Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As a fast growing, young seminary (now ranking in the top 6% of seminaries by size) we have many things in common with church plants. We literally are a seminary plant, e.g. we created a fully-accredited (ATS) seminary from scratch. In doing so we designed our model to better integrate practice with theory, than did the seminaries we all attend.
The key is integrating what is learning in the classroom with what they are doing during the week.
Hence, the homework in my courses gives the student assignments then can apply to their local ministry each week. Students tell me they love this approach for it allows them “to take seminary to work.”
Now, as you know I have argued that in addition to planting churches we need to be revitalizing churches too (preserving the social capital and assets of these dear communities of saints). Similarly, we also need to revitalize existing seminaries. In fact, I have spoken at many seminaries on this.
Recently a board member of my alma mater (Fuller Seminary) was co-leading a national conference with me. He asked me, “Bob, what is the secret sauce to Wesley Seminary’s success.” I told him, “We are unashamedly willing to integrate practice and theory into every assignment.”
Check out this excerpt on “seminaries of the future” by Daniel Im from his updated book with Ed Stetzer: Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply and ask yourself, “Is there something more I should be doing to integrate practice and theory in ministerial education?”
… these trends were the focus of Ed Stetzer’s and my writing in the newly updated edition of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply... I want to focus on three of the major trends …
Trend #3: Residencies and Theological Education
When it comes to theological education, the pendulum has swung back-and-forth a few times over the last couple of centuries. From theological education being birthed out of the church, to it then being handed over to educational institutions, then back to the church and so-forth, we are at a time in history where the two sides are beginning to move towards an equilibrium. Seminaries are realizing that ministerial training happens best in the context of a local church, while churches are discovering that training someone theologically is completely different than training someone for practical ministry. Both seminaries and churches are looking to one another for help and for partnerships because both sides realize they cannot take on the task of theologically educating and pastorally forming an individual by themselves. The bridge that is being formed between churches and seminaries is called, “residencies.” While there are many different ways that churches and seminaries are approaching residencies, they all seem to share a common goal – to do a better job at integrating theology with praxis. Where they all differ in their model is their starting point. Let me share three out of five of them. You can learn more in the new edition of Planting Missional Churches.
Starting Point: Multiplication
In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the knowledge, skills, and ability to infuse multiplication at every level of their church. They will be developed with the gradual release of responsibility model, so that their development is personal and hands on. By the end of this residency program, they will have developed a plan, not just to multiply the leaders and groups within their church, but also their church as whole.
Starting Point: Sustainable Ministry
In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the five characteristics of a healthy sustainable pastor,.. They will grow in spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management.
Starting Point: Leadership
In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the leadership skills required to successfully plant and lead a church. These leadership skills include vision casting, hiring practices, team ministry, strategic development, and conflict management…
*This was originally published in March-April 2016 issue of The Net Results magazine. The post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.