Your Church: A Seminary?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director

People are learning something at your church.

It may be intentional or accidental, or a bit of both, but people are learning:

  • How to act at church.
  • How people at your church engage the larger world.
  • How people at your church pray, study scripture and worship.
  • How people at your church apply all of this in their homes, at work, or when they are out in the world during good times and hard times.

People may even think that the way you are doing it at your church is THE only way to be a person of faith.

Historically, the local congregation was the seminary. This makes me wonder:

What would happen if we reclaimed this call? I am not imagining the local church would take over ALL theological education, but what if we understood this as our greatest purpose? Would that result in people loving their neighbors? Or inviting others to learn more about God?

Join me in getting curious about this. This Christian Century article has my head spinning. Imagine if we reclaimed even a portion of the call to grow theologically-informed spirituality? I know this is in the DNA of many of us, but we would have to say it out loud. We would have to build systems to support this. New systems.

I think we would throw out Sunday School as too small a vision and embrace lifelong learning in some holistic form of intergenerational ministry that is yet to be mainstreamed. It would be a sent rather than gathered type of seminary.

Why not innovate at your place? Your congregation might figure out what the rest of the world is waiting for. Invite us into this conversation. Our LEAD Team is wondering, what it would look like if church was a seminary-of-home-work-and-street? #Seminarytogo?

2 replies
  1. says:

    I suggest that you read a book by Andrew Root called Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker. He argues that Bonhoeffer believed that youth should be engaged in theology that same way that adults would be. Bonhoefferl went into youth work since he was so you whn he was ordained (22). His first assignment was a confirmation class in a working class neighborhood in Berlin. He brought theology to them and they got it. Perhaps if we don’t water down ideas when teaching children and help them grow in theology after confirmation, then they will be more theology based as adults. BOnhoeffer believed that we should treat children and young adults as essential members of the failth community. By the way, Andrew Root is a professor at Luther Seminary.

  2. Rebecca Bishop
    Rebecca Bishop says:

    Yes I agree. We all need more learning. Sunday School is not enough. There are 24 hours a day. There are 168 hours a week. There are 672 hours in a month. There are 8,064 hours in a year. We do have time for more learning and it is much needed. Our lives would be richer and more blessed. We would be different because we would apply our learning . We would be awesome.


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