Churches are called to teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and all that the Lord Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:28). This includes higher theological education and pastoral studies. 2 Timothy 2:2 teaches us to pass on Christian truth to leaders who will also be able to pass it on to the next generation. We therefore believe that the church has a responsibility to train and equip leadership from within its own congregation through advanced theological education.
To accomplish that goal, we’ve developed a program called Theological Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Work. This program draws from a variety of resources and allows us to effective train men for leadership. This approach combines quality, college-level academic learning with pastoral guidance and hands-on experience in the context of authentic local church ministry.
What makes TEAM Work different from any other kind of theological education? We have a few core distinctives that govern our approach to higher Christian education:
- We’re not just a “church-housed” program that tries to duplicate seminary within the four walls of the church building. We’re a truly “church-based” program that integrates all elements of the educational experience with the life and ministry of Bethany Baptist Church.
- Without undermining the importance of academic knowledge, we believe that there should also be significant emphasis put on character and giftedness. Our local church context allows us to assess a student’s character, provide mentorship and pastoral counsel, and identify and develop spiritual gifts.
- Our approach to education is aimed at strengthening the whole man; his head, his heart, and his hands.
- We aim to foster ordinate affections as well as impart accurate information.
- We want to foster an atmosphere of learning that encourages lifelong education and wisdom over mere knowledge.
- Our courses are affordable, with students paying only for the cost of materials.
Bethany’s TEAM Work program offers a variety of different tracks of courses. Different people at different stages of life will need different kinds of education. These tracks are designed to develop future leaders, strength current leaders, and grow church members.
Our tracks do not use the traditional terminology of “degrees” and “certificates”. We operate under an entirely different paradigm of education than a traditional seminary. Therefore, using tradition terms tends to lead to confusion. Those terms give people certain expectations and associations that can be misleading.
Instead of typical college terms, we’ve borrowed terminology from the old guild system. In this system, a man wanting to go into a trade would apprentice himself to a master craftsman who he would learn along side and gain technical skills. After his apprenticeship was over, he would become a journeyman and continue his education through practical experiences. After completing a great work (a masterpiece) in his craft, that man would become a master himself who would be qualified to teach others. Likewise, our apprenticeship programs provide foundational education and skills that students can build off of. Our journeymanship tracks offer serious students a more advanced education with an extra emphasis on practical learning. Lastly, our mastership courses equip students to be able to pass on their beliefs.
While it’s rather unfair to compare our tracks to traditional Bible college degrees, some comparison might be helpful. Our apprenticeship programs are roughly equivalent to an associates degree from a Bible college. Our journeymanship programs are comparable to a master of arts degree from a seminary. Our mastership programs are still under construction but might be similar to a masters of divinity program.
Here are our TEAM tracks:
- Apprenticeship in Diaconate Studies
- Apprenticeship in Eldership Studies
- Apprenticeship in Church Planting
- Apprenticeship in Bible Study
- Journeymanship in Pastoral Studies
- Journeymanship in Theology
- Mastership in Pastoral Apologetics
- Mastership in Missions and Church Planting (in progress)
For more information about the TEAM program contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (515) 285-7439.