A future Baptist Pastor

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A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:50 am

I hope I get him in one of my classes.

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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:23 am

Sadly, what I am seeing from their online students is not a good fit for pastors. Most of them come out with good academic credentials and a fairly good knowledge of Bible and theology, at least from the Liberty perspective. What I am seeing as missing is the knowledge of how to work with people in a church. I have watched some who have come to my area, and there is no training they have received in basic care for people and working within the structure of the church to help it grow in kingdom causes. I wish this were only my perception, but I'm hearing it from others in the BGAV who are dealing with Liberty grads in churches. Indeed, some of those coming to be pastors have never been in a group setting or a classroom to get their degrees. While I realize that educational models are changing and economics are working against traditional theological education, I can't see us accepting a medical doctor who took all his or her courses online, and I think there are definite comparisons for ministry.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby William Thornton » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:50 am

I think Dave is onto something.

Aside from that...happy to see NE lose.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Haruo » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:49 pm

Jon, where are you teaching?
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:06 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Sadly, what I am seeing from their online students is not a good fit for pastors. Most of them come out with good academic credentials and a fairly good knowledge of Bible and theology, at least from the Liberty perspective. What I am seeing as missing is the knowledge of how to work with people in a church. I have watched some who have come to my area, and there is no training they have received in basic care for people and working within the structure of the church to help it grow in kingdom causes. I wish this were only my perception, but I'm hearing it from others in the BGAV who are dealing with Liberty grads in churches. Indeed, some of those coming to be pastors have never been in a group setting or a classroom to get their degrees. While I realize that educational models are changing and economics are working against traditional theological education, I can't see us accepting a medical doctor who took all his or her courses online, and I think there are definite comparisons for ministry.


Ed: Dave have you observed Liberty Grads from both the online only program and those who have have
taken all of their undergrad work on campus at Liberty University, in Lynchburg? If so is there any difference?

I am no fan of liberty, Jerry Falwell Sr or Jr. however when I went back to SBTS in 1992 was surprised to find a few rather sharp Liberty grads, some rather average. I did not come to know any of them very well but it seemed to me was the SBC churches that they had come out of.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:25 pm

Haruo wrote:Jon, where are you teaching?


I am an Adjunct Instructor for Liberty University Online, Rawlings School of Divinity.

In my 11th year.

I am certified for THEO 104 and EVAN 101 classes.

I’m contracted for 8 classes a year with options for summer classes.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Haruo » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:08 am

I figure if Liberty U gave us (i.e. the world) Landover Baptist Church, they're not all a bunch of dimwits. Not to say I condone all of their humor, and like SNL I don't think they've improved over the past 15 years or so.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Jon Estes » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:17 am

Haruo wrote:I figure if Liberty U gave us (i.e. the world) Landover Baptist Church, they're not all a bunch of dimwits. Not to say I condone all of their humor, and like SNL I don't think they've improved over the past 15 years or so.


Any school can give an earned degree to some who will be troublemakers or worse. It is not the fault of the school if a graduate goes rogue.

I am sure we can find those from any given time, theological stripe or school who have not done well or been seen as troublemakers.

Liberty has produced some great people in just about every field out there. I am watching a great school become even greater.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:00 am

JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Dave have you observed Liberty Grads from both the online only program and those who have have
taken all of their undergrad work on campus at Liberty University, in Lynchburg? If so is there any difference?


My observations have been primarily with theology grads who have been online students. I watched one who self-destructed in the pastorate because he did not work with his church. He came in and told them what to do, and his collaboration skills were absent. I'm watching two others in the process of potential self-destruction for the same reason. I am a strong advocate of not granting ministerial degrees to folks who don't have a supervised ministry component to their educations. First, I confess that the most important part of my theological education was a one-year pastoral internship with a church in Louisville. Second, I served Southeastern Seminary as a supervised ministry supervisor taking a young student pastor under wing to have a weekly session to observe and assist his work. Third, I have had seminary grads in their first placement out of school on church staffs. The most important thing in their first year that I could do was work with them on the skills of working with people in churches. Two of them are now flourishing in church settings, but both had struggles. Also, when our son was doing his seminary work, he had a year and a half with a seasoned minister that helped him in important ways.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby JE Pettibone » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:47 pm

Jon Estes wrote:
Haruo wrote:Jon, where are you teaching?


