I loved every minute at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. But my professors produced in me a desire to make sure theological training happens in the churches. In fact, Dr. Albert Mohler did basically say he hopes his graduates put his seminary out of business at T4G 2006. By God’s grace, I have met up with a few other gospel-centered pastors on the island and we are starting up a church-based leadership training program, in which students could attain accredited bachelors and masters degrees. We are working with a ministry called the Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development, which helps churches partner together to do this.
Just between the few pastors that we have gotten together, we have met many men and women who desire gospel-centered seminary training but cannot afford to go to the mainland for four years. Plus, and most importantly, this is the way it is supposed to be done– churches raising up their own leaders! So please pray for us. You can check out the local website for our Antioch School Hawaii. Besides being truly church-based, the biggest difference between this and traditional seminaries is that mentorship/internship is the biggest component of the degree. And the assessment is competency based, rather than just knowledge/exam/grades based. Students implement things they are learning immediately in their local churches.
I am certain some people wonder: do you actually think you could offer someone the kind of education you got at Southern Seminary? One, all my professors would be ecstatic about what I am doing. Two, this is the way it is supposed to be done!!! Three, I would never claim to be able to teach at the level Tom Schreiner can teach, but I would never claim to preach at the level John Piper can preach (should we all go to his church?); but also no student goes to Southern Seminary to get mentored by Tom Schreiner at the level you could if you went to his church. Fourth, this is the way it is supposed to be done!!! I cannot emphasize that enough (see Eph 4.11-13 and 2 Tim 2.2). So please pray that this would go a long way to reforming church leadership in Hawaii for the glory of Christ.
Seminary is still worth it, but the LOCAL CHURCH is God’s chosen vehicle for Kingdom advancement.