I had my 2nd interview to determine my “suitability for the Holy Office” today. I was unsure I wanted to bother with it since I plan to take next year off and possibly not return at all. Dr. Winger advised me to do it as I don’t really lose anything by doing it while making it easier to return if I do. Good advice.
Among other things, they asked me what I would add/change to/about the Seminary curriculum if I were able to evaluate the program. My suggestions:
- We need less Historical Theology. Think: what did the church teach/believe in the 4th century? I get how it can be useful, I just don’t think it’s worth as much as some other courses could be. People aren’t asking me what Aquinas and Iraeneus believed.
- We need more exegetical theology. This is basically courses devoted to books of the Bible or greater themes woven through the Scriptures. As Lutherans, it is our belief that people are changed through God’s Word. If we really believe that, let’s spend more time in God’s Word at Sem and allow it to do its job, changing our seminary students into the men God wants them to be. At least 50% of our instruction should be in this format.
- Add more intense mentoring/discipleship. Jesus practiced it, why don’t we? Find Pastors willing to take 2-3 sem students alongside them and mentor them in what it means to be a pastor. Get rid of “Academic Advisors” and let the professor/student relationship be more like a mentoring relationship. Less “formal” academic work is a good thing, not bad.
- Teach us how to have a strong devotional life. How to pray regularly. How to spend time with God.
- Teach us how to use technology to share the Gospel. Blogs, RSS, Chat, Web, PowerPoint, Texting, Forums and the like are not going away anytime soon. How can we use these things?
- Teach us how to build community in our congregation. In our ministry teams. Teach us to love people by investing in their lives. The Gospel works best in the context of a relationship.
I probably have a lot more to say about this, but this is good for now. 🙂 We’ll see what happens in the coming years as our seminaries start to rethink some of the established patterns. Hopefully we’ll see something anyway…