You’ve heard of church planting missionaries. How about seminary planting missionaries?
David Robles is a friend and fellow alumnus from The Master’s Seminary. He is also a missionary in his native Spain planting a ministry equipping pastors and leaders in the church.
David Roble’s ministry, Berea, was featured by The Master’s Academy International in their April Missions Mobilization Memo. The memo’s purpose is to seek additional funding for Berea’s next growth phase, but the article itself describes an excellent strategy for getting a new seminary up and running.
You may click on the image with my highlights and annotations to enlarge it, or read the article at the TMAI website. But here is Berea’s strategy:
- Conference ministry
In their first year, Berea began holding conferences every three months. They addressed theological and practical ministry issues while modeling expository preaching. These conferences attracted pastors from a wide area and earned the host church a reputation for fidelity in preaching God’s Word.
- Train leaders at home
In their second year, Berea began a weekly program in expository preaching, training the elders and leaders of their own church.
- Take the training on the road
In their third year, Berea exported the expository preaching training from home, and offered the same to a group from six different churches in another region. Word spread, and other churches expressed a desire to participate.
- Launch the seminary
This fall, almost five years from inception, Berea is launching a three-year, modular training program emphasizing Bible interpretation, exegesis, pastoral ministry and expository preaching. Berea has 30 students signed up, with more expressing interest.
Obviously there are other ways to start a new seminary. A seminary professor of mine, in a class on starting church-based training ministries, said, “Pity the man who tries to launch a full MDiv program all at once from scratch. Better to just start teaching one class. Then add another. And then another.”
One advantage of the model from Berea in Spain, is that while tethered to one local church, the conference ministry start-up rapidly builds recognition in the field and at the same time, builds productive relationships with mature ministries through visiting conference speakers.
More could be said about prerequisites that need to be in place before planting a seminary whether via a conference ministry or any other strategy, but that is a post for a different time.
Question: The above aren’t exactly four “easy” steps to planting a seminary, but they strike me as refreshingly clear and doable. What is your reaction to the four-point strategy above?