Thoughts on this situation?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Pastor Shaun, May 24, 2008.

  1. Pastor Shaun

    Pastor Shaun
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    I have have been visiting this board for a while now and enjoy reading posts and comments. I have asked several questions regarding my potential educational plan. Currently, I would be bivocational as a pastor and school teacher. I have expressed interest in continuing my education in ministry/bible. I feel called in two areas (Education and Ministry). As of now the best way for me to further my education (in ministry) is to go from an MA to doctorate. I have expressed my interest in BJU. It would be an affordable route but after reading some comments about BJ it would be an uneasy decision. I can't afford to get to the doctorate level from an MDIV. I would already have a BS, MED, MA (in ministry). It would be too much money to go through an mdiv program and then directly into a DMIN program (remember I am bivocational). However, my teaching schedule would allow me time to continue my education. I am open to other schools, but BJU allows me the MA to Doctorate option. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    I would rather go through an RA school, but being bivocational puts a different view on things.
     
  2. StefanM

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    First of all, I wouldn't worry about the DMin. It won't enable you to get a teaching position, and as a bivocational minister it would just end up costing you a bunch of tuition money for essentially a structured program of professional development. Additionally, DMin programs are generally designed for full-time pastors.

    If you want to teach in a seminary, you probably need the MDiv and the PhD. That's just reality. You also need them from either ATS or RA schools. That's also reality, unless you are trying to teach at a BJU-type institution (and the positions are few, though the doctorates are many). Even in the broader range of evangelicalism, we are graduating far too many PhDs for even most of them to get slots teaching.

    Why do you want to continue your education?

    If you just want the education, then get some good books and read. You seem to already have the credentials. Don't worry about the title "Doctor."

    If your plan is to remain bivocational, I honestly don't see the point of going through doctoral studies.
     
  3. Rhetorician

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    Pastor Shaun Response

    Shaun,
    Let me welcome you to the BB if I have not already.:wavey:

    Stefan is giving you some very good advice. I will pose some questions if I may. I do not intend to answer your questions with questions per se, but it may help you to clarify your own ponderings somewhat. (Although, there may be some comments too as I pose the questions).

    First, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" If you have any idea that you want to teach or do long-term, then go for the "golden rings" that Stefan mentioned. This is the MA/PhD or MA/MDiv/PhD.

    You do not want to do a non-accredited degree (RA or ATS) and have to redo 4+ years of schooling later that may or may not be accepted.

    Secondly, do you want to stay in the "BJU circle" of influence? That is perfectly OK! If that is what you want. The "Face of Fundamentalism" is changing for sure. But credentials from BJU are only good for that philosophy at this point in time. Although there PhD is a good and rigorous program.

    Third, are you SBC, Independent Baptist, or other Fundamentalist? Do you want to stay in the "circle" or are you willing to go wherever the Lord might lead ministry wise. And be forewarned, this is a dangerous question. I know, b/c I have ended up in an entirely different place than where I thought my IFB/SBC upbringings would have lead me.

    Fourth, you cannot "over educate" for "education or ministry" as you mentioned above. We need more PhD pastors. Yes even bi-vocational pastors with really good educations are needed, even those with RA or ATS accredited MAs or MDIVs or PhDs. Would you be willing to get all the education the Lord would want you to have even if you were to remain bi-vocational?

    Fifth, are you willing to look at education from a "life-long-learner" perspective. It is hard to do as a young man. It is very easy to do as an old man. But the "call to preach" is also the "call to prepare" either formally or informally all of your life. One of the hardest things to do is to hold yourself to a study regimen that you did while doing MA/MDiv/PhD work. Think about that!

    Sixth, are you willing to go anywhere, do anything, pay any price, stay the course, all of your life--even for a long course of education? Think about it!!!!

    Seventh, if married, are you willing to put your wife and babies through the economic deprivation that may come from long years of getting advanced degrees.

    These and other questions come to mind quickly and have come to the fore. Need I go on?

    And FTR (for the record), if a school is ATS, they will not allow someone to do a DMin that is built upon the MA or MAR. The applying person must do "leveling work" or "MDiv equivalency" work (can you say 90 Sem Hours in the appropriate disciplines?) to get the MA or MAR "up to speed" to be accepted into the DMin program. If the school that accepts the MA does so, then they are either not ATS or they are breaking the ATS regulations. Then there is the other stipulation: The DMin must be done "after 3-5 years of full time vocational ministry."

    Another think to consider. You have probably already thought of this. Liberty's MAR can mostly be done on line (if not all on line?). You can pay as you go. You can jump in and out when you need or want to. Then you can build on it and move on to the MDiv. That way your circumstance may not be so stressful. I teach in the Bachelor's level on line program and know a bit about it. It is a decent program and is RA.

    Information overload!

    Remember, you did ask!!!!!:laugh:

    Points to ponder!

    "That is all!"
     
    #3 Rhetorician, May 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2008
  4. swaimj

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    Pastor Shaun,

    Are you happy and contented being bi-vocational as a pastor and and a teacher or are you hoping to get into a full-time teaching position?

