Thursday, January 2, 2014

If I were to Start a Seminary in West Virginia. . .

Occasionally my thoughts go toward the possibility of starting a Reformed "seminary" that serves West Virginia.  Here is a purpose statement and list of Unique Missional Elements that I have been recently considering:


To equip students with the skills necessary to interpret the Word of God, to do theology from a Reformed perspective, to apply both in church ministry, and to teach others do the same.

Unique Missional Elements 

By this I mean elements that combine to justify adding this educational opportunity to the multitude of others that already exist. There are many excellent seminaries out there.  If this one cannot be uniquely valuable, then it is not necessary.

The subpoints are just thoughts on how to apply the missional elements.  Whatever this list ends up being, it could guide the implementation of the program:

  • Accessible to as much of the State of West Virginia as is within our means.
    • A variety of creative modalities?
    • Both residential and non-residential components?
  • Affordable by a people-group who have historically struggled with high poverty levels.
  • Available to people who are employed full time.
  • Accommodated to people who might not have had either secular or religious educational advantages.
    • Designed to meet students where they are. 
    • Designed to optimize success and retention.
  • Informed by and for Appalachian cultures.
  • Multi-denominationally Reformed
    • Constrained by and committed to the WCF and/or  LBC1689
    • Committed to the instruction of each student’s respective denominational history and distinctives (I forsee primarily baptistic/Bible and presbyterian denominations).  
    • Committed to informing all students concerning the history and distinctives of other denominations (at least in brief), for the sake of the One Body in Christ. 
  • Integrated with, committed to, and supported by local churches
    • Internships, clinicals, pastoral theology courses, and/or pastoral mentors
  • Preparatory for both lay and clerical ministry

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