I've learned by being an associate pastor for 20 years (and watching all their mistakes!), and by serving and learning these past 6 years as a pastor. Honestly, I've forgotten a lot of what I learned in seminary (and some of that stuff needed to be forgotten!).

    If I had it to do all over again, would I do it the same way. I don't know, but I don't regret the education that I have. I thank God for it.
     
  5. StefanM

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    I will say that the classroom is experience is quite valuable.

    I recently finished four years of on-campus study, culminating in an BA in Christian Ministries from an accredited Baptist College. I'd recommend that if possible, one should try to get at least some of your training on-campus.

    However, for me, Liberty's MDiv makes sense right now. I have a baby on the way, so it's not the same scenario as before. If I didn't have those four years of on-campus experience (as well as courses in Greek and Hebrew), I probably wouldn't do a distance-learning seminary program, but the choice for me right now is either distance-learning or nothing. I did not consider an unaccredited institution.

    Unaccredited institutions are just not on my radar. I don't care about the ATS stuff, but I would seek regional accreditation. TRACS-only is not as useful, but it is certainly better than no accreditation.
     
  6. TCGreek

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    Martin, great thoughts. For those of us well schooled in accreditation issues, know the pros and cons of the whole thing. Sometime, I wonder why we still debate these issues.

    But some people go to schools just to get degrees behind their names, hoping that the doors would be open. It doesn't work like that. The Lord is the Great, unrivaled Exalter of pastors.

    But I will say this, that some schools are better suited as equippers for the ministry academically.

    Online schooling is not the same as classroom. I have done both. I know what I am talking about, esp. in the language dept.

    Cost is always a factor, but the pastor who wants to equip himself most consider how much money he has? Is he willing to go in dept to get a good seminary education?

    But I love how John MacArthur has phrased it: "Concentrate on the depth of your ministry, and God will take care of the breath of it."
     
  7. nkypastor

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    Stefan,

    Have you started in Liberty's M. Div program? I'm in it now! It's great! :)
     
  8. StefanM

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    Yes. I just started two weeks ago.
     
  9. bened

    bened
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    Did an Mdiv on campus at SWBTS and Dmin at New Orleans, six years later.

    I throughly enjoyed my Dmin experience. But it was no walk at the beach.

    Had a late 50s, small church pastor in my local association who did his masters and doctorate at Andersonville ask me if he was being dishonest w/calling himself doctor after getting it from a non-accredited school.

    I told him that's between him and the Lord and also depended on his motives. If he's trying to act as if it's from an accredited seminary, then that's dishonest b/c they aren't the same. However... I also told him, that said, he paid his money and did the work so call himself whatever he wanted. And if anyone asks, tell them and also describe for them what you had to do to get it - thus eliminating the "degree mill" accusation.

    I'm afraid more than a few pastors, including another in my association, aren't like my buddy. They don't care where or how they got their masters or doctorates and hope (I guess) nobody asks.

    Indeed, they have their reward.
     
  10. PastorBrad

    PastorBrad
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    Let me say a few things:

    1. The reason that pastor has a church of 30 is definitely not a result of his degrees. I have pastored a church twice that with nothing. The difference may be the pastor.

    2. Determine the goal of yout theological training and your ability. For years I struggled with going to Covington. Instead my family and I moved to Kansas City and attended Midwestern (which is an unknown jewel by the way). I wanted to go somewhere to learn the languages and to understand proper exegesis and theology so that I might in turn better equip the saints.

    3. Determine the quality degree that you want. It is just common sense to understand that an accredited program will be higher quality that those without. How much more is the question?

    4. What stage of life are you in and can yopur family afford it and make the move? This is a very important question to ask yourself and your wife if married.

    These words are spoken from someone who was completely anti-seminary. For 3 years my wife ans I struggled with what to do. Finally we moved and took up residence at MBTS; and are very grateful that we did! It has been hard but very fulfilling. I want to say that my degree does not set me above my colleagues in ministry as far as position in the kingdom, but it has definitely stregthened my skills at accurately and effectively preaching the word of God, and developing myself as a shepherd of the flock of God. Just my thoughts; God bless!
     
  11. Rhetorician

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    Pastor Brad Response

    Pastor Brad,

    May God's blessings abide on you and your work. You have sacrificed and paid the price and God will surely reward you for it in the years to come--in ways that you cannot even now imagine.

    sdg!:thumbs:

    rd
     

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