I received a Facebook message today from a children’s pastor with an interesting question. His church was encouraging him to pursue a seminary degree, but he wasn’t convinced it was necessary. As he looked over the landscape of ‘successful’ children’s ministry professionals, he saw many (including me) whom he didn’t think had seminary degrees, and that didn’t seem to hinder their success in ministry. I won’t list those he mentioned, because he was wrong in assuming that I don’t have a degree, and I wouldn’t want to make the same mistake by stating publicly that someone else doesn’t have a degree if indeed they do.
Me and My Degree (and the Dew that got me through!)
I actually have a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and a Master’s Degree in Children’s Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, but that isn’t the point.
The point is that this children’s pastor poses a great question. I wanted to share here some of what I shared with him, in case others are wrestling with that difficult decision.
Getting a degree is difficult when you are in full-time ministry! As one who has pursued my education while in ministry, I know it is very hard but also extremely valuable. I saw how disconnected the academic work could be from the practical side of ministry, and yet the biblical foundation was essential and critical. Too many pastors desperately need it. If a good school is not near your church, one good option is an online school such as Children’s Ministry University Online, www.cmuo.com, where I have served on the faculty. I only stepped down from my role there when my plate got too full.
As I said to this children’s pastor, yes, it is true that a lot of people you see with ‘success’ have done so without a degree. But if your church is encouraging you to pursue your degree (as did one of mine), and if they are willing to help FUND that pursuit (as did mine), I would take advantage of that! When I started my Master’s degree, I did not see the value of it as much as I do now. I was receiving invitations to speak places and starting to be a published author, and I thought, “Why do I need a degree?” (I was in my 20′s.) But by the time I had earned my degree, I was hearing more and more, “Why should we listen to this guy?” They started asking about my credentials, and the older I get the more they look at my degrees, especially when I am asked to speak on college campuses – suddenly a degree is very important!
Bottom line: Do you NEED a degree to succeed? No. You’ve seen that you need only to follow God’s calling. But if you have the opportunity for a degree, you should jump at it. It will be hard work, but it will enrich you. It will open more doors and gain more respect for you, as well as higher salaries in the long run and an edge over other candidates when applying for jobs, etc.
To have a church encouraging you to further your education is a blessing. I’d do it with gratitude, especially if they are willing to free up some time and provide some financial support to do it. What a great opportunity to invest in yourself as a person and as a minister. I say go for it! No one who got a higher education ever regretted it, and many who did not DID regret it.
What are your thoughts on the subject of ministry and education?
Be sure to take the Education Poll
related to this post in the Kidologist Forum
My life online is changing. I used to blog a lot more than I do now. I love my blog and I do have people bug me to “blog more” – but the reality I connect in other ways, and I do have this other little site where over 20,000 people come each and every day, so when I am starring at my laptop wondering what to blog about, there is a part of me that says, “why blog? you don’t need a blog.” But my blog gives me an outlet for posts that don’t quite fit on Kidology – either they are CM related or are more personal. So in the spirit of both blogging, and why it is harder to blog lately, I’ll reflect on:
HOW HAS MY LIFE ONLINE CHANGED?
#1 My iPhone has changed online life for me! Dramatically. I do Facebook and Twitter almost exclusively from my iPhone. Seriously, when I’m at my computer, I have WORK to do! I can even do WordPress blogging from my iPhone, but haven’t found the practical need to do som, maybe I should try that more – for personal outings. I really want to blog more – I need to figure out how to do this, whichout it becoming a duty or obligation.
First, some thoughts on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and WHY I BROKE THE LINK BETWEEN THE TWO. I probably just lost half my audience! But the rest, have been asking.
Since I started on Facebook, I had my “Tweets” (Twitter status updates) automatically update my Facebook status. Why? Because I was first and foremost a Twitter user and Facebook was an afterthought – it was something for college kids, right? But I had an account because underneath this aging body, I’m still that young Moody student, right? Times are changing, Facebook is now made up of MORE OVER 35 PEOPLE than college kids (much to their frustration!) and becoming the #1 networking site in the world. (could ultimately be a blog killer) I ended up slowing down my Twitter use because I didn’t want to be overwhelming my Facebook status with every little Twitter update – which tend to me more trivial and more links; news feeds, marketing, and twitter conversation. Now, thanks to Selective Twitter Status (a Facebook Ap) by ending my Tweets in #fb I can selectively decide which Tweets end up as my Facebook status and only change my FB status 1-3 times a day, where as I may tweet 10-20 times a day.
I AVOID FACEBOOK on the computer because I rather hate it. Please don’t invite me to groups and causes I ignore them all, and please don’t take it personally. If you invite me to be a Fan of starving children on the moon and I ignore it, it isn’t because I don’t care about starving children on the moon, it is that being a fan of them won’t feed them, it will give me more email and things to click every day. They get fed by people feeding them, and if you are feeding them, GOD BLESS YOU, I too am devoting to giving to and supporting charities and have founded one myself.
Facebook is for networking with people – and I use it exclusively for that – and I LOVE THE iPHONE APP because that is ALL IT DOES. No groups, no causes, no games, no snowballs, no pokes, none of the stupid Facebook stuff, just Friends, Status, and Messages. Ahhhh, the good stuff. I love my friends and family, all of them! (Even the ones I have no idea who they are!)
Be my friend at: www.facebook.com/karl.bastian
Now that I have freed my Twitter from the question, “Do I really want this on my Facebook page too?” I feel liberated again! I can tweet anything at any time, and the fun has returned! When I see something that makes me laugh, snap a pic, and tweet it. When I’m irritated, rant to the world. If a company gives bad services, finally there is consequence, with instant feedback to the world, interaction with friends and family, checking in on others, twitter is just fun and fills idle moments. Yes, there are times to just turn off the iPhone and enjoy your family or a quiet moment, and I do, no worries. But when you are fueling the car, or stuck by the train, the only option you had in the past was the radio. Twitter puts my in charge of my loose time. (I don’t like calling it ‘free’ time, because often it isn’t ‘free’ it’s costly, but it I’m not able to spend it the way I’d prefer to!) Follow me at www.twitter.com/kidologist
And in case you are the last to finally hear about it, we finally got the ALL NEW Kidology.org launched, and besides the personal excitement over it, I am loving the new dynamically loaded home page so I am CONSTANTLY checking the home page for what is the latest discussions in the forum and jumping to chime in. My personal interaction in the forum has probably soared – which is probably a good thing since I’m the creator of the website!
I also have a new “From the Kidologist” spot on the home page (also posts and archives here on my blog) that I’ve enjoyed updating) that gives me an opportunity to talk directly to the visitors to Kidology.org, granted, IF they scroll down on the home page. I put my spot “below the fold” intentionally as I’m not the most important thing, but I am glad to have a place on the home page so that it’s a little more prominent.
You know, we DO have a free membership now! Join at: www.kidology.org/join
I leave shopping online to my wife! She is the expert there. But I do find Froogle.com to be a huge time saver! When I do need to find something fast and still want to save!
That me online!
So that’s how I spend my time online now – (not counting e-mail) – networking on Facebook and Twitter and contributing to Kidology.org. How do you spend your time online?