Here’s an idea for the fast food giants to compete over – holiday dinners! Imagine pulling up to a McDonald’s drive-through window on Thanksgiving Day to order their McTurkey, with a side of stuffing and corn. This would, of course, need to come as an adult-sized Happy Meal, perhaps with an inflatable football as the prize for your family to toss around after the festive meal. On Christmas day, you could find yourself ordering a ham and mashed potatoes sandwich served on a giant dinner roll with some cranberry-flavored dipping sauce.
With all deference to the ease and availability of the many tasty options provided by fast food restaurants, nobody wants this for family get-togethers around the holidays. The reasons are varied and obvious. Not everything done fast is beneficial or best. The traditional picture we have in our minds of a holiday meal includes a meal that has taken hours to prepare. We couldn’t do this every day, but there are occasions when taking your time to do something right is better.
This has traditionally been the view when it comes to getting a college or seminary degree. Especially for those called to a life of ministry, preparing to do God’s work is not something to be rushed. After all, does anyone want to think that their pastor received a fast theology degree? That makes it sound as if they received their education by ordering it through a drive-through window. What happened to the traditional picture of pastors studying for years and learning Greek and Hebrew before entering a life of ministry?
Herein lies the double-edged sword. We do, after all, want to ensure that ministers have been thoroughly equipped and prepared for a life of service and thoughtful teaching. On the other hand, men and women called to vocational ministry are eager to answer God’s call now. (Wouldn’t you want to rush to answer the phone if you knew God was on the other end?) Coupled with the fact that ministers know they are not getting rich (quickly or at all), it makes sense that students would want to save money with a fast theology degree.
So what would such a program need to include in order to ensure that ministers are “prepared in season and out of season,” able to “correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2)?
Seminary education should be thorough.
Receiving a fast theology degree may save you time, but the instruction should still be thorough. In other words, no one should ever be able to accuse you of skipping the day they taught theology at theology school. Courses offered in timespans of eight weeks ensure you are thoroughly immersed in topics such as biblical language proficiency, historical contexts, philosophy of ministry, and defining doctrines.
Much like pastors will often encourage their congregation, seminary education is about what you put into it. The design of the eight-week courses at Grace Theological Seminary (GTS) are such that you, your classmates, and your professors will be thinking continuously about each topic until it feels like second nature. The reading, the discussions, and the coursework will feel laser-focused as you begin to lay a framework for your future ministry.
Seminary education should be practiced.
Much can be taught in a classroom. But as every great leader knows, the sooner a student can apply what they have been learning, the quicker that learning will be cemented. Having the opportunity to watch ministry modeled, and then taking a turn to implement what you are learning brings book knowledge to life. This is akin to learning how to walk before you run.
Seminary students at GTS get to engage in internships at local churches and ministries, offering them real-world experiences. Being able to apply what one learns that same week is a distinct advantage, helping students gain confidence even before they graduate. This also expands the number of people from whom you are learning about ministry strategy and practice.
Seminary education should be accomplished in community.
There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” By design, GTS has made a fast theology degree something where you can achieve speed and distance at the same time. We do this by having professors who serve as mentors and guides along your educational journey. Because they are still active in their community and area churches, their knowledge is not based on how churches used to be. It’s grounded in church experience of today.
By participating in ministry while you earn your degree, you combine the learning experience with real-world ministry experiences, thus cementing the knowledge attained. Because of this, you will begin your first church assignment with a history of experience ready to be applied, instead of just experimenting to see what might work.
Seminary education should be focused.
Senior pastors, youth pastors, worship pastors, executive pastors, and missionaries are various areas needing ministry leadership. So why would anyone be interested in a one-size-fits-all seminary program? At GTS the variety of programs is matched by the diversity of delivery methods. In other words, your program will be as unique as you and your calling!
From the very beginning, you will experience a laser-focused mission from every professor at Grace. Since our inception, we have been focused on knowing Christ and making Him known. That mission statement extends to every pastor and ministry leader we train, ensuring that their churches and ministries share the same biblical focus.
Is this why Grace offers fast theology degrees?
In a word, yes. Prioritizing the needs of students is very important. But so is assuring that the men and women who graduate from Grace Theological Seminary have a solid education, prepared to “correctly [handle] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
At Grace Seminary, you can receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four or five years, saving you time and money. If you’re hearing God call you into the ministry life, take the first step by discovering how you can fast track your degree at Grace.