Guidance for Seminary

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Chasen_forever, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. Chasen_forever

    Chasen_forever New Member

    Hello all, I have been going rounds looking at seminaries and christian institutions trying to find the "right" one. However it is a mess out there in the christian education website world so I figured I'd ask all of you to see what you think.

    I am seeking an MA program with an emphasis on equipping for ministry, I feel like I am to serve in the church ministry so I really wanted to find an MA degree that would best suit this. I had thought I had found the right school and program however the distance program and the intensive schedule just seems to raise alot of conflict with full-time work, family, etc...The institution is an ATS/RA accreditted seminary and the inflexability of the DL program just seems inpractical compared to its TRACS counterparts.

    Anyhow I am trying to possibly find an alternative school that is ATS/RA or even TRACS if that would work "well enough" for what I am trying to do. I cant really do week long, two week long intensives twice a year, so I dont know if there are other schools with shorter or no intensives.

    Another thought, does it matter if the M.A. Degree is specialized? Meaning could I take an MAR and get out of it what I am looking for? It seems that there are different degrees for different tracks people are pursuing MAR transition to MDIV for educators, MA to MDIV with ministry emphasis for pastor preaching, is that the right assumption? Anyway any advice would be great! Thanks in advance!
  2. bmills072200

    bmills072200 New Member

    I have 2 possible suggestions for you which I am considering once I finish my MBA.

    The first is Liberty... - they have many options and they seem to fit your requirements as far as flexibility

    The second is Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. They do not list themselves as totally DL, but I am pretty sure that their MAR can be done totally through DL... their website is

    Liberty is RA but SES is not - they are TRACS... it depends on how important that is to you...

    Let me know what you decide...
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2009
  3. ewillmon

    ewillmon New Member

    The "right" seminary or "right" degree will depend on what your goals are for the degree. If you want to teach in a college or seminary, most likely you will want an ATS accredited degree. If you simply wish to be in church ministry, you may not need an MA at all. If you want to pursue doctoral studies, then you most likely will need an MDIV.

    I would second the vote for Liberty. Their MAR is very flexible and can be completed through distance learning, without intensives I believe. And they have many concentrations. My former pastor completed his MAR through them and was very happy with them.

    If you haven't already found the site, I would recommend Baker's Guide as a good place for information about many different programs.

    Another thing: If you are licensed or ordained, or you wish to pursue one of those, check with your church or affiliation. Different groups will have different requirements for education. Some may desire an MDIV, some may not.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2009
  4. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    Not to confuse things too much, but don't assume your MAR degree will transition directly into an MDIV unless the school specifically says it will. Ex, my MTS degree (same as or very similar to a 2-year Master of Arts in Religious Studies) does not transition directly into a MDIV at my school (ATS-accredited). According to them, ATS accreditation rules are that even tho a MDIV is a 3-year degree, and MTS is 2 years, I'd need to do another 2 years to earn my MDIV now. :(

    Anywho. I agree with the above posters ... if all you want to do is serve in church ministry, you don't need a masters. If you want to be a pastor (or youth pastor, etc) most churches who require a master's degree want you to have an MDIV. You'd have to ask your denomination what they'd consider to be acceptable.

    If a TRACS degree is considered acceptable, Luther Rice University offers some inexpensive degrees including an MDIV:
    However they lack RA/ATS accreditation ... and their MDIV requires no languages, which most MDIV degrees do (certainly ATS ones do).

    The best question to ask is ... exactly what do you want to do with it? :D
  5. Chasen_forever

    Chasen_forever New Member

    Why I want to go to Seminary

    Okay so here is my reason for seminary and what I plan on doing with it.

    Three years ago by the grace of God I was saved in prison when I was doing a boot camp style rehab program for four DUI's I had been convicted of in a ten year span. After being released from prison and rejoicing in the new life I had been given by Christ I continued my work in electrical design (my B.A. is in Electronics Engineering). About six months later I felt it in my heart to pursue a deeper knowledge and understanding of the word through seminary. I met with my pastors and they too confirmed my feelings and pointed me in the right direction. However I got discouraged after looking at the millions of options and decided to let it just sit and see what happened. About four months later I was approached by a local Pastor who told me he was starting small seminary classes at his church. So I attended and I loved it, however there always seemed to be a tension because of me not attending the seminary's church I felt it was time to leave. So here I am, I have a deep passion for the word and preaching and teaching the sets me on fire.