I am an Adjunct Instructor for Liberty University Online, Rawlings School of Divinity.

In my 11th year.

I am certified for THEO 104 and EVAN 101 classes.

I’m contracted for 8 classes a year with options for summer classes.


ED: For those not acquainted with Rawlings, http://blackchristiannews.com/2015/12/l ... lion-gift/
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Jon Estes » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:50 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:
Jon Estes wrote:
Haruo wrote:Jon, where are you teaching?


I am an Adjunct Instructor for Liberty University Online, Rawlings School of Divinity.

In my 11th year.

I am certified for THEO 104 and EVAN 101 classes.

I’m contracted for 8 classes a year with options for summer classes.


ED: For those not acquainted with Rawlings, http://blackchristiannews.com/2015/12/l ... lion-gift/


Thanks Ed. I didn’t know why the name was changed. Good story... Great school.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:55 pm

I know online education is an important need right now. The Associate Pastor at our church is taking some online classes right now through Iliff in Denver. But UMC limits the amount of classes you can do online verses classroom time. Right now I think you can only do 25% of your education online. I'd not be surprised if that isn't adjusted later. But I do think some component which requires hands on work in the church through an internship or other managed field work is important.

You can get the best education in the world but without some experience you can get yourself into a lot of hot water fast.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Haruo » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:16 pm

After my dad got his BD from BBDS in 1945-6 (the actual awarding of the degree was postponed pending payment of library fines), and married my mom (1946), they moved to the Boston area, where he got a job as youth pastor at FBC Malden, where he was supervised by Rev. Hillyer Stratton for a year or so. During the same year he completed his STM at Newton (later part of Andover-Newton, which now I believe has been sort of folded into Yale). They moved back to the Puget Sound area and he had two brief pastorates (Grace Baptist, Tacoma, and Calvary Baptist (now Wedgwood Community Church), Seattle. By 1952 he had had enough of pastoring and moved on to his great calling, campus ministry, at the University of Washington, where he served as the minister at the Baptist/Disciples Student Center which morphed into Koinonia Center (forerunner of the later Covenant House). He gave enormous credit for his lack of total failure in church pastoring and his great success in campus ministry to the guidance he received from Dr. Stratton.
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Hillyer Stratton in 1938
(a decade before my dad's
time in Malden)
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Sandy » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:55 pm

I'm not that familiar with online seminary programs. I know that there was a massive amount of field experience and practicum coursework required for credit when I got my degree at Southwestern, and many of the courses I took, particularly those in education, had a required field experience project. I can list at least eight different churches, besides my own, where I did some sort of supervised ministry project or internship either as a credit class, or part of a class requirement. I know online programs have trouble getting enough field supervisors. I've taken online coursework, and it has been a major development over the past decade in the education field, and both of those experiences have led to me not being a big fan or advocate of it.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:35 pm

My wife has been an adjunct community college teacher who did in person classes. What she was finding was that many with online credit knew how to answer questions and read books, but what often seemed missing was relating the learning to life itself and compartmentalizing classes without an overall structure.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:47 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:My observations have been primarily with theology grads who have been online students. I watched one who self-destructed in the pastorate because he did not work with his church. He came in and told them what to do, and his collaboration skills were absent.
I favor a mentor approach myself, but I would add that I have seen both those who learned pastoring from a mentor and those who went to brick & mortar seminaries make the same kinds of mistakes.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:48 pm

Rvaughn wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:My observations have been primarily with theology grads who have been online students. I watched one who self-destructed in the pastorate because he did not work with his church. He came in and told them what to do, and his collaboration skills were absent.
I favor a mentor approach myself, but I would add that I have seen both those who learned pastoring from a mentor and those who went to brick & mortar seminaries make the same kinds of mistakes.


My worry is when they have neither a classroom experience or a solid mentor relationship but simply end up in a church with nothing but their online learning. I didn’t learn to run a church in class. I learned it on the job working at a church. Academics aren’t a subsitute for practical experience.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Jon Estes » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:08 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
Rvaughn wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:My observations have been primarily with theology grads who have been online students. I watched one who self-destructed in the pastorate because he did not work with his church. He came in and told them what to do, and his collaboration skills were absent.
I favor a mentor approach myself, but I would add that I have seen both those who learned pastoring from a mentor and those who went to brick & mortar seminaries make the same kinds of mistakes.


