m.div. vs. m.a.

my struggle over the past couple of years acedmically is still plaguing me, even though i am taking classes at saint paul school of theology. my struggle is that an m.div. is what will get me ordained in the future and is what they push all students who will be in "ministry" sometime in the future. the m.div. deals with some theology and biblical criticism, but for the most part focuses on pastoral care, preaching, liturgy, etc. very practical kinds of things, which are very import. what i really want is to go as deep as i can into theology and church history because i think the way church is going to need to change, only a good background in history and theology will get us there. our theology needs to move forward and cause our practices to change radically. i don't want to take a homiletics class and learn a modern way of preaching, when i know i will never preach those types of sermons. not because they're bad, because it's not who i am. i think that is wasting valuable time, resources, and money. scholarship is extremely important and i love to read and think deep and allow God to take my brain places it has never been and i strongly believe christians need to develop this if we are going to make a successful transition into this foreign world/age we're in. it just seems to me that an m.a. in theology is going to be more helpful in getting me to the point where i'm ready to work in a church or better yet plant a church. an m.a. doesn't mean i can't take the courses on pastoral care, or administration because i'll need those at some point, maybe. the m.div. is built for modern thinks/pastors. i'm not modern, nor will the people that i am living life with. theology and history are not quite as bound to culture as methods and practices are. those are some of the things i'm dealing. anyone out there struggling through the same kinds of things? any suggestions?


At October 29, 2004 at 1:03 PM, Blogger Chris Enstad said...

I'm going to keep defending the m.div here. a. your preaching class isn't going to download one way of preaching into your head but instead should be offering you a chance to try a couple different things in a safer environment. The worst thing for a future preacher to do is skip that class because it's one of the only times in your ministry that you will receive bluntly honest feedback on your skills and intentions. Just Do It... for the sake of all preachers everywhere ;)

b. how many of the hip, young pomo's with great hair have no idea how to or even that they SHOULD make hospital calls? Often they have grown up in the environment where the pastor is the center of attention on Sundays and they are surprised that there's a great deal that happens on Mondays-Saturdays that would be considered less than ego stroking. Pastoral care is muey importante. Just do it.

c. your post seems to me that you are acting as a receiver of knowledge but seminary is a great place and time for you to be a more active creator so get on it. Preach the way you think you oughta preach, you might teach your profs something, read more than the required reading in your history course and find other driven people to talk about it at length (that's what lunch is for in my estimation, I learned more at the lunch table than in class), take the opportunity that FOUR years of life removed from the hustle and bustle of church life offers you to actually reflect, READ, create and, yes, YOU might even change too.

At October 30, 2004 at 10:53 PM, Blogger mo said...

Dude you are a freaky-lot like me. I'm 25 married, with 2 cats, and up until two weeks ago I was a youth director...and I'm sure I will be at some point again.

I've also struggled about what to do about further schooling. Some family advice if you are considering being a pastor from my great-grandfather who was a lutheran pastor:
"Only be a pastor if there is nothing else you can do"

If you are sure that being a head pastor is your call, so sure that you can't do anything else, then an M-div is the way to go. From what I've learned through my investigation of Seminary the M-div program is a lot more than just the classes, and not somthing you should pass up...even in this "pomo" or "emergent" or whatever you want to call it world.

For me, I'm not called to be a head pastor, I'm called to be a youth guy...and right now I'm called to be a father so further education plans are on hold...but that's neither here nor there.

Nice blog.


At October 30, 2004 at 11:23 PM, Blogger Chris Enstad said...

mo makes a good point. I've told many people that if you are called to the ordained ministry then God will track you down. However, consider the fact that your call may not change between now and when you're 40 and the costs of uprooting family and finances when you're 40 far outweigh what you have to put on the line younger.

Finances are always an issue, but seminary will never become cheaper and gauging from the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of "conferences" you will never have the chance to learn what you can learn at seminary and the time really does go fast.


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