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Degrees Out Badges In???!!!

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges & Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician Active Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Hello to all:

    In our last faculty meeting our dean showed us a film about how higher ed may not go--but is already going. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which are e-education and the price of the college degreed education for most Americans.

    There is a movement amonsgt the really big name colleges and universites to join up with Google, Moodle, et al to have students not do degrees as such, but to do different types of certification. As such, in lieu of a degree they receive a "badge" for learning or mastering a particular module in an area. Sounds like a glorified "trade school" to me. But that is another issue altogether.

    The reason for my post and these hyperlinks is just to make you aware of what is coming down the pike faster than we know. Classical education and its connnections to Master's level seminary education / training could possibly be going away as it is known.

    And the rigor of student / mentor programs and "in seat" "brick and mortar" institutions may also be going away. I know that this is what many on this section of the BB have wanted for years, for they think the price to "follow Christ" to the traditional "brick and mortar" institution is too high. I think it can be argued and argued well that the absence of a "face to face" mentor / protege relationship for ministry is a very big mistate. So this academic movement could quite possibly take the place of that entire seminary system. No "Master of Divinity" degree, just a "badge" of divinity?!

    One thing this may also force us as "the church" to do, is to go back to the "in house" training of our ministers.

    Anyway check out the stories and let me hear your feedback, OK?



    Let me hear from you!!""

    "That is all!" :smilewinkgrin:
  2. mont974x4

    mont974x4 New Member

    Jan 6, 2012
    This may be a very good thing. In many ways we have made a god of higher education and degrees. That is not to say education isn't important. It really is, as it is the heart of discipleship. The Paul/Timothy,mentor/student, relationship is biblical and it is important. Christ Himself modeled this for us while on earth. Those institutions that were created in the US, and other nations, for the purpose of preparing ministers are not so focused anymore. We send our kids to these schools hoping they learn what they need to earn a living as "Christian" teachers, lawyers, businessmen, etc.

    Look at the discussions on this board about choosing a school and we see a constant discussion over the state of the education being offered, accrediting schools, and the educational rigor being offered.

    The system is broken and schools need to adapt. I believe, sadly, they will adapt in the wrong direction becoming more and more like secular schools. I am not a fan of the RCC by any means however the local RC school is prime example. It has gone through several name changes in an attempt to be "relevant". The majority of its students are not RC. Heck, most of the staff isn't even RC. I know, personally, at least one Mormon on staff there.

    So, maybe it is about time we, as local churches, do more to disciple people and raise up real Christ following church leaders for tomorrow?

    Which is a matter I see as a bit of a paradox. Here I am an ordained pastor sending resume's around the country waiting for God to show me the church He has for me to love and to lead. I also firmly believe that Scripture supports raising up people in the local church to be elders and deacons. God, through Paul, told Timothy to appoint elders in the local church. He did not say, "send an elder to lead the church in Ephesus."

    What's the answer? Maybe it is a major shift in how we educate pastors?

    Maybe this is how the Church is meant to go in order to survive a future that promises to be violently in opposition to it?
  3. Martin

    Martin Active Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    ==We had a system conference two weeks ago in North Carolina and I attended about 7 workshops on different aspects of technology in learning. There are several advances that are coming down the road. One is what you speak of with the badges which, as I understand it, has more to do with marketable skills than scholarly study. I don't see a day when a person can earn a "Badge of Divinity". Another technology I learned about allows students to take live classes from home via their webcam. The teacher sees each student in a box, the students and teachers can interact live, and the teacher can show the student slides (etc) while still seeing the students. This is sort of a "souped up" version of online classes. I don't see this technology replacing traditional classrooms in our lifetimes but I do see it as an interesting addition to the traditional classroom. It is certainly a "brave new world" out there.

    ==I have been on the soapbox for years about the need of seminaries to get in the distance learning game. Like it or not these changes are coming and coming fast. Colleges and seminaries that don't keep up will be left behind.

    ==I don't equate "brick and mortar" institutions with rigor or mentoring nor do I think online programs cannot provide the same rigor and mentoring (they can). Technology is changing everything. We need to be careful not to move too fast but, as I said, we can't drag our feet on these changes. They are coming regardless of how we feel about them.

    ==The new technology does allow for face-to-face interaction even at a distance. That said, I think the best mentoring comes from pastors "in the field" and not always from a seminary professor.
  4. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Aug 10, 2002
    I was instructed in my early years, to seek out the lesser educated listener and preach at their level. Then, the most educated will also understand. I never changed my approach to ministry.

    What good is your sermon if the hot air simply floats over the head of the majority? KISS is the rule of preaching: "Keep it simple stupid".


  5. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    I'll keep this brief, but will return for more discussion because this is a critical issue.

    It is becoming increasingly evident that our systems of higher education are no longer education our students very highly.

    More college students will graduate with zero knowledge and job skills but will have a, fairly, useless piece of paper and a hefty debt burden as they enter, finally, adulthood. I don't think the dream of the western education system should be evidenced in whether someone is willing to shoulder 10 years of debt to pay for a degree that benefits them in name only.
  6. thomas15

    thomas15 Active Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    I think part of the reason at least for our conservative drift has to do with the expense to a seminary just to keep the doors open. To keep their heads above the financial waters they slowly back off of their core beliefs and over time this has turned conservative institutions (and denominations) into liberal ones.

    I like the traditional brick and mortar approach. But instead of the ivy covered halls though, a more modest low budget warehouse will result in the same educational experience with considerable less overhead. This will allow the instution to keep their priorities in view.
  7. RG2

    RG2 Member

    May 12, 2011
    I have to completely disagree. As for someone who's gone to a traditional university with a standard campus as well as an "adult-oriented" university that met in an office building, there is a big difference. There's more to the educational experience than just the couple hours you sit in class. As for learning the info, yes, you can obtain that in a warehouse. As for the educational experience, no that isn't the same.

    Both exist. There are plenty of universities and colleges that have classes in churches and office buildings, and I think for some that just want the info they have that available, for those that want the traditional experience it's there as well.
    #7 RG2, Nov 8, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2012
  8. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    I had a traditional liberal arts education in college and earned a degree in theology. Afterward I went to seminary and was greatly disappointed with the lack of intellectual rigor and shared mission to learn for the sake of knowing God that I had experienced in college. In seminary, it seemed that the focus was on getting the M.Div. (the papers of the trade) so one could go out an get a job at a "big church."

    I'm painting with a broad brush, but it was true in my experience.

    In college, I learned at least as much outside of class, talking and debating with my fellow students over issues we were studying and how they applied to our current situation. In seminary, the focus seemed to be on taking good notes and getting a good enough grade on the next test to keep moving forward. I also heard the old mantra from fellow students, "the people in your churches won't know whether you had an A+ or a C- for your GPA... they'll just know you went to seminary and that will be enough" more times than I care to remember.

    Going to seminary is often tough. I worked full-time to support myself while taking a full load most semesters, so I didn't have a lot of extra time to socialize. But I also got very tired of the administrators - and especially the seminary president - telling students they need to "get serious" about their studies and quit their jobs, while at the same time presiding over increases to fees and tuition.