Seminary 2050: Videos for pilgrim leaders

February 21, 2006

By 2050 the training of ministers will have shifted to where the students are located. Teachers will travel a third of their time. This will be cheaper and more effective than transplanting students. Cheap travel will allow courses to be set in a relevant historical location—Reformation history taught in partnership with a Germany-based tour company, the book of Ephesians taught in Ephesus.

The rise of urban monasteries and abbeys will add a much-needed residential element to education. Ministerial training will be reconnected to gardening, hospitality, cooking and entrepreneurship. Associations of monasteries and seminaries will form “trails” open to student-pilgrims.

Educational videos will provide playful, interactive learning experiences. The need for relevant ministry scenarios will be met by input from new students and lifelong learners who continually update the programs.

Christian festivals will be a site for teaching. They will offer accredited three-day intensive courses as part of the festival program.

Teachers will be viewed as mentors rather than curators of knowledge. Students will publish results of their learning, and thousands of people will learn vicariously through the students’ discoveries.

Since most new churches will be clusters of tiny cells connected by hubs, only a small percentage of students will move into full-time paid positions. Leadership will be shared by all and therefore leadership training will be required by all. Because most of these new churches will meet in homes, many training classrooms will resemble enlarged kitchens or living rooms.

The modular nature of seminary training will allow cross-disciplinary interaction on all levels. The secular-sacred divide will be almost invisible. University students pursuing nonreligious careers will take religion courses in order to achieve a more holistic education. Seminaries will be evangelistic, teaching the basics of the gospel in ways more easily understood to those with Muslim and Hindu backgrounds. Unfortunately, the cuisine at seminaries will still be mundane.