June 13, 2024

The Choice of a Place to be Equipped 如何選擇接受事奉裝備的地方

The Choice of a Place to be Equipped for Ministry

God’s calling is to ministry and that ministry is to continue the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and to follow in His steps on the road of the cross in servanthood and in service to His church. One thing has to be absolutely clear: You are never called to an institution to study. You are called to be a servant of the Lord to do whatever He wants you to do. While the call is never to a place to be equipped, it is your responsibility nonetheless to seek out a place where you will be equipped for a lifetime of ministry.

Institutions that provide theological training are called by different names but all of them provide the basic “professional” equipping for a minister of the Gospel of the head, the hands and the heart through four different areas of study: Biblical, where the Bible is studied; Theological-Historical, where students are engaged in theological-historical studies and to learn how to think theologically; Ministry (formerly called Practical Studies) where students are taught the various ministries of the church; and finally, Supervised Ministry where students are able to apply what they have learned into actual ministry or in a mentoring relationship with an experienced minister in a church or an organizational setting.

Not all theological schools are the same or equal as each function at different levels academically, but with each doing the same thing, how do you choose the school in which you will spend three, four or more years of your life being equipped for ministry and know that at the end of it, you are getting value for your investment in time, money and effort?

Here are some suggested criteria to look for when choosing a place to be equipped.  These criteria are not in any order of importance:

1. Is the school accredited? Accreditation is an important indicator of the quality of education and training that you will receive at the school. It is an objective assessment by its peers that the school has sufficient qualified faculty, adequate facilities, financial stability, competent administration and governance, strong support of its constituency and alumni, and a credible curriculum that will enable it to do what it sets out to do – the training of ministers. The credits for courses enrolled or the degree you receive will get its due recognition by fellow accredited schools or other authorities.

2. Is the professed statement of belief or statement of faith of the school biblically sound and in line with what you believe? This is an important consideration, especially in this day and age when being denominational in the culture is not a welcoming idea, it is therefore all the more important that what is professed and practiced is biblically sound. Hence, it makes perfect sense that as a Southern Baptist, for example, you should enroll in a Southern Baptist seminary because you can be certain that the Baptist faith and polity is taught there. This is especially true for those enrolled in seminary for the very first time in order for them to have a good foundation in the Baptist faith.

3. Does the school help stretch your faith by equipping you to think theologically? This is especially needful in our day and age for you as a minister to not only know what you believe but to know why you believe it. Theological schools should be a place where you wrestle with articulating a Christian worldview in your present context and to be able to defend it.

4. Does the school have a strong emphasis on the spiritual formation of the minister? This is the development of the inner person and the spiritual depth of the person so to speak and the formation of the motivation, the attitudes, and the character of the minister. Schools have generally come around to the realization that academics is not everything in theological education and the spiritual formation of the minister plays an important part in the future success of ministry for the student.

5. Does the school have a strong emphasis on Supervised Ministry? Most theological schools have a strong academic emphasis and rightly so. However, there is also a need for training that seeks to equip the student to function competently in ministry through the acquisition of skills. As a proverbial chef would say: We need more cooks who are able to cook than we need more nutritionists in the kitchen! (No offense to nutritionists!)

6. Does the school offer programs that meet your needs? This is a practical issue especially for those who, because of family commitments, make it almost impossible for them to give up making a living and when relocating is out of the question. At the same time, they are intent on pursuing a course of study on a part time basis and still be able to graduate within a reasonable period of time without leaving home and family. Some schools do offer online courses for entire programs, but the serious weakness of most  such programs in general is the lack of interaction between students and the lecturer and between students in the learning process. Another consideration is whether the school offers programs for spouses so that they may also be equipped as a partner in ministry.

Yet another issue is, especially if you have work experience and feel called to the ministry later in life as a second career, and generally know exactly what God has called you to do, does the school provide you with the equipping that will enable you to serve effectively in that field?

7. How much does it cost to go to school there? This is yet another important practical consideration and exercising good stewardship. You certainly do not want to be loaded with debt through loans that would take years to pay off after you finish but at the same time you do not want to miss out on a good theological education experience just because it costs too much. Theological education does not come cheap but Southern Baptist seminaries make it very affordable for members of Southern Baptist churches to attend them and have a great education and equipping in the process.

The next step in the process is to have a handle on what the options for ministry are as you think about serving the Lord. This is where the next stage of “The Journey” would take you.


提供神学训练的机构有着不同的名称,但它们都為传道人在四个不同的研究领域提供了基本的“专业”装备:圣经,在其中研究圣经; 神学-历史,学生从事神学-历史的研究,并学习如何进行神学思考; 事工(以前称为实践研究),在其中学生学习教会的不同事工; 最后是督导实习事工,学生可以将他们所学到的知识应用到实际的事工中,或在教会或组织机构中与经验丰富的传道人建立指导关系。

1. 学校是否通过认证?认证是你将在学校所获得的教育和培训的质量的重要指标。这是同行们的客观评估,认证学校是否拥有足够的合格教师,足够的设施,稳定的财务,有效的管理和治理,得到其服侍的对象和校友的有力支持,以及拥有一个可信的课程,使其能够培训传道人。修读课程的学分及你所获得的学位将得到其他认可的学校或机构的认可。