My worry is when they have neither a classroom experience or a solid mentor relationship but simply end up in a church with nothing but their online learning. I didn’t learn to run a church in class. I learned it on the job working at a church. Academics aren’t a subsitute for practical experience.


I have may students who graduated with their accredited online degree who are doing well in their ministries.

I also know many who graduated from one of the SBC seminaries and did the required practicums, who sucked at being a vocational minister.

Making this an online education problem is not fair, as many Pastors prior to online education were terrible at people/management skills.

Most of my students are also well above, in age, resident students at most universities.

To be fair with my classes, I only work with undergraduate students, not those in seminary.

My students this semester range from 21 - 66. Most are over 30 and have a lot of life experience.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:03 am

I have also encountered LU grads with a "bachelor in Bible" who say their degree is just as good as a seminary degree. Obviously, they have not put in the time.

Jon, I agree that some ministers do not do well. One of the things we are working with in CBF is having cohorts of those in their first ministerial placement who get continuing attention for mentoring and help with the issues that arise. Our son took part in one of those that he found quite valuable. Also, Peer Learning Groups can provide a place of support for new student. My point is that there has to be something.

I guess I'm more familiar with Liberty than most since I have been in VA since 1994, have had family in Lynchburg through the years, and know the Falwell story all the way back to the 1950's. Not all of it has been favorable. I have also had LU grads in churches, some among the finest people I have known, and a few who could sour you on anything coming off Liberty Mountain.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Jon Estes » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:56 am

Dave Roberts wrote:I have also encountered LU grads with a "bachelor in Bible" who say their degree is just as good as a seminary degree. Obviously, they have not put in the time.

Jon, I agree that some ministers do not do well. One of the things we are working with in CBF is having cohorts of those in their first ministerial placement who get continuing attention for mentoring and help with the issues that arise. Our son took part in one of those that he found quite valuable. Also, Peer Learning Groups can provide a place of support for new student. My point is that there has to be something.

I guess I'm more familiar with Liberty than most since I have been in VA since 1994, have had family in Lynchburg through the years, and know the Falwell story all the way back to the 1950's. Not all of it has been favorable. I have also had LU grads in churches, some among the finest people I have known, and a few who could sour you on anything coming off Liberty Mountain.


The point came across as anti-online students. There are idiots among all grads of all school online or brick and mortar. You being in VA all this time will probably have more access to students from Liberty as many may have stayed in the region.

The “my undergrad degree is as good as...” came about when seminaries were producing many who were graduating with a liberal degree. We heard the same thing when I was at Criswell 37 years ago. At the time, it made sense.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:46 am

Jon Estes wrote:
The point came across as anti-online students. There are idiots among all grads of all school online or brick and mortar. You being in VA all this time will probably have more access to students from Liberty as many may have stayed in the region.

The “my undergrad degree is as good as...” came about when seminaries were producing many who were graduating with a liberal degree. We heard the same thing when I was at Criswell 37 years ago. At the time, it made sense.


Jon, my first response is that in my 4 years at SBTS, I never had a professor who insisted that I had to agree with what he or she said. There were open doors and even opportunities to respond in classes. Grades were not given for agreeing with the prof but for justifying what you said. One of the caricatures of seminary life in the 1960's and 70's was that we were "spoon fed the Pablum of liberalism" to quote Criswell or Rogers one, and it never happened. One of my favorite professors said near the end of my educational career, "We have given you the tools, and now it's up to you to use them." That characterized my education, but as soon as I arrived in a pastorate and went to an associational meeting, I was confronted with a pastor who came up to meet me and said, "I just wanted to meet the new liberal that's come to Parkton." Interestingly, he was far more liberal about personal ethics than I ever would have been.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby JE Pettibone » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:54 am

Jon : The “my undergrad degree is as good as...” came about when seminaries were producing many who were graduating with a liberal degree. We heard the same thing when I was at Criswell 37 years ago. At the time, it made sense.[/quote]


