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April 06, 2006


JR Rozko

Not to sound cheesy, but when I read your post I actually got goosebumps! I feel like the kinds of dreams you are beginning to articulate are an incredible (and necessary) counterpart to what we are seeing happen with the rise of emerging churches and a move toward (back to?) a more missional ecclesiology. I couldn't be happier to be at (I wish I felt more justified in saying "part of" as opposed to "at" here) a school that is even considering dreaming in this direction. It's this kind of vision that I look forward to giving my life and even (gulp!) money to. Thanks.



Make it happen!!!

Drew Moser

Yes! Finally! As a pastor who has had the priveleage of higher theological education, the opportunity to have an instution help educate the faith community would be a huge asset. Where can we sign up?!! Keep dreaming...


Wow! That's a great innovation. It's hard to balance the financial and other needs of the seminary against the obvious needs in Christian communities. That sounds like a much needed start though.


I, too, got goosebumps as I read this. Ryan, come to Cincy and talk with us.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Wow! Thanks so much for this. I had a series some time ago called "Urban Seminary", so this just added fuel to that fire.



Thinking more about this, is it really that big a shift for the seminary? It seams like it would be a bigger shift for the church.

What I mean is, if a community wants to make this happen, they can even in the present situation. Just send different people to audit different classes.


It would be a huge shift for the theological colleges I have worked with. The whole curriculum presupposes the singular professional.

Ryan, I've thought a bit down this line and there are interesting parallels to explore in educational approaches built on multi-competency, like training in business, or healthcare, or even in the military.

When we move away from singular/pastoral competency towards congregational competency the model for what a college/seminary needs in terms of assesment, facility, curriculm, staff, in fact everything looks quite different indeed.

Michael Kruse

"I dream that my seminary will move away from the professional training model and will equip entire communities for mission."



Looks like you hit a nerve (again) Ryan...

One question: Doesn't this assume a culture where a great majority of the congregation stays in one place?

Thanks for thinking of the future, instead of trying to re-create the past...

God's peace, Rich


Fascinating sounding stuff. As one who is going away to school to prepare for some Christian leadership in the future, this is a great challenge to my grid of thinking about leadership.


ooooh..."the community recieves the M.Div instead of the clergy"

I like that one. Hope this becomes more than a dream...


I have still not seen an adequate response to why a student should pay the exhorbitant fees to get a degree such as an MDiv, if they will not be able to earn a living under such a degree once they graduate (since church aren't paying for the skills under this model).

John D

Equipping for redemptive teamwork and larger mobilzation. Would it be a pre-requisite to have a team/community committed for a length of time? (Rich's question about people and newly taught skills in motion). Would that block the spontaniety of offshoot activity, like Philip peeling off from Jerusalem to go preach in Samaria? (which seemed more than okay to the Holy Spirit.) Empowering and gifting are for the Body's effectiveness, not just the individual believer. Accountability may be beefed up as well, as individual faith/obedience or reluctance can affect the communities ability to carry out what they learn.


I'm interested in dreams 2-4.... are they in progress?

Craig Detweiler

It was great to be there, to hear
your presentation in person.
This is the kind of bold, innovative
thinking we must have to forge a
future for church communities.
Eager to work together to initiate it!


I too am looking forward to dreams 2-4!


Thanks for the affirming words -- yes, I think it would make for a good number of changes, and if the seminary and church were able to work something like this out in the next twenty years, I'll be more than pleased...

B-W, you have hit on the question of the day -- if seminary loses the professional model, why should the individual still pay? The answer -- if it is truly a community degree, then it should be funded by the community as well. Why a seminary at all? This is an ever larger question, but I think the local church might always benefit from a servant community that engages the questions of the day, questions that the local church, in the midst of the battle, does not have the luxury to entertain. Mission in post-Christendom is one such question, one that will take our generation to answer...

2-4 will be coming...


Still waiting on your next instalment ;)


Hello Ryan.

You say: "We must allow the students' questions to drive the execution of our content."

This having been said, it would seem that you censor your students on the BolgBlog. I got in here today under a false identity. My true identity is systematically blocked after I questioned one of your posts.



Guerilla -- I don't censor anyone -- it must be a browser issue? I welcome your comments! Keep trying - I don't know if it is a typepad deal or what...


Snx for you job!
It has very much helped me!

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I have the same dreams for my own school.

cialis online

the secret to having more dreams is to just get longer night sleeps, (go to sleep earlier)

as for what you want to dream about, that is a fairly uncontrolled occurence, try to think what about what you want your dream to be about before you fall asleep

if you sleep for a short period of time, then the dream will come and go very quickly as you may have noticed (dreams seem to go by fast no matter what though)


i like this part of the blog:"Some ways to do that ? Perhaps the seminary might contract with a community on a subscription basis, train their people in the skills they need, e.g. one person takes a preaching class, another takes community formation, another Greek…In a sense, we allow community degrees. Churches or networks pay by community – their community contracts with the seminary so that their community will have access to their resources –" is very good

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Hi, welcome to my former blog! My name is Ryan Bolger, and this is where I posted my thoughts on Jesus, culture, new forms of community, among other things. Come visit me at my new blog: http://www.ryanbolger.com. I still teach at Fuller Seminary in Southern California where I'm doing some writing as well. Feel free to bounce around the new or old website -- I hope it might stir your imagination -- feel free to stir mine as well by leaving some comments, preferably at the new site... Peace...


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