PURPOSE

Purpose flows from intent and design, a goal to achieve.

The purpose of this project is to design and implement a seminary-based multimodal vocational pastoral training ministry for sustained spiritual health in both pastor and parish. The purpose of the research, writing, and implementation of the project can be understood in this infographic.

BURDEN

The burden for any Gospel undertaking is the indispensable seed that is planted in the heart and mind one who is “bothered”— to use the language of Abraham Joshua Heschel —and senses that Almighty God is in some way offended or a part of His creation is in need of redemption. The burden is articulated in order to arrive at a vision (that, in sequence, lifts the burden.

The burden for this project is centered on possible gaps in pastoral education and training that can lead to vocational burnout and dropout.
The cost of abortive pastoral vocations is both staggering and unacceptable. Each day three ministers drop out of their vocations. Yet, the increasing need for educated and trained clergy signals a gap in spiritual care in a secular age equals greater human suffering. Ministers are often the first-line professional caregivers in an ecosystem of spiritual and mental health.
While there are several mitigating factors in this dropout rate, we are concerned with the response to adversity in the early years of ministry. One researcher wrote about adversity in the professional of medical nurses. The definition of “adversity” in this case is used by the author to describe such a challenge with clergy:
Workplace adversity has been conceptualized in nursing as the cluster of negative, stressful, traumatic or difficult situations or hardships stemming from working conditions, the work environment and the daily challenges encountered in an occupational setting. It is often associated with excessive workloads, lack of autonomy, bullying and violence, and organizational issues such as restructuring.

VISION

The vision of DJK Institute’s Monograph Series on Public Theology is to demonstrate theological reflection with both scholarship and pastoral application for believers living faithfully in a secular age.

VALUES

Values are nonnegotiable core convictions that provide guidance for the project.

  • The inerrancy and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments;
  • The catholic creed of Christendom, viz., the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed);
  • The faithful summary of doctrine taught in Scripture as contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, and its Larger and Shorter Catechisms;
  • Education (information) must be wed to training (formation) to prepare one to serve the Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament;
  • Education and Training must employ multimodal means for both teaching and learning, and apprenticeship (internship, residency, fellowship, and lifelong learning)

VISION

― Vision is the life-giving lifting of the burden.

In this project, the vision is to design pastoral education and training strategies that are faithful to
the Scriptures, to the precedents of Church history, and which create sustainable pastoral and

parish vocations. Thus, I seek to reflect the move from “burden to “vision” in the project title:
“Reimagining Pastoral Education and Training.”

MISSION

― The Mission is the ways and means to realize the Vision ―

Reimagining Pastoral Education and Training draws on current literature, historic documents, pedagogical insights, and pastoral theology, among other disciplines, to create and mission with measurable goals that will move towards the vision of sustainable pastoral education and training leading to healthy vocations and healthy local churches.

PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY

A philosophy of ministry is the essential & primary commitments of the mission & vision.

The program is compelled to reimagining pastoral education and training for the glory of the Triune God under the Providence of the Father, the Exaltation of the Son, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This speaks to the necessity of teaching (information) and training (formation). The seminary is responsible to provide education with training, in cooperation with the pastor, pastoral family, mentors, regional judicatories, and the local church.

The program is conducted for students with competency-based training. One only advances after a mastery of standards. This may be repeated as many times as necessary.

As concerned as the program is for the spiritual health of the pastor and pastoral family, all is done to support the health of the Flock of Christ. This is neither teacher-centric nor pastor-centric. The program is parishioner-centric. The unquestionably primary concern is for the eternal life of men, women, children gathered in Christian communities.

The program is concerned with the salvation of lost souls and the fulfillment of the Great Commission through discipleship that is based upon the ordinary means of grace: Word, Sacrament, and Prayer.

STRATEGIC PLANS

STEP 1.

Prepare grant applications for financial resources to begin the construction of this
program: Reimagining Pastoral Education (information) and Training (formation).

STEP 2.

Develop the Program through plans and processes for each stage of education and
training:

  • Seminary Internship (during Seminary): Each course taken during seminary has an internship component, in which the student applied the “information” of a course to the “formation” in the “field” (church, hospital, or other approved ministry arena)
    • All Erskine Seminary graduates receive a Certificate of Internship from the D. James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership.
  • Residency (Post Seminary [PS] plus 1 year): Develop the 12 pastoral competencies for the one-year supervised residency using Multimodal education and training with online lectures from subject matter experts, supervised ministry practice of the competency, writing a verbatim, conducting theological reflection with the supervisor, a peer, and one’s spouse.
    • Upon successfully completing 12 competencies, the students/pastor received a Certification as Resident in the D. James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership.
  • Fellowship (PS+5): Develop a plan to keep up with student pastors as they move from residency toward year five, which is the fellowship year. This would begin their doctor of ministry, which is a time of vocational reflection, scholarly inquiry, and insightful contribution to other pastors and churches.
  • Lifelong Learning (post-Fellowship): Develop lifelong learning courses based upon quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The certificate programs provide in-depth training courses to support ministers and other church leaders in specific areas of competence, knowledge, or practice.

TIMELINE

The 12 month training and mentoring program will be developed by Dr. Milton and Rev. Jones.

March 1, 2021

Grant Proposals

Grant proposals go out to Lily Foundation for support of Reimagining
Pastoral Education and Training.

March 1, 2021
July 1, 2021

Phase 1: Internship

The first component of Reimagining Pastoral Education and Training is
implemented: Internship. Supervised ministry practice is required for each course in the
curriculum leading to a Certificate of Internship at seminary graduation.

July 1, 2021
December 1, 2021

Phase 2: Publication

The written project is completed and prepared for publication and
implementation.

December 1, 2021
February 1, 2022

Phase 3: Recording

Recording begins for the 12 pastoral competencies

February 1, 2022
May 1, 2022

Phase 4: Outreach

Outreach Campaign begins for Erskine Seminary students and for others
seminaries.

May 1, 2022
September 1, 2022

Residency Begins

Residency begins its first iteration.

September 1, 2022

SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES

“Yes, please email me when resources are published and residency opportunities are available.”

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