August, 10, 2015—Every once is a while (like last month, in fact) I get a call from a church leader wanting ideas about creating a mini-seminary in their congregations. While that idea is driven by a sincere desire to make Christian education more meaningful and effective in their congregations, I remain suspect of that approach. I believe that any congregation will be well-served by taking Christian education more seriously and, by going about its practice in more intentional ways. But I also believe that a seminary is one thing and a church another—and when it comes to educating in faith, the two should not be confused.
However, I appreciate the well-intentioned efforts of those who want a more rigorous “school of faith” in their congregations. For those, here’s a sample curriculum for “The One Year Seminary” (click on the chart for a full-sized view):
What might a one year seminary program look like in your church?
For those who appreciate the more communal nature of the church and its need to educate in faith beyond a schooling model, see Planning and Organizing for Christian Education Formation: A Faith Community Approach (Chalice Press) by Galindo and Canaday.
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning and Director of Online Education at the Columbia Theological Seminary. Formerly, he was Dean at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer and Don Reagan.
His books on Christian education include The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice), and A Christian Educator’s Book of Lists (S&H).