The Ordinary Church as the Primary Center for Ministry Training

The Ordinary Church as the Primary Center for Ministry Training

by John Rogers

As someone who has experienced seminary, let me tell you that it is a great experience. The privilege of getting to sit under the teaching of world-class scholars is one that should not be taken for granted and one that, if granted, should be taken. But what if someone is not granted that privilege (for it is a privilege)? What if current life stages, family obligations, a full-time job, and finances do not allow a person to go to seminary. Do they just not get to get a theological education? Are they to resign themselves to just being a lowly commoner who should leave theology for those in ivory towers? Is there another way to get a theological education?

Well as someone who has experienced many road blocks in their seminary path (finances, family obligations, a full-time job, and that weird seizure of 2017), I want to assure you that you can still get a theological education. With free online learning from TGC or BiblicalTraining (not to mention podcasts, books, videos, and articles) you can get a great theological education from world-class professors from renown seminaries from all over the country.

But here's a little secret that a lot of people haven't seem to have heard before: if you are a part of a local church that takes your growth seriously, you can get a theological education without ever having to leave the church. 

In fact, the local church is God's primary avenue to equip you, the saints, for the work of ministry (see Eph 1) and to grow you in the knowledge of God that you may then bear fruit (see Col 1). God never intended for members of his church to have to go away from his church to be trained to serve in his church. God's intention for the seminary has always been for it to be the icing on the cake of a local church that has trained its members as best as they could. Should a member need to get specialized training in languages, theology, counseling, or other areas of biblical scholarship, where the church is not equipped for the task, this is where God's gift of seminary then comes into play.

Below is a session from the 2019 Basics Conference where Andy Gemmill shares God's intention for the ordinary church to be the primary center for ministry training. This video, along with Paul House's Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision has had a tremendous impact on the development of the C3 Seminary. I hope that by watching this teaching, you are encouraged to pursue a theological education through your local church. And I hope it gives you more insight on why we do what we do in the C3 Seminary.

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