Why Bible College?
Written by: Rich Janes
“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.” (John Keats)
In part one I addressed two foundational purposes (biblical and transformational) for pursuing a Bible College education. This post continues the conversation by examining the next two reasons for why someone – who feels called by God to Kingdom work – would be well served by studying at Master’s College and Seminary.
Experiential education is fully integrated into a student’s program of study at Master’s. Contrary to popular belief, experience is not the best teacher, but rather, assessed experience is the best teacher. Evidence suggests that student services and ministry experiences are most fully leveraged for learning and growing when there is an intentional and well-designed opportunity to evaluate and reflect on these experiences under the guidance of seasoned educators and practitioners. Therefore, the staff and faculty are committed to ensuring that this aspect of a student’s experience does not occur in an administrative silo. Rather, faculty members embrace experiential learning as an essential aspect of each course, Chapel service, or Connections small group meeting; and it is a foundational element for each of our programs (Pastoral, Youth, Children’s or Worship and Creative Arts).
MCS students – either on campus or online – can attest to receiving this sort of direct assessment and coaching when they join our family. Our College/Seminary staff is committed to facilitating hands-on ministry, in-the-field learning, and intercultural study opportunities. These practical learning experiences help students discover and develop their own unique God-given gifts, passions, and sense of calling, which, when totaled together, encourages them to exercise the life and leadership skills required for passionate and proficient service in today’s world. This is not just about head knowledge, but instead also engages their hearts and their hands.
Master’s affirms that the Triune God is, by nature, a missionary God who calls, equips, and sends his people to participate in His mission to the world as witnesses to Christ in the power of the Spirit. For this reason, a missional education is the grid that undergirds all of the educational experiences (in and out of the classroom) at MCS. We are committed to providing a holistic learning environment that will effectively train future leaders (at the College) and current pastors (at the Seminary) for the realities they will face in equipping God’s people to be a faithful presence within today’s culture and society.
A missional theological education arises from the recognition that mission reflects God’s nature and God’s story for the world. Central to the biblical story is God’s mission to restore the whole creation and all of human life. Thus, if God’s mission through his people is a central theme of the biblical story, a missional hermeneutic is required to interpret Scripture and necessary in shaping the Church for its mission in the world. As the people of God, the Church gathers together, is reconciled and redeemed, then equipped and sent by God in the power of the Spirit into the world as witnesses of the Gospel. Therefore, the Church is, by nature, a missionary people who are called to engage their various contexts, through word and deed, as representatives of the Kingdom of God. With this in view, a missional ethos permeates the Master’s environment and serves to prepare students for ministry by inspiring them to follow after Christ into the world as a people of Christ-like character and compassion, shaped by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Another critical aspect of the Master’s community is the intentional opportunities that are given to church leaders from across our districts to be involved in the educational process through mentoring, developing competency and skills, nurturing character, and encouraging the development of spiritual growth practices. By creating an environment where we are intentionally connected to the local church, students are provided a practical, real-time, grassroots-learning laboratory, where Spirit-empowered leaders inspire them to live with a missional mindset and challenge them to engage in ministry contexts that can lead to cultural and community transformation.
So the question has been asked: Why get a Bible College education? These 2 posts provide the answer: Because we provide the relevant biblical, transformational, experiential, and missional education necessary to train future Pentecostal leaders for ministry. We serve our districts by being their strategic partner in providing leaders for the current 500+ PAOC churches east of the Manitoba border, along with training leaders for the church expressions yet to be launched in the years ahead. It is important for us to remember that MCS does not exist for itself, or as an entity of its own choosing, but rather finds its place and purpose within the overall strategic plans of our fellowship. In essence, we exist for the mission of the Church, and in turn for the Church to fulfill its mission.
We are proud to be this kind of Bible College – a College that educates and equips “reflective practitioners” or “thinking doers”. We will continue to work hard to earn your trust and your respect, and will strive to do whatever we can to serve each and every one of you to the best of our abilities.
So what are your thoughts about these two posts? Perhaps you may have some other words that you would use to describe the purpose of a Bible College education. If you’d like to engage the conversation, please feel free to leave a comment below.
“It is a huge honour to serve as the twelfth President of Master’s College and Seminary. I am guided by a clear vision to shape the next generation of Kingdom-minded leaders and driven to see people of all walks of life fulfill God’s call on their life. With a strong belief in the local church, a collegial leadership style, and a philosophy of partnership with ministry leaders from diverse contexts, I am deeply committed to seeing students become influencers who are passionate about leading cultural transformation. In this role as President, I am intent on leading an institution that is focused on educating and equipping students to be reflective practitioners, along with being leaders of the highest integrity and character.
Returning to work at my alma mater has truly been the privilege of a lifetime. I graduated from Eastern Pentecostal Bible College in 1995 with a Bachelor of Theology Honours Degree (Youth Major) and I’m now currently completing a Master’s in Ministerial Leadership at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Prior to coming to MCS, we (our family) had the privilege of being involved in youth ministry for 17 years, having served in various capacities at Liberty Pentecostal Church in Bowmanville, ON (six years) and at Woodvale Pentecostal Church in Ottawa, ON (eleven years) as Pastor of Student Ministries and Parent Networking. I joined the team at Master’s in 2009 and formerly served the school as the Director of Recruiting, Communication and FIRST YEAR Program.
One of the aspects of my role that I enjoy most is visiting churches, meeting leaders, and experiencing the many diverse ways that the Kingdom of God is advanced in eastern Canada. I would be honoured to serve you and your church leadership teams, through preaching, teaching, leadership development sessions, or personal coaching/consulting. If you’re interested in having me (and possibly a MCS Student Ministry Team) visit your church, please check-out our www.mcsprodigy.com page for more information.”