Around the country one finds a vast variety of new forms of education and training for faith-based ministry. Some are highly specific to local contexts, and some are generalizable; some represent complete independent programs, and some are steps toward an accredited seminary degree.
We believe that these diverse training/teaching organizations need some acknowledgment of the quality of what they are offering, and graduates need some certification so that their gifts for ministry can be recognized by the communities searching for leadership. They also need their degree to be more portable, since they often find themselves in regions where their school is unknown.
Representatives from our four Working Groups on Alternative Credentialing met earlier this month in Claremont, CA, in order to present research results on the needs of present and future leaders, pedagogy and curriculum, financial models, and credentialing models. Together, the working groups began to draft a prototype credentialing system for programs being offered outside of traditional institutions. In the coming months we will conduct a listening survey in order to hear more about the needs of the various communities that this prototype seeks to serve. We will seek critiques and constructive suggestions in order to improve upon our working model.
At the May Summit, we will be able to share the latest version of the prototype. It will be crucial to receive your feedback in person at that time.
We hope you will join us at the Summit to learn more about this prototype and help us enact a bright future for theological education.