    If you want to get more education to continue doing what you are doing, only more effectively, I question whether the Ph.D. is the way to go. Seems you might get a more rounded education for wearing a variety of hats by going through an M.Div program followed by a D.Min. These degrees are not as academic as a Ph.D., but you are not currently serving in academia, you are serving in ministry. For instance, an M.Div/D.Min plan would help you with matters of sermon/lesson presentation more than a Ph.D. would and that seems more applicable to what you are doing.

    OTOH, if your goal is to get into academia, I think a Ph.D. would serve you better.

    Also, since you already have a masters, it is possible that much of those credits would transfer into an M.Div program.
     
  5. Pastor Shaun

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    I am sorry if have confused some. I am still working on my b.s. in Biblical studies and Teacher Education. I feel called to both, and I am majored in both. I would LOVE to start my MDIV at Liberty after I graduate. However, my current institution should pay 85% on a MA ( in a variety of fields) for me to continue at my present college. I would feel foolish not to go this route. I definately feel called to both fields, bivocational. I currently work in a church as a pastor. I am trying to find a way where I can continue my ministry education while teaching in a public school. I want to be prepared for both fields. My plans are to take 3 classes per year on an MED to finish my teaching requirements (state of Ky requires masters degree within a certain amount of time). I am at the stage where I am trying to figure out what direction to go into. Like I mentioned, I would love to work on the MDIV degree at Liberty. I want to be an affective leader in the church and classroom I should say, what are my options?

    If God would lead me to another place of study, that would be fine. As of now, I feel like I am where God wants me. RA is important to me, but would it matter if I am bivocational?. My concern there is the possibility of full-time ministry with a degree that isn't RA.

    BJU appealed to me because of the MA-Doctorate route. Some of the classes that I could take in that degree are classes such as expository preaching classes, pastoral counseling classes, pastoral ethics. I am not partical to BJU, nor do I know a BJ graduate. I do know that some of these classes are the same classes for their DMIN program. I feel that these classes could help me as a Pastor/church leader.

    My current institution offers degrees in Preaching, Christian ministry, pastoral care, theological studies, and leadership. I could use these all in a church setting. I am concerned about leading people to Jesus. I want a good education that I will be able to use. I live in a drug infested area with people who could care less about where I received my theology degree. I want to study to lead others to the Lord. To be honest, I am not a souther baptist minister. I was raised in the holiness church, similar to the Nazarene. However, I know that southern baptist schools have produced fine graduates. I am concerned about learning the Bible and ministry, not denominations (although I pay attention to beliefs).

    Thoughts?
     
  6. Martin

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    Though I am a Liberty Seminary graduate, I must be honest with you. An online MDiv from Liberty will not qualify you to enter a PhD program. You have to have a certain number of hours of greek and hebrew, along with a modern language, to enter most theological PhD programs. I am not aware of a RA seminary that offers an MDiv online with languages. Southern Evangelical Seminary and Luther Rice University both offer MDiv with languages online. Both are accredited, but neither are regionally accredited. Having said that, there are some major theological seminaries that will accept an MDiv, from either school, and allow you to apply to their PhD program. I would suggest that you talk with the school(s) you wish to get your PhD from about this and verify that they will honor a degree from Southern Evangelical or Luther Rice before you spend one penny on those schools. There are several major seminiares that will not honor an MDiv from Luther Rice or Southern Evangelical. So this is something you must do your own homework on. Sit down one afternoon and let your fingers do the walking and talk to the schools directly.

    ==Well you are finishing up your BS in Biblical Studies, right? Ok, that will qualify you to preach and teach in a public school, right? I assume so. Why not consider this route? Get a Masters in Religious Education from Liberty which, btw, is regionally accredited. Once you finish that you can enter a Doctor of Education program at any University that is accredited (Liberty has one). At the end of that road you will have a solid education background and Biblical background. I am not saying you should do that, I am just saying that you might want to think it over as an option. The decision you make must be between you, the LORD, and your family.

    MRE Program at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary *

    EdD Program at Liberty University Graduate School *

    MDiv Christian Education at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

    EdD Program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

    * = Can be done totally or mostly online.

    Either way, make sure you pay close attention to all admission requirements and that you talk with the school(s) you wish to do doctoral level work at.

    God Bless you in your studies. :thumbs:
     
  7. Pastor Shaun

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    Martin,

    Thanks. The MRE-EdD is an excellent idea. As I mentioned before, I can get an MA from my current institution with a huge alumni discount. What is the probability that Liberty would accept MA hours into the MRE?
     
  8. StefanM

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    If your institution is accredited, then you have a good chance to transfer hours. However, do not attempt to finish the degree if this is your plan. Liberty will only accept transfer credits that are not part of a finished degree. The main exception is that if you do an MAR through Liberty, they let you transfer the hours into an MDiv. That's only if you do both degrees at Liberty, though.

    The MRE allows for 30 hours of transfer credit. If you take courses at your current institution, make sure they correspond to the courses in the MRE at Liberty. You're safest when you stay with the basics (OT Survey, NT Survey, Systematic, etc.). In any case, you should contact the registrar at Liberty.
     
