The Essentials of Ministry
Because the SMP Program focuses on training you very quickly for a specific ministry context, we can’t cover everything as well as we can with the full M.Div. Program. If you’re trying to decide between SMP and the M.Div., we’ll recommend the M.Div. every time. There’s simply no way we can teach you in 16 courses what we can in an entire degree program. That’s the raw, honest truth.
We’d love for everyone who desires to be a pastor to enroll in the M.Div. Program. Life is never that simple, though. There are some situations in life where students need training for ministry but can not come and receive the full training in our residential program. That might be because a congregation is vacant and unable to call a pastor, because of a particular need for an ethnic ministry or other circumstances. To serve those students, we’ve partnered with our Districts and Synod to create the Specific Ministry Pastor Program.
In the SMP curriculum you’ll learn in residential intensives (every Fall) and throughout the year through online coursework. You’ll be mentored and supported by a local pastor with years of experience in ministry. Through the combination of coursework and experiential learning you’ll receive the knowledge and skills you need to serve God’s people in your context.
“Therefore I again implore all Christians, especially pastors and preachers, not to be doctors too quickly and to imagine they know everything. There is much waste in imagination and unshrunk cloth. But let ministers daily pursue their studies with dilligence and constantly busy themselves with them.”
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
“The seminary does not exist to produce religious technicians, ecclesial managers, or psychological therapists, but rather thinking and speaking pastors who are able to articulate the truth of the gospel with competence and accuracy in a world fragmented and often chaotic.”