A New Perspective In Seminary Training
by Rev. Eddy Ho,ED Dean

The battle cry of Protestant churches since the Reformation is the "Priesthood of all the believers". While the church at large has to address many issues in the social, political and religious arenas, it cannot ignore this very important concept.
Discussions on this had led to two extreme positions. At the one end of the pendulum swing are those who place all their spiritual ministry on the clergy, while at the other are those who are anti-clergy.
On the pragmatic level, we have to ask who are to be involved in the ministry. Would it be only the ordained pastors or the so-called ordinary laymen of the church?
In some cases, things are so bad that pastors face an identity crisis with regard to their role/position in the church. Such a situation affects the training we provide in this seminary.

The greater question for our seminary is how we are to train our students in order to equip them for their future ministry?

What kind of ministry are we training them for? In the 70s, a paper was written by Rev. Howard Peskett(former Dean, Disciple Training Centre, Singapore) on the topic, "Training for What?" which was in attempt to try to analyze the appropriateness of seminary training for the ministry of the church. In the same way, Dr. Robert Ferris (formerly the Dean of Asian Theological Seminary) also wrote another paper entitled "Equipping The Equippers".

Such thinking has its effect on seminaries like MBS. In order to fulfil the biblical mandate, we have to have a 2-prong approach in the training of our students. One is to train them so that they can go out to train/equip members of the church for the ministry of the Lord. On the other hand, the students must realize that in the church they are not generals giving commands or lecturers giving only the theoretical part of the ministry.
They should also be practitioners setting the example to show the members on how the ministry is performed. In view of this, the seminary cannot be satisfied with just training the equippers, but we have to be concerned also with the ministerial part of the students we train. this is part of the holistic training we try to give to our students.

Another important role for the seminary is in the area of resources. Most pastors are not able to afford a decent library of their own. it is in the light of this that the seminary has to be a resource centre for pastors and Christians who are also interested in studying for their own enrichment.
This can be done, not only in the area of lectures, faculty resources but also the library. To this end, we need to keep upgrading our library. Of course, there is no end to this upgrading but the better equipped we are, the better we are able to serve the Christian public directly or indirectly through its leaders.

It is our prayer that MBS will be able to serve not only the pastors but also the Christian public in general. To this end, we strive, struggling with all His strength He gives us.


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