Technically, as of July 7th, I am still a candidate for this job. In reality, I will never hear from them, probably not even the courtesy thanks, but no thanks. But the idea of attending seminary is once again lodged in my brain. It is different this time, especially my focus/reasons. Where originally I considered something like RTS for its focus on Bible Studies and Systematic Theology, now I am considering more practical theology courses. When, at one point, I wanted to basically be a monk, sitting by myself reading and studying and writing, now I am thinking of taking leadership and admin courses (maybe even preaching) and I’m less concerned about receiving deeper formal theological education. No longer did I dream of a PhD in Church History or Historical Theology but instead just considered a Masters in Church Ministry/Leadership/Practical Theology.
On top of that, I found out that many seminaries are basically free or steeply discounted for attendees. I also see a real need for leadership. Many people have the heart/head knowledge for ministry, whether at a church or an organization, but most lack some practical experience or managerial knowledge. Also, I saw this as my personal ministry. I could attend school part time, and probably never even leave my job. It’s possible going to school leads to a ministry opportunity, but most likely, I stay at a job/career that I really do not like but one that would afford me the ability to be more involved in ministry. I still suppose it is possible that I go on staff somewhere in a part-time capacity, but career change is no longer the goal.
Another interesting aspect of the situation is the massive amount of seminary courses that are online. I’ve downloaded more than 25 courses from iTunesU for free. RTS has almost every class you could need, including things like counseling and ethics; to go along with their three systematic theology courses and six to eight bible study courses. I went through Church History I and II last summer from Covenant. I’ve even found Greek Courses online. Now, if I were going to be a pastor or weren’t already connected with a network of Christians and other people in ministry, I would certainly want to be in person, making contact and having theological discussions. However, if you are someone who is just look for a deep knowledge/understanding or Theology or the Bible, you could definitely get by with the online lectures. Right now, I’m going through a group of courses from Gordon-Conwell: Interpreting the Bible, OT 1&2, NT 1&2 and then Theology 1&2.
Well, this has gotten long again, but all that to say, I realized I wanted to do a master’s program that would give me some leadership and church and volunteer management knowledge with less focus on Theology and Bible study (due to the other options available). Now, this means I really need to find a seminary in the area and figure out what would be the best fit. I’ll wrap up that story tomorrow.