But is the Seminary Listening?

But is the Seminary Listening? April 30, 2015

NorthernLogoTestThe most potent critique of seminary education today is that the seminary is out of touch with either the life of the real pastor or the life of the real church.

I’m proud of our seminary, Northern Seminary, because it has learned to listen well:

1. To students — what they want from a seminary education, what they need from a seminary education, and what they believe they will need when enter into church ministry or continue with ministries they already have. (No seminary listens to every student or can adjust everything to the needs of each student, but I’m confident Northern has learned to listen.)

2. To pastors — what they know really happens in the pastoral life is what they most want preparation for in seminary.

3. To churches — what churches want in pastors and church leaders.

4. To professors — what they can bring to the classroom, to students, and to the campus.

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  • gingoro

    To my mind seminaries and Christian colleges also have some responsibility to directly teach church members. One way this can be accomplished is via books such as Loren and Debbie Haarsma or Howard van Till or Roger Olson or Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat or Scot McKnight have written. Another way is via blogs such as this one.
    It also seems reasonable to me the professors of theology should be willing to provide a small list of references that clarify, explain, justify… theological positions held especially by their own denomination. For example I wanted to understand the denominational position re meticulous providence and sent an email to one of the theology profs at our seminary. The prof asked me to explain the term, which I did and thereafter I never heard back.
    My wife is a grad of the Institute for Christian Studies in world view studies. The ICS used to hold day long seminars or workshops in various locations outside of their home city of Toronto. At one such Richard Middleton spoke about trajectory in scripture. That helped me to become comfortable with women in ministry. Such outreach probably does the school good and also increases understanding of church members. DaveW

  • Jason Mitchell

    I am so glad that Northern Seminary is seeking to prepare students well for pastoral Ministry. This is a great thing and I pray God uses this school to produce some great leaders!