Friday, January 25, 2013

Campbellsville University

As regular readers of my blog know, for many years now I have been a member of the Church Relations Council at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky.  Yesterday was our Executive Committee meeting to plan for the spring meeting of the council.  As always, I was blown away by the various reports we were given about student enrollment and other things happening on campus.  At a time when so much of higher education seems to have lost its way it is refreshing to see a university that is committed to education and to Jesus Christ.

One of the things that originally attracted me to CU was their involvement with bivocational ministry.  Some of their staff and faculty serve as bivocational ministers in the surrounding area, and this school has a deep commitment to this ministry.  In past years they have sponsored bivocational conferences in Kentucky and held workshops on campus led by bivocational ministers.  Their School of Theology is very intentional about making their programs accessible to bivocational ministers.  They now offer three programs students can take on site or online.  I'll give you a thumbnail look at the courses but you can get more information about them here.

  • They offer a Certificate of Christian Studies which is a 27 hour, 9 course program that is excellent for a bivocational minister beginning his or her education.
  • The Associate of Christian Studies is a 60 hour, 20 course program that provides more in-depth instruction.
  • The Master of Theology degree is a 30 hour, 10 course program for the student that wants to pursue graduate level work.
When I began my pastoral ministry I had no education beyond high school.  It only took a few months to realize there was much about pastoring a church that I did not know, and I began to look for some way I could get the training I needed without leaving my job or my church.  I found a school about one hour from my home that provided me with a great foundational education for ministry, but because of the drive and my schedule it took me four years to complete a two year program.  When I did my studies in the early 1980s there were no programs like Campbellsville offers today.

Bivocational ministers run the gamut of educational backgrounds.  Many have college and seminary degrees, but a large number begin their ministries as I did without any formal training for ministry.  What convinced me that I needed to seek training was when I came to understand that my congregation deserved better than I could give them.  I could preach and provide basic pastoral care, but beyond that my ministry was rather limited.  I knew nothing about church administration, or developing a good Christian education program in the church, or how to put together a meaningful worship service, or how to lead change in a church, or how to address conflict in the church, or anything else.  And my congregation deserved better than that!  Even more, I became convicted that if God had called me to the ministry as I believed He had then I needed to be better than I was.  I hope you feel the same passion about being the best possible minister you can be whether you are bivocational or fully-funded.

If you need to begin or further your theological education and learn new skills needed for ministry in the 21st century, it has never been easier to do so.  You really have no excuses anymore.  With Campbellsville University online programs you can receive the education you need to be the best possible minister you can be and do so in the comfort of your own home.  Check out the programs and then contact the university and begin your studies today.  Both you and your church will be glad you did.

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