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.
From Tuesday morning until Friday morning, students receive their theological education. The faculty is made up not of professors, but of practitioners who serve as mentors for the students. The faculty members help them with spiritual development and ministry activity as well as with academics. On Friday at noon, students board buses and ride out to areas where there are no Christians. Most of the villages are mildly Islamic. Students minister in one area over a period of three to five years with the goal of producing 25 baptized adult converts. If a student is in the program for five years but has only 15 converts, he or she receives a C and is allowed to graduate. Students with fewer than 15 converts do not graduate.
In the school’s ministry model, classroom work and field work are of equal importance. If students don’t pass Greek, they don’t graduate. If they don’t win at least 15 people to Christ and see them baptized in a Muslim village, they also don’t graduate. Both the academic and the ministry requirements must be met.
What do you think might happen if we retooled some seminaries this way?