10 January 2010

More on Ministerial Formation and Education

Rev. Tony Lorenzen (minister of Pathways Unitarian Universalist Church) posted a link to this article published by The Christian Century on his Facebook page.

The article seems relevant to the recent Unitarian Universalist blog discussions on "ministerial formation" and "ministerial credentialing."

Here's a short quote from the article:
Some senior pastors of large and influential congregations do not have a seminary degree, including Brian McLaren, who has served as pastor for a vibrant and growing congregation and been one of the main inspirations of the emergent church movement. Increasingly bishops and other judicatory leaders are less interested in whether someone went to seminary than in whether the person is an effective leader.

The genie is not likely to be put back in the bottle. The M.Div. will probably not have the same authority in the future as it's had in the past. It will be similar to the M.B.A.—a valuable degree if it has formed people well and is obtained from a strong program, but not a necessary credential.
The article is titled "Pastors by degree" by L. Gregory Jones (Dean of Duke University Divinity School).

I wonder if this ministerial formation change in the emergent church movement and megachurch movement will find its way into Unitarian Universalism.


Kelly KH said...

Well, the Universalists certainly started OUT that way. Full circle perhaps? As an unschooling parent, and a current M.Div student, I have mixed feelings on the issue, but I do believe it is possible to attain the necessary information to do whatever you want without going to school or having letters after your name.

Not to mention that being outside the assumptions of the "academy" certainly can have benefits in thinking outside the box.

Donald R. S. Wilton said...

It depends on the benefits. In another post you wrote about the growth of the nones. If growth in a church is important, and people without degrees bring that in a time when the secular is growing, then churches will utilize this.

If we see a need to grow and somebody has an alternative to the ministerial degree that includes growth, then it will get tried.