Ed: No Jon, it did not make sense then nor does it make sense now. In the fist place no one has ever graduated from an SBC Seminary with "a liberal degree" . I do recall the founder of Liberty University saying that he was joining the SBC because
it had become fundamentalist enough for him to support it.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:02 am

Let me go ahead and give you a bit of personal history. Two of my pastors gave me advice as a possible young minister that I do not hear much any more. It was the advice that on going to college not to get a degree in religion or biblical studies. Rev. Claxton Hall, who was a friend and mentor until his death in 2010, told me that I needed to know something about other things as well as the Bible. My college pastor, Dr. Wade Darby, stressed the same mantra. I left college with 9 hours in the religion department and six were required courses. My degree had a major in English with minors in history and German. Their concern was that concentrating too soon shut down the course of your learning. I gave the same advice to our son as he headed to college. I realize that liberal arts degrees are out of favor economically, but we in ministry need a wide range of learning, not just a trip through Bible and theology alone.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby JE Pettibone » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:37 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Let me go ahead and give you a bit of personal history. Two of my pastors gave me advice as a possible young minister that I do not hear much any more. It was the advice that on going to college not to get a degree in religion or biblical studies. Rev. Claxton Hall, who was a friend and mentor until his death in 2010, told me that I needed to know something about other things as well as the Bible. My college pastor, Dr. Wade Darby, stressed the same mantra. I left college with 9 hours in the religion department and six were required courses. My degree had a major in English with minors in history and German. Their concern was that concentrating too soon shut down the course of your learning. I gave the same advice to our son as he headed to college. I realize that liberal arts degrees are out of favor economically, but we in ministry need a wide range of learning, not just a trip through Bible and theology alone.


Ed: Dave, I had the same advice when I started college and majored in Sociology with a Religion minor, it served me well. However even Religion majors in most liberal arts schools are required to take only something like one third of their course work in religion.
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Re: A future Baptist Pastor

Postby Sandy » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:09 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:My worry is when they have neither a classroom experience or a solid mentor relationship but simply end up in a church with nothing but their online learning. I didn’t learn to run a church in class. I learned it on the job working at a church. Academics aren’t a subsitute for practical experience.


I wholeheartedly agree. The most valuable aspect of the entire time I spent in seminary was the field experience and the practicums. I had a class on basic sermon preparation, but I did a semester long practicum during which I was a volunteer in two churches with pastors who modeled the spiritual discernment needed to determine the content and application of a message specifically for their congregation. I had several discipleship ministry courses, followed by a semester internship in the youth ministry of a church where the youth minister had just resigned, and I wound up serving in that capacity during the time I was there, while they searched for one. I got to be part of a house church in South Ft Worth that eventually became an ethnic church plant, and with another church plant going door to door doing survey work in a new subdivision. You couldn't get that from sitting in front of a computer doing reading and writing assignments.

Jon Estes wrote:The “my undergrad degree is as good as...” came about when seminaries were producing many who were graduating with a liberal degree. We heard the same thing when I was at Criswell 37 years ago. At the time, it made sense.


Liberal, in the way it is used at Criswell and Liberty, is a pretty subjective term. Southwestern, during the Naylor and Dilday years when it reached record enrollments and was recognized as one of the top seminaries in the country, would have been considered "liberal" by Criswell and Liberty standards, though it was not even close to that in terms of Southern Baptist perspective. An MDiv or a ThM requires 88 hours of graduate level credit, a simple CE degree requires 68. There's no way that a Bible college degree, with 32 or 38 hours required for a major even comes close to the level of study and practical experience a seminary graduate degree requires, nor does a straight up Masters in Religion, or Masters in Christian Studies, which is just a 32 hour degree, come close. I don't know about the other SBC schools, probably similar, but MDiv and ThM students had to be in some kind of field experience every semester.

The most "liberal" pastor I know personally is a Liberty University and Seminary graduate. He went there, learned the content, got help getting placed in a church in West Virginia, saw how practical ministry works, had situations in his congregation where ministry that he never imagined was needed, realized that most of the people in the congregation had greater needs and concerns in life than getting the interpretation of a particular passage of scripture "right," or arguing over pre-trib, post-trib or mid-trib raptures, and, as he states it, "saw the Light."
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