Any advice to someone facing their first semester of seminary (MATS program, after 20 years out of the academic environment)?
(this person wants to teach).
my biggest advice is pray hard about getting the MDiv, it’ll pay more ministerial and academic dividends in the end…
just go in with a open heart to learn
(he’s also getting differing views on as to do the MDiv or the MA)
okay, I side with those who say go for the full MDiv but I guess if you want to to the MA-PhD track right there at …. then that could work. The MDiv will give you broader general ministerial skills and abilities that you can always use in ministry (even teaching) and could broaden your qualifications for what you can teach (and get you probably right into ordination, depending on your district, I was able to go right to licensing with my MDiv).
Also, I personally advocate doing the Bible language classes (at least one year GK; one year HB and one exegetical methods course for each as a minimum) which will also make you a better teacher – but that can be hard to do in the 2 year MA unless you make yourself a biblical languages major. You may also think you don’t need preaching courses. You’d be wrong. Everyone needs to take preaching classes…
So my advice is take Greek and Hebrew!! (and then Inductive studies in the Greek and Dr …..’s advanced Hebrew classes). I know some wince at this but it is absolutely essential to being a solid bible teacher and as hard as it may seem, too many get their MDiv or MA and take the minimum in the languages or only one and not the other and no exegetical methods courses and it shows…
Also in the advanced classes you get good training in exegetical method which will also ground you in general biblical studies issues – so lots of birds with one stone.
I say all this because you get one chance at this bro. one chance. Once you are done that’ll be it. No time to study Greek or Hebrew and so on. Now is the chance. Some things are always changing such as leadership and approaches to ministry so you can always read a book or go to a seminar but there are also some things that don’t change, like the Bible and the biblical languages – get grounded in those… now, while you can.
hope that helps.
addendum to my reply
I understand that theological method is important as well and forming a theology is important to learn how to do and so seminary can be the best place to do that – additionally the same is true with historical method and studies and it can be hard to get Bible languges, Theology and History all in the MA…