The present model for the education (information)—the academic component given an unbalanced preference—and training (formation)—less emphasized— of pastors and other church workers is at a crossroads. The University model which is predominated in pastoral education and training will not, and can’t be expected to, provide the necessary vocational development to navigate increasingly complex congregational and cultural issues facing clergy. The result of this gap in preparation has led to an increase in pastoral burnout, mistakes made early in one’s ministry, bringing pain to pastoral family life as well as to congregations, and resulting in an ineffective system. In a day of limited resources and pressing needs, the Church must respond.
The D James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership under the guidance of Dr. Michael A Milton has proposed a review with research and development that has led to an initiative called “Reimagining Pastoral Education and Training.” This initiative involves four distinct phases:
Truth Applied through supervised on-the-job evaluated training for each course in the seminary curriculum; candidates can then depart seminary with an unsurpassed new level of internship credentials that may be presented to their respective denominational judicatories
Residency (the first year after seminary begins a one-year supervised experience in 12 essential pastoral competencies; delete word. The residency is delivered through multimodal means, that is, through a plurality of ways: online lectures, ministry events, writing a verbatim, followed by reflection on the event with the supervising minister, the lay leader, a peer, and the resident’s family.
Teaching and learning, on the ground, supervised ministry, theological reflection on the pastoral competency with pastoral supervisor, peers, the pastoral family, and a member of the congregation.
The Fellowship phase of Reimagining Pastoral Education and Training commences at approximately postgraduate +5 years. The doctor of ministry program, long used as a credentialing opportunity for pastors, becomes an intentional time of theological reflection of ministry, identification of a particular area of expertise, or a congregational need, that is addressed through multimodal means.
Following the DJK Institute Fellowship, the minister of the gospel has completed a significant time of both the university model education and apprenticeship model training. The pastoral lifecycle (ordinarily) includes a stage, the Green Stage (Milton, 2017), or the Productive stage. During this time numerous issues may be identified. With intentionality and supervision (e.g., a Doctor of Ministry degree), these presenting issues of ministry are isolated, researched, answered, and offered to the clergy of all denominations. The Pastoral Training Model stage that is Lifelong Learning extends past the Productive stage and into the stage of Mentoring (“the keeper of meaning”), and Reflection. The Kennedy Institute recognizes that the postretirement years for clergy often require unique spiritual, ministry, psychological, and social responses for both the pastor and the pastoral family. The Kennedy Institute seeks to develop lifelong learning resources to help during each stage in the pastoral lifecycle.
A Partnership of Faith for Living, and the D. James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership.