Theological Education in the Local Church | Church at Brook Hills

Tim Brister —  August 30, 2012 — 7 Comments

Back in the day (I mean a long time ago), I had a series on this blog called “Blue Collar Theology.” The goal was to highlight theological education options, resources, and training for everyday church members, not just pastors or ministry leaders. One of the exciting trends taking place in evangelicalism is the move of theological education back to the local church. Seminaries and institutions on the cutting edge of theological education realize the centralization of training on seminary campuses are less attractive than days before, and with the new technology available to livestream or provide internet/DVD based instruction new delivery systems of theological education are quickly pushing the envelope.

As encouraging as the new technology and decentralized delivery systems are for theological education, the most exciting aspect of it all is seeing local churches embrace the responsibility to educate, train, equip, and send out disciple-makers, ministry leaders, church planters, and missionaries in their own context. One such church leading the way is The Church at Brook Hills. Below is a video of David Platt sharing with his church family the recent developments of providing theological training for disciple-makers here and abroad. Granted, very few (if any) churches are able to reproduce this model of theological education in the local church (I mean they have a full-time pastor as director and a seminary providing another full-time instructor!), and the lack of reproducibility is without a doubt a weakness. But be that as it may, there is so much to commend here, and I think David Platt’s influence and example will do much to inspire and encourage other pastors and churches to consider how they can teach and train their people for the work God has called them to do.

What do you think? How would theological education work in your church? What are challenges or issues facing local churches seeking to do something like this on a (much) smaller scale?

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7 responses to Theological Education in the Local Church | Church at Brook Hills

  1. I think the key to theological education in the church is the pastor’s commitment to it. David’s leadership here is a great example for both vision and determining to make this happen on a scale suitable to his context. None of us are Platt and we likely won’t have a Shaddix at our side, yet we can develop an appropriate education model for our context if we want. Technology is no longer a barrier. If you have an internet connection you can have a “classroom.”

    I applaud The Church at Brook Hills for embracing David’s vision to reach the nations. I trust many of us will find a way to do the same in our local contexts with the resources that the Lord has provided. We can all do something… Let’s get started!

  2. We (Northside Baptist in Lafayette, LA) have a training ministry that meets on Monday nights called “Covenant Institute.” We teach classes in theology, biblical studies, and church ministry. Within our church it has been an excellent way to train our lay leadership, sunda school teachers, and potential elders & deacons. In our community it has given us the opportunity to provide some training to teaching pastors and staff of some mission churches and plants in our area. The ministry is in its third year, so we are still making adjustments, but it has proven to be very fruitful.

  3. This really excites me. Watched the video yesterday and all I could say was “Amen!” I would love to see this in our church and so would our pastor. We’ve talked about it a few times and I passed along this video to him. He’s a professor at UMobile so that would be a great benefit in getting it going. Hoping to be a part of seeing it happen!

  4. This is great to see. Regarding seminaries, I know Gordon-Conwell in Charlotte has been making moves to make theological education more accessible to ministry leaders and laity through their Bible Journey program. The program is in its infancy, but has been well-received by the churches that have hosted it. The next step for them, obviously, is to duplicate it on a larger scale.

    http://www.gordonconwell.edu/resources/Bible-Journey-Charlotte.cfm

    -Doug

  5. We have been running our “Equipping University” since 2000 on Wednesday nights. It has been incredibly well-received in the church and community. We even heard some other churches in nearby counties and even other states were using some of our classes in their small groups and other settings.

    We have been blessed with an abundance of great teachers and have at least three men with M.Div. degrees as members but not staff.

    Classes have been taught on such subjects as individual book studies (2 Cor, Revelation, Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews, Ecclesiastes, Acts, Colossians, and many more), Text Criticism, Nine Marks of Healthy Church, The Gospel, Creation/Evolution, Islam, Old Testament Theology, Reformed Theology, the Atonement, Heaven, the Millennium, Atheism, Evangelism, John Owen’s Mortification of the Flesh, Biblical investigations into the death of infants, cremation, biblical archaeology, using the OT law to debate homosexuality, King James Onlyism, near-death experiences, the carnal Christian teaching, Islamic Jihad and OT genocide, and more.

    You can get more here: http://goo.gl/kMNsd

  6. We have some awesome resources at our site for a great theological education.

    And they are free.

    Just click on a topic that interests you. Feel free to pass them along.

    http://theoldadam.com/category/pastors-class/

    Thanks.

  7. Hey Timmy,
    I remember meeting with you to talk about this very thing–Blue Collar Theology. May God continue to raise up pastors with a vision to TRAIN their people. I am excited by some of the developments at Southern and Southeastern that are partnering with churches and providing credits for internships done in a local church. I have actually been reflecting on my experience with Sovereign Grace Ministries’ Pastors College this past year over at my blog. Would love your thoughts when you get the time.

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