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!