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.
I wonder sometimes about the question I asked that dean, and have come up with a corresponding challenge: can we develop a leadership farm system that raises up 90% of our new leaders without formal, expensive means like seminaries? Instead, could we develop bivocational leaders who are not classroom-based, but ministry-oriented? The harvest workforce is small when we limit it to Bible colleges or seminaries. Why not broaden it?