Recent speaking engagements have given me an opportunity to see the Carroll vision and to view the changing landscape of ministry preparation firsthand. I recently spoke with a group of Christian camp staffers who are part of a 9-month leadership resident program. This group of quality Christian young men and women represent a generation of church leaders who have chosen training programs outside established seminaries and degree programs to supplement or replace theological education as part of their preparation for ministry. Some of the programs have agreements with established seminaries and can receive credit for their residential training, but some rely on this training alone to prepare them for ministry.
Similar to such programs are churches that have designed their own residency or intern programs to prepare students for ministry while serving on the church’s staff. Within the networks of these churches, completion of these programs adequately credentials one to be invited to serve on a church or ministry staff. I am not opposed to such programs, but they do challenge the value and need for a full degree program to equip one for ministry. This move away from accredited degrees is an opportunity for Carroll to deliver accredited theological education to these Christ-centered leaders in their contexts through a network of ministry partners. The landscape of ministry preparation continues to morph, and Carroll is positioned to respond positively to the changes that some see as threats.
I also worshipped and spoke recently at First Baptist, Sonora, Texas. Matt Killough, Carroll ’08, and Scott Gaskill, who is graduating this May, exemplify why Carroll exists. I told all those I spoke to that weekend if they wanted to know the vision of Carroll Institute they need only look to Matt and Scott. Matt took classes face-to-face and online while serving on church staffs, being a husband and father, and now serving as the pastor of a local church. Scott, the church’s Youth Pastor who also leads musical worship, has taken all of his courses online while being a husband and father and serving in local church ministry. Both are examples of Carroll’s goal to equip those called to serve Christ and his church where they live and serve. Churches like First Baptist benefit from the training provided by the quality faculty of Carroll and the application of that training to everyday ministry experiences. We have 140+ graduates like Matt and Scott who have been equipped where they live and serve through Carroll. I believe the kingdom is being advanced because of them and their ministries.
While the landscape of ministry preparation continues to change, Carroll is positioned to respond wherever those called to serve Christ and his church live and serve. I am convinced that a complete training/degree program is still the best way to train for ministry in a local church. We have the opportunity to stand on our foundation of biblically based curricula while responding with new ways to deliver that training to a new generation of church leaders.
Serving Him With You,