One of my passions is to help pastors grow in their theological development. I’m not sure when I became passionate about theological development, but here I am. Perhaps my own experience brought about the desire for pastors to grow deeper theologically.
I grew up in a quasi-anti-intellectual environment. Seminary was sometimes called “cemetery,” and I was warned about spending too much time in the classroom and not enough time on the mission field. Part of me understands the concern. Knowledge can lead to arrogance, and being in the library is far less messy than being in people’s lives.
The desire to be in ministry as fast as possible led me to become a youth pastor at the ripe old age of twenty. Yup, you read that right – 20. I can’t imagine hiring a twenty-year-old to be a youth pastor, yet the Lord afforded me the opportunity, and I took it! I learned a lot and am grateful for that church bringing me on at such a young age.
However, I soon realized I knew far less than I thought. My bachelor’s degree in biblical studies was good, but I was out of my depth very quickly. A few years later, a friend encouraged me to get a master’s degree in theological studies. I’m glad I listened to his advice. A Master of Arts led to an M.Div., which led to a D.Ed. Min. degree. I’m not a great intellectual, but I fell in love with theological development and kept enrolling. The more I learned, the more I realized how little I knew! I’m still learning.
Once, when I was traveling to Southern Seminary for a seminar, I was praying as I was driving through Indiana (not much else to do – I-65 is one boring drive). I remember thanking the Lord for the opportunity to study and learn. I told God that I knew not everyone had the same chances I had, so I promised him that if He ever opened doors for me to help other pastors deepen their theological well, I would be honored to do so.
God has answered that prayer through some international teaching but also in a ministry that a nearby pastor and I started – the Pastor-Theologian Collective. We meet three times a year to connect and deepen the theological well.
But this post isn’t a shameless plug for PTC! I recently became aware of free online training from some outstanding professors. BiblicalTraining.org has several free courses from teachers such as Tom Schreiner, Bryan Chapell, George Guthrie, Craig Keener, Daniel Wallace, Gregg Allison, and Darrell Bock.
Wouldn’t taking one or two courses to deepen your theological well be a great New Year’s Goal? So, check out BiblicalTraining.org and let me know which class(es) you will take in the comment section! Even better, get another pastor to take the class with you!