Having finished my D.Min. at Fuller, I now can say with pride that I have been a small part in the world’s most influential seminary. I loved my experience there, and I love that I continue to live within close enough proximity to the campus that I can continue to take part in the offerings of Fuller Theological Seminary. I earned my M.Div. elsewhere, and admittedly do not know the course offerings for the Fuller M.Div. students, so this is not a review of Fuller’s programs.
But, now 12 years out of the M.Div. program, having served in 5 churches (before and after seminary), I do have enough experience in ministry to know where my original seminary education could have been better. The disconnect between what I learned and what I needed is pretty wide. Every book I read on church leadership by seasoned veterans of ministry only heightens my awareness of the fact that seminary wasn’t desperate to prepare me for ministry.
So in retrospect, here are the ten classes they should have offered in seminary:
1. Personnel Management
2. Vision Casting and Strategic Planning
3. Non-profit Financial Management
4. Change Management
5. Reviving a Stalled Church (most pastors are going to end up doing just that)
6. The Pastoral Role and Congregational Expectations (how to define yourself and set boundaries)
7. The Dynamics of the Associate Pastoral Role
8. Marketing (because most pastors just assume it works by magic)
9. The Intersection of Christ and Culture
10. When to Go (on how to gracefully leave a church, since most pastors do it more than once)
My seminary never got anywhere near any of these topics for reasons I still can’t fathom. To dodge them because they are too secular is no better than telling students they should just pray and read their Bibles instead of going to seminary.