Saturday, June 15, 2019: “A Call to Action”: I was in Toronto, Canada this week meeting with some leaders from the denomination known as the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists. It was a great time, and the third time in 20 years I have been asked to advice this group. Friday night I had the opportunity for dinner with another Baptist leader and friend for the past two decades who is president of a university and seminary in Toronto.
Inevitably the conversation turned to the state of seminary education, and the institutions who house these programs. Such conversations always lead to accreditation, curriculum, and issues of economic viability for both the institutions and the student.
Further, such conversations cause me to think again about my passion that what we need is ministry preparation within the framework of theological education, rather than theological educations with an inadequate amount of ministry preparation. For those who know me, they realize this is the proverbial broken record for me that I play repeatedly. I have not come up with an answer yet. I am hoping someone develops a model that is credible and successful.
One of the difficulties is that too many models see the institution, its faculty, and/or its students as the primary clients. The truth that must be embraced is that people in the pews or the marketplaces are the primary client for ministry preparation with an appropriate depth of theological reflection. As John 12:21 reminds us, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Your call to action today is to suggest how ministry preparation with appropriate theological education ought to be delivered in a 21st century post-churched culture.