Last week, I attended my last on-campus seminar for my Doctor of Ministry. I am still a long way from being finished, but I won’t be going back to campus on a regular basis for a week of interaction with others. Now I have the hard work of preparing, implementing and reporting on a ministry project. I’m in the dissertation phase of my education. As I started to leave campus, I started to get a little emotional. I have found new friends and mentors on campus. I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the leading thinkers in church revitalization and have been pushed to think more deeply about these things. I am so thankful that God has allowed this journey in my life
We often neglect to continue our education in ministry. We have our reasons — “I have a family now,” “I’m not a good student,” “I can’t afford to spend the money” or “I’m just too old.” My most recent educational journey began after a 22-year absence from the classroom. I was scared that I wasn’t going to be able to cut it with the young minds in the classroom, but I had forgotten that I didn’t spend 22 years in a bubble. I was learning all along the way.
God was using my experiences to educate me. While I had to learn how to use the online classroom tools instead of paper and pencil syllabuses, I had a lifetime of ministry experience under my belt.
We can come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid deepening our understanding of God’s Word and His ministry. However, God deserves our best, and your best may mean more school. So, where do we start? How do we get on track?
• Central Baptist College — If you live in Arkansas and haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree, you need to check out cbc.edu. There, you will find information about the school and programs that can help you complete your undergraduate work. You may not have started, or you may be just a few classes away from graduating; but wherever you find yourself, the team at CBC will help you step through that.
• BMA Theological Seminary — If you have completed your bachelor’s degree, a school like BMATS in Jacksonville, Texas is what you need to check out. They have a number of online options and will provide you with a solid, conservative viewpoint of Scripture and ministry. You can find them at BMATS.edu.
• Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary —I have spent a lot of time over the last two years on this Kansas City, Mo. campus. They are sound theologically and are “For the Church.” You can find information at MBTS.edu. They provide both master and doctoral degrees. While they are more expensive for non-SBC students, they have online, in-person and hybrid options.
There are plenty of other schools out there to look into, but I would make sure that you check them out thoroughly before enrolling. Are they accredited? What do they believe? What is the reputation of the school? Do they have a physical campus? How much is it going to cost? As you look for answers, be sure to keep prayer at the heart of your search.
Do you have to attend a school to be a lifelong learner? No, but we need godly men leading our churches that have taken the time to invest in the Word and think deeply about the things we do in our churches. Some of that can only happen in a place of continuing education. Maybe it is time for you to take some steps toward your next degree.