    So not only do I want to further equip myself to preach and teach, I would also like to serve as a Pastor or lay pastor and work with the people. Since my degree is completely secular and this is kind of a life change I felt seminary would be the right direction. So that is me in a nut shell lol!
  6. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    You might want to see if you can get your hands on a copy of Walston's Guide to Christian Distance Learning.
  7. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Four additional:

    Virginia University of Lynchburg (Distance /Online option) TRACS accredited

    Fuller Theological Seminary (Online option) Master of Global Leadership (ATS /WASC accreditation)

    Ambridge UniversityTurner School of Theology (ATS / SACS accreditation)

    Not fully online – Southwestern Christian University (HLC-NCA accreditation). All courses are offered on a modular basis. A module consists of three parts:
    1) Pre-class Assignments
    Readings and other assignments are fulfilled before the classroom lectures begin.
    2) Classroom Lectures
    A week of classroom lectures is held on the campus of Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Oklahoma; Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia and at Beulah Heights Bible College in Atlanta, Georgia.
    3) Post-class Assignments
    Final reports, papers and projects are completed after the week of classroom lectures.
  8. Chasen_forever

    Chasen_forever New Member

    This is great, I really appreciate the comments and advice. I have been seeking very rigourously and have a list of schools that I believe are great prospects but it seems there are pros and cons to each. A couple of which have already been suggested, here is the schools:

    Western Seminary: Already Accepted, Good school with good ministry program, ATS/RA, Tuition = low-average, con - Because of the ATS accred distance learning consists of weekly intensives

    Southern Evangelical Seminary - Good School, fully DL, Tuition = low, TRACS Accred/seeking RA?, Evangelical non denom, con - Apologist based programs

    Hope International University - DL Ministry program, RA/ABHE, tuition = low-average, non-denom, con - no in house MDIV if I decided to go that option, Not sure how credits will transfer, Rigourous?not rigourous?, Too liberal?

    Liberty University - Good DL program w/ many ministry degrees, fully DL, MDIV options, tuition = lowish, RA, con - Baptist roots, Not sure how well they are viewed.

    Reformed Theological Seminary - Good School, MAR fully on-line besides 6 in seat hours, tuition = low-average, ATS/RA, con - reformed theology - Not sure where I stand and dont want to be forced,

    Faith Evangelical Seminary, Tacoma, WA - Full DL except languages, many degree options including ministry and counseling, TRACS, tuition = low, cons - Dont really no much about the program, rigorous?not rigorous?, Lutheran roots

    I wish that I could say that accreditation isnt an issue but in my eyes it seems impractical to work for a degree that has less upside. That being said I serve in a non-denom church and really love the non-denom style, I imagine that is where I would feel most comfortable. Hence the listing of denom in the pros/cons of schools, I have nothing against any of the denoms and believe we are all part of the same church working together and from what I can tell it seems that "most" seminaries take this approach also.

    So that is what I am looking at, I appreciate any input and advice from the board on the schools on the list or maybe to add to the list.

    For a background note: I was saved three years ago, my current BA is in Electronics Engineering, I am seeking seminary to because I love learning and studying the word and feel the desire to be equipped to serve and work in the church teaching and preaching. I am currently leading the college age group at the church and I find it the most fulfilling joy bringing experience I have ever been a part of. It is a blessing to see the transformation in ones life by faith in Christ.
  9. glenshell

    glenshell New Member

    Reformed Theological Seminary - Good School, MAR fully on-line besides 6 in seat hours, tuition = low-average, ATS/RA, con - reformed

    I have been looking at this school as well as it fits well into my schedule. What are you concerns with the fundamental teachings?
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Veritas Seminary is a great new school that is associated with Calvary Chapel and Calvary Bible College. It was recently started by a friend of mine, Brian Broderson and by Dr. Norman Geisler, a very gifted Christian mind. Brian said they will be offering a DL master's in bible soon. Because I know these guys are tops in the field and awesome brothers, I know this would be a great place to go.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2010
  11. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    Just a note re Veritas, it seems like you'd receive a decent education there, they have some great faculty on staff (although most are part-time) ... however it is not yet accredited:
    It seems they have (or will soon) apply for accreditation through TRACS. Nothing wrong with that, but if you can go to a RA and/or ATS accredited institution, that would be best to keep your options open for the future (ie, it would have the most practical utility).
  12. ewillmon

    ewillmon New Member

    For the price ($600 per course), there are many other accredited options available. Too many to really consider this school, no offense intended.

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