Pastoral Training and the Local Church

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hey Gang:


    Here is a web blog from the "Said at Southern" (Baptist Theological Seminary). It sets forth five models of theological education. This has been a source of discussion before on the BB but never an in depth discussion, which I hope this will engender. I also put a hyperlink to Al Mohler's article in R.C. Sproul's magazine as a point of departure for discussion. Note: this hyperlink in also in the "Said at Southern" Blog below. Scroll down to view the graphic on the five models that are presented.

    Mohler article:

    http://www.ligonier.org/tabletalk/2008/2/1036_Training_Pastors_in_Church

    Enjoy, and please return with insights and opinions.

    "That is all!":thumbs:


    Updates from "Said at Southern"

    Training Pastors in the Local Church: Introduction and Overview (Part 1 of 7)
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Posted: 03 Aug 2008 11:06 PM CDT[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The church is called “a pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Tim. 3:15 ESV). The model of theological training presented in the Scriptures is one that directly involves the local church, particularly as qualified men train others to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).
    I began seminary classes in the Spring of 2007, by distance education. I am not very far along in the M.Div. program as yet, having completed only 14 semester hours. My status is still that of an Internet student, but I did enjoy my first on-campus class this past summer in a one-week module. I am hoping in the near future to move closer to Louisville or one of the extension centers for Southern Seminary.
    Even before beginning seminary, I was beginning to see the importance of theological education being solidly anchored in the local church. This is a conviction that has only increased. I have had numerous conversations with others about this topic (including SBTS blogger, graduate, and Ph.D. student Matthew Wireman, who has given much thought to this matter as well). I am encouraged that our school’s president, Dr. Albert Mohler, also desires to see churches become more involved in training pastors (see his recent article, “Training Pastors in the Church”).
    This series will examine various ways that a local church can become involved in the training of pastors. These methods can (and often should) overlap, so they are not necessarily cut-and-dried approaches. However, they are a suggested starting point, especially for those thinking through this matter or seeking to implement church-based theological training of some sort. I submit these ideas to the reader, not as an expert on this concept, but as one who is zealous about this topic yet still thinking through these issues. My goal is to stimulate others to consider the place of the local church in training pastors and how they might encourage or participate in this noble task.

    Five Models of Theological Education

    There at least five models of theological education that can involve the local church in training pastors. I have listed them in order of most direct to least direct methods, although they can be combined and overlapped. The unifying theme of these ideas is that the church in some way, directly or indirectly, is attempting to take seriously the call to train pastors.
    [​IMG]

    The first model, mentoring, involves a pastor pouring his life into an aspiring pastor, preferably over an extended period of time. Its central place in the diagram is fitting, since an ideal theological education would include this aspect along with other methods. The second model, the internship, would involve some mentoring, but it would be for a more defined period of time and likely be in a group setting. The third model is a church-based seminary, where the school is a direct extension of the ministry of one particular church. Churches could also partner with other churches or ministries to combine forces to offer training (the fourth model). The fifth model is the traditional seminary that is accountable to churches. Not all traditional seminaries are accountable to local churches, and I would argue that such institutions would, in effect, overstep their bounds and assume a task that they cannot legitimately claim.
    I personally have benefited in some measure from a mentoring relationship, a church-based seminary, a ministry which partners with churches to train pastors, and a traditional seminary accountable to local churches. My articles, in part, will draw on my interpretation of these experiences, but will also point the reader to specific examples of these sorts of models. The final article will give some practical suggestions on thinking through and implementing church-based theological education, to help us apply a biblical approach to training pastors.
    Doug Smith is blessed to be the husband of Krystal and father of three daughters. He is a member of Cornerstone Chapel, in Bristol, Tennessee. Doug preaches in a supply capacity and teaches hermeneutics with the Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply, a ministry which focuses on training men for ministry in rural Appalachia. He also blogs at Gazing at Glory. You may email him with any questions or comments.

