One thing I’ve been considering constantly: How do I approach my church involvement during my time in seminary?
There are several different approaches:
1.) Settle at one church.
Find a church large enough to have a good breadth of ministries. This would give me opportunities to really learn from different facets of ministry, different age groups, and different approaches, all under one overarching structure. It would give me consistency in terms of mentorship, and it would help me delve deep into a church’s polity and ministry philosophy. This would also give me a solid community and meaningful friendships to be a part of, that I could really invest my time in.
2.) Intern at and Observe several churches.
Strategically map out differing churches with different sizes, denominations, and structures. Spend some time interning and learning from differing models to decipher strengths and weaknesses to help determine how to shape my own future ministry. This would give me the experience to know what approaches are fruitful. What makes a church dynamic? What makes it grow? What are characteristics of a thriving church?
3.) A blend of the two approaches.
Dr. Hoover Wong suggested to me this approach: spend one year each at three or four different churches and really invest significant time in learning and observing each model. “Please don’t feel like you have to be faithful to one church. You have a lifetime to be faithful to one church. This is your training time. Be faithful to God’s training. That’s your purpose for this time in your life.”