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?