Monday, August 03, 2009

MDIV Seminary Classes Begin!

July 1st was the legal beginning. October 2 is the public beginning. Today is the practical beginning! The first MDIV class begins today with 30 students, which was our goal for this first class.

The first class is called Pastor, Church, and World. It is, first of all, an orientation to the degree and the unique way we are going about the MDIV. On Wednesday morning, for example, several of us (Bible, theology, and church history profs) are going to dramatize the process for the iconic Integration Paper, which runs throughout each of the courses. You take a pastoral issue and run it through the Bible, theology, and church history to end up with a pastoral theology of the issue.

The course also includes a number of pastoral self-assessments and addresses the pastor as a person. They're reading books like
  • William Willimon, Pastor: The Theology and practice of Ordained Ministry
  • Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
  • Stephen Seamands, Ministry in the Image of God
  • Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness


Brian Russell said...

Congratulations and wishing God's best to IWU's new progam.

Ken Schenck said...

Thanks Brian and congrats on your new cluster courses in Columbus...

I think we'll see a predictable division of labor among our two schools over time as the main trainers of Wesleyan pastors, with those wanting more classical theoretical courses picking Asbury and those wanting a more integrated approach coming here. We'll see.

James Petticrew said...

I hated Willimnon's book it was a 20th century rehash of Richard Baxter if you want Pastors to learn from that book you better get them to wear their underpants over their trousers and have a big S on their shirts.
Just look at Willimon's chapter headings

"Pastor as Priest, Pastor as interpeter of scripture, pastor as pastor, pastor as preacher, pastor as counselor, pastor as teacher, pastor as evangelist, pastor as prophet, pastor as leader, pastor as character, pastor as disciplined Christian."

After reading that list, I wanted to add another one, PASTOR AS SUPERMAN, because you would need to be to do all that! Willimon's list is a far cry from the NT picture of the Body of Christ. I wanted to ask Willimon, why can't a pastor be a pastor, and a prophet a prophet, and an evangelist an evangelist?

Why does the pastor have to do it all. Of course the answer is, they are ORDAINED. Willimon has a "high view" of the ordained ministry and so what ever he says, functionally the rest of the people of God come off badly in this instiutional understanding of the church where ministry is basically the prerogative of the professional Christian. Willimon's perspective on ministry sets up a bad codependent relationship in the church where one group of Christians (the clergy) assume responsibility for ministry that is not theirs and most of the rest of the people of God abdicate responsibility for ministry that should be theirs!

Ken Schenck said...

Does it help to know that they have the option of reading The Shaping of Things to Come and Emerging Churches in the Missional Church course :-)

James Pettticrew said...

Ken I would be more impressed if you had Abolition of the Laity: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective by R Paul Stevens in the ministry section.

Personally when it comes to ecclesiology I like the methodology of Craig Van Gelder in his book THE ESSENCE OF THE CHURCH, it encourages students to think through the issues around developing ecclesiology for themselves though I have to say that I came to conclusions very similar to Frost & Hirsch so as you often remind us there is now detached objectivity when it comes to these things.