I am one of the adjuncts in the vocational formation and church leadership program at Garrett-Evangelical. I have been there three years, leading one of the formation groups each year for eight to nine soon-to-be pastors in their first year of seminary.
The other day we finished our semester. We said goodbyes to our students. Then, after class, the adjuncts met for our grading meeting. We discussed our concerns and commented at length regarding individual students when needed. We said our thank yous and our goodbyes to members of the faculty who would be moving on to other things: one of them is retiring this summer; another is moving to a different track; and one became a pastor recently and won’t return for at least a year to our group.
This summer I’m teaching the summer version of this same class. A couple weeks back I put the finishing touches on my syllabus for the intensive four weeks. I spent a good deal of time thinking over what the course is about. The focus of the first-year of our program tends to fall in two categories, spiritual disciplines and theological reflection, while assisting students in understanding, integrating aspects of, and articulating their callings for leadership. I kept that focus in my view as I worked on the syllabus, which is a course guide for what we’ll read, discuss, and work on over the class.
So, here are my questions for you: what do you think persons training for ministry need to know? What would you include in the course if you were teaching ministers and servants of the church? What must be said or understood by women and men preparing for leadership in churches and para-church organizations in your opinion?