2. 学校所宣告的信念陈述或信仰陈述是否合符圣经,并符合你的信仰?这是一个重要的考虑,特别是在这个时代中,在文化中宗派并不是一个受人欢迎的题目。更重要的是,其宣告和实践的东西都是符合圣经的。因此,举例说,作为美南浸信会会友,你应该报读美南浸信会神学院,因为您可以确定那里教授的是浸信会的信仰和体制。对于那些第一次入读神学院的人来说,这尤为重要,这让他们在浸信会信仰上能得着有一个良好的基础。

3. 学校有否有透过装备,讓你从事神学思考来伸展你的信心?作为传道人,在这个时代,不仅需要知道你相信什么,而且知道你为什么相信它。神学院应该是一处你努力明确地说明基督教世界观的地方,并且能够为它辩护。

4. 学校是否强调传道人的灵性修养?这是个人的灵性和属灵深度的培育,以及传道人在事奉的动机,态度和品格上的塑造。学校普遍认识到学术不是神学教育的一切,而传道人的灵性修养对学生未来学生事工的成败起着重要作用。

5. 学校是否重视督导实习?大多数神学院都非常重视学术,这是正确的。然而,我们需要通过培训来使学生获得技能,使其能胜任事奉中。一位厨师会说:在厨房中我们需要更多能做饭的厨师,而不是更多的营养师! (这里没有冒犯营养学家的意思!)

6. 学校是否提供能满足你需求的课程?对那些有家庭负担而使得他们不可能放弃工作,以及不可能搬家的人來説,这是一个很实际的问题。但他们打算在部分时间的基础上修读,并且仍然能够在合理的时间内毕业,而无需远游和离开家人。有些学校提供整个网上的课程,但这些课程最大的弱点是在学习的处境中,学生与讲师,以及与其他学生之间缺乏互动。另一个考虑是学校是否有为配偶提供课程,让他们也可以接受装备来在事奉上作伙伴。


7. 去那里上学要花多少钱?这是另一个重要的实际考虑,并作好的管家。你当然不希望因着贷款而至债台高筑,在毕业后,并在服侍中,多年之后才能清还。但同时你不想因为成本太高而错过得着良好神学教育的经验。神学教育并不便宜,但美南浸信会神学院让美南浸信会会友能够很便宜地入读,并在这一过程中得着良好的教育和装备。



提供神學訓練的機構有著不同的名稱,但它們都為傳道人在四個不同的研究領域提供了基本的“專業”裝備:聖經,在其中研究聖經; 神學-歷史,學生從事神學-歷史的研究,並學習如何進行神學思考; 事工(以前稱為實踐研究),在其中學生學習教會的不同事工; 最後是督導實習事工,學生可以將他們所學到的知識應用到實際的事工中,或在教會或組織機構中與經驗豐富的傳道人建立指導關係。


1. 學校是否通過認證?認證是你將在學校所獲得的教育和培訓的質量的重要指標。這是同行們的客觀評估,認證學校是否擁有足夠的合格教師,足夠的設施,穩定的財務,有效的管理和治理,得到其服侍的對象和校友的有力支持,以及擁有一個可信的課程,使其能夠培訓傳道人。修讀課程的學分及你所獲得的學位將得到其他認可的學校或機構的認可。

2. 學校所宣告的信念陳述或信仰陳述是否合符聖經,並符合你的信仰?這是一個重要的考慮,特別是在這個時代中,在文化中宗派並不是一個受人歡迎的題目。更重要的是,其宣告和實踐的東西都是符合聖經的。因此,舉例說,作為美南浸信會會友,你應該報讀美南浸信會神學院,因為您可以確定那裡教授的是浸信會的信仰和體制。對於那些第一次入讀神學院的人來說,這尤為重要,這讓他們在浸信會信仰上能得著有一個良好的基礎。

3. 學校有否有透過裝備,讓你從事神學思考來伸展你的信心?作為傳道人,在這個時代,不僅需要知道你相信什麼,而且知道你為什麼相信它。神學院應該是一處你努力明確地說明基督教世界觀的地方,並且能夠為它辯護。

4. 學校是否強調傳道人的靈性修養?這是個人的靈性和屬靈深度的培育,以及傳道人在事奉的動機,態度和品格上的塑造。學校普遍認識到學術不是神學教育的一切,而傳道人的靈性修養對學生未來學生事工的成敗起著重要作用。

5. 學校是否重視督導實習?大多數神學院都非常重視學術,這是正確的。然而,我們需要通過培訓來使學生獲得技能,使其能勝任事奉中。一位廚師會說:在廚房中我們需要更多能做飯的廚師,而不是更多的營養師! (這裡沒有冒犯營養學家的意思!)

6. 學校是否提供能滿足你需求的課程?對那些有家庭負擔而使得他們不可能放棄工作,以及不可能搬家的人來説,這是一個很實際的問題。但他們打算在部分時間的基礎上修讀,並且仍然能夠在合理的時間內畢業,而無需遠遊和離開家人。有些學校提供整個網上的課程,但這些課程最大的弱點是在學習的處境中,學生與講師,以及與其他學生之間缺乏互動。另一個考慮是學校是否有為配偶提供課程,讓他們也可以接受裝備來在事奉上作夥伴。


7. 去那裡上學要花多少錢?這是另一個重要的實際考慮,並作好的管家。你當然不希望因著貸款而至債台高築,在畢業後,並在服侍中,多年之後才能清還。但同時你不想因為成本太高而錯過得著良好神學教育的經驗。神學教育並不便宜,但美南浸信會神學院讓美南浸信會會友能夠很便宜地入讀,並在這一過程中得著良好的教育和裝備。