Every Thursday morning at 6AM, I attend Sojourn Church’s Pastor’s School.
It has been some of the best theological training I have received. And the beauty of Pastor’s School is that I’m being trained and affirmed by my pastors while I’m in the trenches of ministry.
My pastor, Daniel Montgomery, was featured in a Leadership Network article discussing how Pastor’s School was birthed from the belief that the local church is responsible for raising up the next generation of pastors.
Here is an excerpt of the article:
In 2011, the church launched a one-year “Pastor’s School” as part of a residency where potential church planters attend intensive classes and serve as ministry leaders. Pastor’s School meets weekly, and the primary teacher is always a Sojourn pastor. The other training components focus on service in the local church. Each student must volunteer at least 5 hours a week in church ministry. The program will soon become a fully accredited, church-based theological education. Until then, Sojourn has negotiated with nearby Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY for 30 hours of Master of Divinity credits to be completed while serving in the church.
Sojourn is applying its model to church planters coming out of its Sojourn Network, and partnering with Southern Seminary to place church planting students in cities where they are called and that are a strong fit for them and their teams—many of which have also been equipped with a theological foundation at Sojourn.
“We want to plug it into a local church,” Daniel says “We made a shift from a teaching model to a training model to a competency model to a placement model. It changes the scorecard—we accept those we can place. It will be the first theological institution that invests up to 3 years in someone and then also places them.”
Sojourn is one example of churches that are hearkening back to the days of early American congregations, where theological education and ministry training were centered in the local church, and seminaries were created to fill in the gaps that churches couldn’t. Now, after decades of denominations taking center stage for developing doctrine and practice, we see an in increasing number of churches that are taking back the responsibility for laying a theological foundation.
What Sojourn is doing represents a rising, innovative trend that takes theological training to the church.