  9. Rhetorician

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    General Response

    To all who have an ear:

    This concerns the EdD at Southern Seminary. They want:

    1. A Master's in Religious Education or MDiv with MRE component.

    2. Most of it could be done online and with limited resident time.

    "That is all!"
     
  10. Pastor Shaun

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    Stefan,

    So if I finish a 36 hour accredited MA they won't accept it? not even 30 hours?
    Thanks
     
  11. Martin

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    ==If it is accredited,then they would probably accept a limited number. You need to contact Liberty Seminary on Tuesday and ask them directly about this matter. Make sure you ask about the Master of Religious Education (MRE) online. You need to do this (1) to get the maximum number of hours they might/could accept from your school's MA (2) to make sure you take the right classes where you are. If you take the wrong graduate classes at your current institution you could be wasting your money. It might be better for you to go directly into Liberty's online MRE program and not spend time/money at your current school. (3) to make sure Liberty will honor graduate credits/degrees from your school (very important). Those are the kind of things you need to find out when you talk to them.

    You also need to think ahead about where you might wish to earn your EdD from. Make sure that a MRE will qualify you to apply to the programs you are interested in. I know it will at Liberty or Southern. However if you are thinking about a secular EdD you will need to make sure.

    Liberty's phone number is: 1-800-424-9595
     
  12. Martin

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    Liberty University will allow up to 30 hours to be transferred into the MRE program (60hr program). However, you really need to talk to Liberty directly before you make any decision. See Previous Reply.

    Just curious, and sorry if you have already answered this, what subject would your 36hr MA be in?
     
  13. StefanM

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    Nope, not unless they break their own regulations (read: "ain't gonna happen").

    http://www.liberty.edu/academics/religion/seminary/index.cfm?PID=12936

    I bolded the relevant parts.

     
  14. Pastor Shaun

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    My current school is RA. Thanks for the info. I can contact Liberty on Tuesday to make sure if credits will transfer. I talked to an adjunct professor who has the exact same degree that the college I attend will pay the discount on (the same one I would transfer in). He is currently studying for his MDIV at Liberty. He said that he had both undergrad and grad transcripts reviewed and Liberty gave him 55 of 90 hours towards his MDIV.

    Question....In a bivocational setting, which would be the best

    D.Ed.Min
    Ed.D

    what are the similarities and differences?
     
  15. StefanM

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    Without a doubt, the EdD.

    The DEdMin is designed for full-time education ministers, and it will mean nothing in the secular world. It's a relatively new degree, and it's very uncommon to find an associate pastor with one. A senior pastor would probably have the DMin instead. To be honest with you, I have no idea why the seminaries began offering this degree (other than for financial reasons).

    The EdD gives you options in both worlds, especially if you get a secular EdD. You could teach college or graduate school in either a secular or Christian context. You could go into administration, or, if you are still a teacher, you'll get the raise for having the doctorate.

    I have to ask, though, why do you seem so intent on getting a doctorate?
     
  16. Pastor Shaun

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    To say that teaching at the university level is my dream would be an understatement. Of course I am yet to finish my bachelors. I want to be well educated in my fields (education and ministry). To be honest, I don't want to be one of those people who feel that they are "above all" academically. If that was my view, then I would pray that God would show me my fault.
     
  17. StefanM

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    Then you're definitely going to need to go the route of the EdD or PhD. No other option will enable you to teach.
     
  18. Martin

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    ==I am a bit confused.

    What do you want to teach at the University level?

    The EdD will allow you to teach education courses at the University level. It will not allow you to teach religion courses. If you want to teach something like Old Testament or New Testament you need to forget the MRE, EdD advice and get you an MDiv with languages and then a PhD in the field you wish to teach in. You also need to realize that there is a real possibility that a PhD in Old Testament or New Testament could take you to a secular University in which you could be the only Christian professor.

    So, you need to find out what you believe God has called you to teach. I thought you were wanting to continue teaching regular school but that you still wished to get a Doctorate.
     
  19. StefanM

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    I echo this advice. Getting a doctorate just to be able to teach SOMETHING is an unwise course of action.

    The only reason one should pursue a PhD is pure, all consuming passion for the academic subject matter. Without a high level of passion, one will not be able to endure the hardships and enormous workload.

    If you would like to teach, that means you're going to have to do a lot of scholarly writing even after the doctorate. Positions are few and far between.
     
  20. Rhetorician

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    Stefan "Atta-boy!"

    If God has called one's name audibly, sent an engraved invitation, spelled the name correctly; then and then only should one pursue an academic doctorate to teach. "Positions are (TRULY) few and far between."

    Adrian Rogers use to say; "I might doubt my salvation, but I never would doubt my 'call to preach!'" What he meant by that is this: the "call to preach" was so strong on his heart, mind, soul, yea very being, that he could not doubt it.

    It is very similar to that for the one who wants to pursue an academic doctorate to teach. The price is so-so-so very high; if you can do anything else then go and do that in ministry. Only, and I say only with so much emphasis I cannot scream it loudly enough on the BB, should one even want to do the degree unless or until they know for certain that God would have them do it.

    AMEN!!!!!

    "That is all!"
     

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