Learning Clusters

The curriculum design for the Seminary is built around the organizing principle of four Learning Clusters. These clusters are natural convergences of the functional roles in ministry. Each cluster develops a set of skills and synthesizes learning for ministers to use in planning and exercising the responsibilities related to the calling and mission of the church. The four clusters collectively form a continuum of practical learning built upon the academic subjects, which are arranged as follows:

Scripture and Witness (SW)

Scripture and Witness shieldReliance upon the Scripture as the Word of God and the indispensable role of biblical truth for faith and ministry; communication of the message of the Bible centered in the proclaimed gospel, addressed in relevant terms to contemporary culture, and reflected in the tasks of preaching, teaching, and witness that lead to such competencies as:

  • To engage reading strategies in the use of Scripture that enhance personal growth, critical awareness, and lifelong learning;
  • To appropriate the historic witness of the Scripture in its ancient setting by adequate study of the literature, history, and culture of the Bible;
  • To access the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Scripture using linguistic skills to prepare biblical sermons and to teach biblical content;
  • To expound the meaning of biblical texts using proper methods and principles of exegesis informed by historic Christian practice and responsive to current needs;
  • To interpret diverse portions of the biblical canon in terms of the whole of Scripture, seeking unity between the two testaments, so that the Bible may function properly in theological reflection and worship by the church;
  • To construct and deliver sermons that are biblical and homiletically sound, setting a program of self-critique for improvement and interchange with those who hear;
  • To communicate biblical truth through preaching, teaching, writing, and personal witness, or through music, worship, and other appropriate modes.

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Faith and Heritage (FH)

Faith and Heritage shieldThe historic formulations and confessions of the Christian faith; the impact of philosophical and ethical traditions and Christian truth on the history of Christianity; and the distinctive role of Baptists in shaping faith and practice that lead to such competencies as:

  • To develop a working knowledge of the major historical periods, movements, persons, and issues, as well as the political, social, and religious, influences in the development of Christianity and Baptist history that provide a basis for the beliefs and practices of the church in relation to the world;
  • To deal critically with historical evidence, sequence, generalization, and analogy with regard to the history of Christianity and Baptists, and to communicate insight from historical explanation in relating the past to the present;
  • To communicate the confessional development of Christianity and Baptist heritage in the context of theology, philosophy, history, and in conversation with the current human experience;
  • To model a working theology in one’s ministry that reflects an awareness of Christian doctrine in light of its biblical, confessional, philosophical, and historical development. To lead the whole church toward a working theology that gives attention to content, methodology, and process by which Christian theology continues to be formulated and developed within the life of the congregation;
  • To demonstrate how understanding of Scripture, history, philosophy, and theological foundations of Christian ethics informs the construction of one’s own beliefs and convictions, and how it expresses itself in action;
  • To develop within the church an awareness of how understanding of Scripture, theology, philosophy, history, and principles of Christian ethics lead to development of values, moral perspectives, ethical behavior, and sound decision making;
  • To develop a personal worldview relevant to Christian ministry taking into consideration other contemporary worldviews, philosophical issues, major religions, religious sects, culture, and science;
  • To lead a congregation to develop an adequate defense of the Christian faith against arguments from non-Christian belief systems.

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Ministry and Formation (MF)

Ministry and Formation shieldEssential ministries of character and leadership that nurture faith in Christ, build and develop churches, meet human needs at every level, and transform situations to God’s purposes; principles, methods, and resources that equip teachers and leaders for the development of educational programs in congregations and denominations that lead to such competencies as:

  • To train and develop church leaders in the proper interpretation of the Bible and application of its truth within the life and ministry of the church;
  • To model effective leadership skills and appropriate relationships with the staff, church members and other members of the community, and to develop these skills in other church leaders by helping them to be motivated, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and develop ongoing leadership improvement plans;
  • To demonstrate pastoral care that is both skilled and relational and serves the ministry needs of church members and other members of the community in administering and conducting the ordinances, hospital visits, various counseling opportunities, weddings, and funerals;
  • To function as curriculum coordinator of the church, assisting in the adoption of a philosophy of teaching and training that reflects an understanding of the functions of the church integrated with a curriculum plan that identifies ministry needs, and effects specific strategies for reaching learning goals;
  • To lead the church to adopt a working model for calling out, training, equipping, and developing church leaders in the areas of teaching skills and age-appropriate methods for the church’s educational programs;
  • To reflect and develop a biblical view of Christian stewardship within the church and to give leadership to budgeting and responsible operation and control of finances.

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Worship and Mission (WM)

Worship and Mission shieldPractice and forms of public and private worship, music in the Christian experience, the church’s mission in a global context, and the formative disciplines of Christian character and devotion that lead to such competencies as:

  • To plan and lead worship services that are built on biblical principles and patterns, that are shaped by essential Christian doctrines, and that exhibit sound principles of design and function;
  • To teach others the biblical, theological, historical, and cultural dimensions of worship and the implications of these for planning, leading, and experiencing worship;
  • To lead the church to understand the various elements of worship and appreciate diverse styles and expressions of worship;
  • To model awe and love for God and educate the congregation in personal, family, and corporate worship;
  • To model openness to the broad spectrum of worship experiences in history and in various cultural contexts, and lead a congregation to explore ways these may be used in planning and leading worship;
  • To teach the biblical and theological foundations for evangelism and missions and the various ways the church has grown and spread;
  • To communicate biblical truth through personal witness, preaching, teaching, music, and other appropriate means;
  • To lead the congregation to have a passion for sharing the Gospel of Christ;
  • To lead the congregation to have respect for persons of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and demonstrate sacrificial love for people.

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Carroll has everything you need—and more—to gain more knowledge and wisdom in Scripture and theology. You can take courses from the comfort of your own home and still have access to some of the most gifted professors in our region. They not only teach you but guide you in the direction you need to go in your ministry to fulfill God’s calling on your life.

Carroll Theological Seminary is not only a superb theological education (and it is that)—but it is also an immersion into Christian ministry. Jesus said, “As you go, become disciple-makers” (Matt. 28: 19-20). Carroll is about developing the best “disciple-makers” possible.