One of my favorite seminaries is in Indonesia. They live by the principle that obedience and follow through are what really matters.
Dr. Chris Marintika has created a unique theological education program in Indonesia. In addition to completing traditional seminary academic requirements, every student at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Indonesia must plant a church by the time he or she graduates.
I once asked a seminary dean the question, “When students graduate from your program, what can they do?” He later told me that question kept him up at night for a couple of months. When we look at the ways we’ve traditionally trained people, there isn’t a strong correlation to actually producing the competencies to do what Jesus did, live like Jesus did, and make disciples.
Any training method we use needs to be not just cognitive, but building character and helping people acquire practical skills. Character and competency must come before knowledge. Knowledge is the servant of those qualities, not the thing that drives it.
Note: part of a series started April 22nd.
The next question my coach asked me—after I had wrestled for a while with “What’s next?”—was “What’s missing?” After reflecting on the state of the church in the U.S. I decided my answer was that true leadership development from the harvest was what was missing. We were providing seminary education at a rate unmatched anywhere else in the world, but where were the new leaders that came out of the harvest? Who were we reaching from there? And how were we developing them? We weren’t.