Even though I haven’t posted for a while, I’ve been thinking a lot about Comprehensive Theological Education. In particular, I’ve been trying to identify the key “success factors” necessary to improve upon traditional methods. Here’s my current list. Any thing you’d like to add, Gentle Reader?
- Holistic vs. over Academic
- Thoroughgoing personal and societal transformation, not the accumulation of knowledge
- Devotional vs. over Intellectual
- Creating true worshippers, not intellectual savants
- Mentoring vs. over Teaching
- Professors must be “disciplers” rather than merely “lecturers”
- Missional vs. over Historical
- Focused on achieving God’s purpose in the future, not (merely) ensuring continuity with the past
- Immersive vs. over Extractive
- Learning in the context of a missional/relational community, rather than isolated into an academic environment
- Need-based vs. over Content-based
- Though it is a huge mental shift, CTE should ideally be “demand-driven“, where we are feeding students theological solutions to problems they are currently encountering in their ministry and personal lives, rather than stockpiling answers to hypothetical questions.
- Iterative Improvement vs. over Static Syllabi
- Programs must continually be refined in response to measures of the long-term effectiveness of the graduates (which is easier if the graduates come from and remain in the same community where the training takes place)
[Added March 8th]
- Spirit vs. over Soul
- Most theological training focuses on aspects of the soul: Mind (Western) vs. over Will (Eastern) vs. over Emotions (Southern). But all these still lead to self-centered religion; what we need instead is to be led by the [Holy] Spirit!
- Kingdom vs. over Church
- As Bob Mumford says, we need to shift our focus away from perpetuating our own particular “church” tradition towards promoting God’s Kingdom — even at the expense of our own!