This week I posted a simple question on social media. A non-scientific poll, if you will. Here is the question:
Are seminaries preparing future pastors to serve in a post-Christian society?
The responses were very interesting. You can read them here: https://www.facebook.com/roger.hernandez.526/posts/10210309424232504
There are several blog topics in that thread for sure! I decided to make it a three part series:
What schools can do.
What students can you.
What we can all do.
Some of these items I have personally observed. Some are observations and comments from others. I welcome your input and a conversation that is productive, not just a “its all bad” attitude.
Here are some short concepts, questions, ideas:
- Seminary repeats some of the same classes, or at least a large segment from a class from undergrad. Why is that? I have good friends that took both classes and the teacher didn’t even change the power point presentations.
- The world has changed significantly with the Rise of the Nones, especially in the last 10 years. Is the theological education reflective of that seismic shift in culture? Here’s a comment that resonated in different ways several times:
“Sadly pastors are rarely trained to serve society period. We are trained to serve the church…”
While we did have some that said that seminary training is relevant to the current culture, the comments were mostly that improvement is needed.
- Evangelism is alive in a good number of churches, with different models. Are students being exposed to all models? How can we? Here is one way: https://hopetrending.org/ Here is another: http://www.helphopehere.com/
- Are we making sure that students have led at least one person to Jesus before graduating. I thought this was a given. It isn’t. I have encountered seminary graduated students who haven’t. How and why does this happen? Instead of hating on the short-term Independent Ministries and the short term schools like AFCOE or ARISE, shouldn’t we instead implement more of the practical elements in traditional denominational theology schools.
- I would like to explore the possibility of students spending a year of undergrad as an intern in a church. Not next to the school, but outside the bubble where most theological schools are located. The church must be:
Church Planting Friendly.
This will help in three ways:
It helps the students to affirm their calling.
It will expose them to healthy churches, not the ones many are assigned as a young pastor.
It will provide valuable training in the real world.
A final word. I have deep friendships with some theological professors that are passionate about the future of the church, our impact in the world and new ways to share Adventism. So I don’t want this series to become a “lets beat up on the teachers” event. Let’s affirm what is working and question was isn’t. Anyone can criticize. What are we doing to improve?
Next week, what the students can do. Get ready, it will be spicy!