I cannot help being excited about God’s expanding vision for Stark College & Seminary (SCS) as we turn the page on a new decade. Here are three reasons why theological education matters in 2020: Accessibility, Affordability, and Applicability.

Accessibility

Some may wonder, do we really need Bible colleges in 21st century America? After all, we have Google and online access, why would anyone seek a formal and accredited theological education? Simple, access to information is not access to knowledge and competency. We would not tolerate a doctor with no training to care for our physical bodies. How much more should we expect those who care for our eternal souls to be properly equipped? Consider the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “accurately handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) because Paul believed God’s leaders must be prepared to preach and teach (2 Timothy 4:2). 

Great preachers of yesteryear talked about biblical knowledge and competency. For example, D. L. Moody, the great American evangelist of the late nineteenth century, said, “My lack of education has always been a great disadvantage to me: I shall suffer from it as long as I live.” Charles Spurgeon, the English pastor and Moody’s contemporary, insisted “the maintenance of a truly spiritual college is probably the readiest way in which to bless the churches.” Even Billy Graham once told a Newsweek reporter that his greatest regret was “that I didn’t study more and read more. I regret it, because now I feel at times I am empty of what I would like to have been.” These great men desired to be of greater use to God and his Kingdom and saw theological education as an avenue to achieve that aspiration.

Affordability

As we face the fact that higher education is more expensive than at any time in history and church attendance is lower than any time in history, is it worth the time and money? Yes! In fact, it is more imperative than ever that ministry leaders be equipped to face modern day challenges. SCS provides every student a path through the obstacle course of time and money by offering block class scheduling, affordable tuition, and various scholarship opportunities thanks to generous individuals. Unlike other institutions, SCS removes the burden of educational debt for the sake of students and their churches.

Applicability

Biblical knowledge and church leadership requires mentoring. In light of the many scandals and widespread biblical ignorance, trained ministers are a direct way to ensure the church stays healthy far into the future. While seminary includes reading books, writing papers, preparing sermons, taking exams, etc., it is much more. At SCS, the professors are practitioner-scholars who have both educational degrees and ministry experience. Thus, the faculty not only teach how to exegete scripture, but also how to exegete the church context.

Theological education matters in 2020 because the church continues to need experientially trained leaders. Despite all the difficulties and dilemmas of gaining an education, those leaders deserve the very best training to compliment their significant sacrifice and commitment. As you consider your calling in this new year, please consider giving God your very best for his highest calling, the church! Thankfully SCS is not alone in believing in the importance of theological education. Jesus’ words are as true in the twenty-first century as they were in the first–“the fields are white unto harvest” (John 4:35). To discover more about Stark degrees and classes, please visit stark.edu.

 

This article was written by Dr. Tony Celelli. Dr. Celelli is the president of Stark College & Seminary.