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  2. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Seems the idea of discipleship is the needed. Pairing a student with a "good" pastor for the years of college.

    When I entered Bible college our pastor took me under his wing, or arm pit as you might rather :laugh: and began telling me all he could to assist me in the practical. When we went calling we would talk in the car as to what he was there for, what he would like to do, and what he would like to accomplish - then pray. After the visit he would take the time between calls to tell me how he thought it went and anything that might help me understand why he did what he did.

    What an education I was getting when he moved back east to a new church :tear:

    The new pastor was fresh out of Dallas and didn't have a clue how to disciple much less the ministry.

    I think the Bible pictures the thought of discipleship very clearly. Not to the exclusion of college/seminary training but definitely needs to be included. One small school I was at considered moving to a mentoring type format, the teaching in the classroom but hands on training at other times. Their concept was one faculty to a couple three students, but they did not develop the thinking.

    One mission I know evaluates their candidates at the intro sessions and often require a year internship before starting deputation.

    Practical experience out of the gates at graduation would be much better in my mind.
     
  3. Rhetorician

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    Series Follow Up

    To any or all who have read this post:

    Here is part two from "Said at Southen" (Baptist Seminary):

    http://saidatsouthern.com/training-pastors2/

    Enjoy!

    Stay by the Stuff!:thumbs:

    "That is all!"
     
  4. paidagogos

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    Excellent articles!

    These are very timely and noteworthy articles. Although there is no clear-cut Biblical mandate for any one of the models, the Scripture definitely endorses the training of young ministers by the experienced, knowledgeable ones who have been taught by others. There is a chain of instruction stemming from the Apostles’ doctrine and preaching.

    One of my basic criticisms of many seminary programs has been the teaching by men who had limited or no practical experience in the ministry. IMHO, an academic degree in a Biblical discipline does not necessarily qualify one, if they have no experience, for teaching pastors and preachers. In another field—education—I had an enlightening experience in graduate school. As I sat and listened to lectures by some of my professors, I realized that they could not handle my high school classes of rowdy teenagers, yet they were supposedly teaching me how to do it. Ironic, isn’t it?

    By the same token, can a seminary professor, who has never pastored, teach a young man how to be an effective pastor? Furthermore, I do understand the argument that the seminary prof is teaching skills to be used in pastoring but I am not persuaded that this is entirely valid. It is somewhat like teaching fluid dynamics and metallurgy to a plumber without showing him how to sweat two pipes together.

    My second criticism is that many seminaries do not reflect the doctrine and values of the supporting churches. Because seminaries supply the future pastors of the churches, they have an undue influence on the beliefs and doctrines taught in the churches. IMHO, this is the proverbial cart before the horse. It ought to be the churches, not the seminaries, that determine doctrinal matters. The church is the repository for orthodox doctrine and teaching. Thus, I believe that the church to insure continuity of orthodox doctrine must of necessity control the seminary. How this is accomplished may be done through one of the several models.

    What do you think?
     
  5. paidagogos

    paidagogos
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    #5 paidagogos, Aug 15, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2008
  6. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Paid Reponse

    Hey Paid,

    I hope you are well. Midwest Center has been discussed in other venues here on the BB. I for one have been one that brought the issue to the fore.

    I support them and recommend them for someone who wants that type of "in house" training. Their quality should be equal to that of an MDiv degree.

    "That is all!":applause:
     
  7. paidagogos

    paidagogos
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    Seminary models

    So, you're saying their academic quality is up to snuff even though they are probably more limited in financial and material resources than a traditional seminary. They appear, with slight variations and modifications, to be aligned with a church-based seminary model. Am I correct?

    Personally, I find the concept appealing.
     
  8. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Paid Response

    Paid,

    It is good to hear from you again, as always. I would not be qualified to speak to the "limited in financial and material resources" issues, but would day "amen" to the rest of your comments.

    Remember the graphic above, I believe Mid West Center would fit one of those models quite well.

    Don't you think?

    "That is all!":thumbsup:
     

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