Monday, June 25, 2007

BCNZ, worship, evangelism and more

I don't know who reads this blog but I want to get something off my chest. To me BCNZ has as responsibility to the NZ church. It is to lead the way in the equipping of leaders for ministry in the church, mission and society.

I love Mark Strom's desire to see us connect more with society. I agree with him wholeheartedly; that we need to prepare people to take Christ into all dimensions of society with the big vision of the tranformation of the whole world into its created intention. All I can say is, yay, thanks God for bringing this.

I am thrilled that BCNZ still equips students for overseas mission and pray that we continue to do so and do it better and better.

I love the way that Merv Coates and Stuart Lange and others train people for pastoral ministry and leadership. More!

I praise God for Dave Wells who is a legend and who is doing a brilliant job of equipping people for youth ministry... more!

But there are holes in what we do; big ones. Most of us who are getting a bit longer in tooth in the Lord recognise that worship in the church aint what it could be. It has become egocentric, singing-dominated, triumphalistic and threatens to be rock concert rather than worship etc. Yet, we as a College do not provide training for worship leaders. We do not cause students to engage the emerging church movement, worship in church history, worship in the Scriptures and more!

Then there is evangelism. To me the western church has utterly lost its nerve, put off by the secularism, science, contemporary atheistic philosophy, relativism, tolerance, pluralism and more! Yet we do not have a course in evangelism of any note. Courses where students can engage with evangelism in the Scriptures, in church history, models of evangelism, great evangelists and more.

I could say that same about children's ministry; the best program of training in the nation should be run from BCNZ.

So... what about restructuring the ministry degree with majors in different areas of ministry. Have a BTheol for those who want to study theology in depth, preparing for teaching or preferring a theological emphasis.

What about a BMin with majors in mission, pastoral leadership, youth, children's ministry, evangelism, worship... is their anything missing there? Let me know if you think of something.

In the first two years of the degree the students would study the basic theological, biblical, church history subjects. Then they do focussed study in their chosen ministry area. Preferably it would involve a balance of practical and theological; that is, an internship type thing.

We don't need people with Doctorates in these areas. The course director can have a doctorate and teach in their preferred area. The practitioners need to be people of sound theology but also the best in their business. Find the best worship leaders, best evangelists, best children's workers and so on...

For me this is as important as the need of broadening our focus to the interface of Christ and society, the big project.

If we do this and do it well, we will find ourselves utterly overwhelmed with people wanting to come and study!


Dave Wells said...

Interesting thoughts Mark. I agree with much of what you are saying and as you know I am very supportive of new directions that college is taking and the emphasis to engage society more etc. I have some questions though... who are these brilliant worship people that we will get to teach in N.Z... because those who are usually suggested as brilliant simply perpetuate the rock concert style of worship that you are taking issue with... and any course we offer on worship will be expected to be the rock style type worship you are talking about... that seems to be what people want! As for evangelism, I know CDL are working on this but there is a huge issue around evangelism in N.Z. It has been dominated by the Black Book style evangelism and has become a limited conversation, again where are we seeing leadership to explore new expressons of evabgelism which take seriously the issues of pluralism, relativism, tolerance etc... because if you don't take these things seriously you will be and probably deserve to be ignored in many of today's sub-cultures. Where is the primary theological study coming from for this? Perhaps, maybe, our New Testament scholars could offer some research here (wink, wink).
I like your ideas about majors as well, and that is partially what we have but not as dvided as you are asking for, we have pastoral care, missions, teaching and spirituality... which I guess is a start.
We also have an internship track which does facilitate study in practical areas of ministry which a student might like to major in, however we don't have specific majors for them... blah, blah, blah... you know what we have and this isn't what you want to hear and I am boring myself!

What I think we actually need is some good theological study in these areas upon which to design, create fantastic papers and possibly majors for our degrees in these areas.

I too praise God for the amazing people we have and the programs we have, but perhaps you are highlighting some gaps here.

Dr Mark K said...

Good points Dave. I think that worship can be taught by a variety of people who represent the range of modes including traditional, liturgical, emergent and contemporary. The rock mode is not completely worthless, just one cultural expression. In terms of evangelism I don't think the black book will continue to dominate in the future. I agree about the need for some serious theology in these areas and yes, I will get onto it!

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