Would like to be a pastor/chaplain!

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by james251, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. james251

    james251 New Member

    Hi guys, new here and seeking advice!

    1) I would like to be a pastor/chaplain and am seeking an accredited, affordable, Christian college. What would you guys recommend? I read 6 hours a day, works by believers of all denominations, non-believers, and other faiths and religions (important to see from all sides, I think) so the quality of the school's education doesn't really concern me that much :knockedout:

    1a) I've been thinking of Liberty University but only possess a handful of credit from the city college (so no associate's). Would I be able to enroll for a bachelor's?

    2) Once I enroll, I know that I should apply for FAFSA and whatever scholarships are available to me but how and where would one begin to apply for a student loan?

    Thanks guys, much love!
  2. brianlegg

    brianlegg New Member

    I would recommend starting your search by speaking with your local pastor and see what he recommends. Your denominational preference will probably play a big role in deciding your school.

    As far as the student loans, I know some denominations provide assistance which makes the cost more affordable.

    Hope this helps.
  3. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2014
  4. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Hi, guys!

    I would like to be a neurosurgeon. I flunked high school biology and anatomy and dropped out of my auto mechanic course at Penn Foster, but think I have what it takes to perform complicated brain surgery.

    Does anyone know of a medical school that will accept me without an undergraduate degree? I think that if they see how well I can juggle up to four scapels at one time, they'd accept me in a second. And oh, yeah, it has to be cheap. The cheapest that exists on this planet.

    I'd also like to practice my neurosurgical skills in the meantime. If anyone has a brain tumor and would like me to take it out, just contact me for an appointment.

    Um, love and kisses.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    "Hi Guys! I would like to be a neurosurgeon ... love & kisses" - Steve Levicoff

    "****ing brilliant!" - Charlie Sheen :smile:

  6. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    What denomination or religious body do you hope to be ordained in? The answer to that question should do a lot to inform with your choice of academic program for preparation for the ministry.
  7. james251

    james251 New Member

    RAM, that is a very fair point, just most reviews I've read of a college's online department happen to mention the mediocre quality of its presented material. Compared to what, I'm not sure. Guess I'll just take the plunge and find out for myself.

    Hey now, I aced both biology and anatomy :veryhappy: Was a paramedic for a while. Practically bottom of the rung of the medical field but still.

    Probably evangelical, since I doubt there are many partial preterist churches out there.
  8. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The undergraduate degree normally doesn't lead to ordination, but the masters degree (M.Div) does.

    How about APUS for an undergraduate degree in religion:
    APU Degree Program: Bachelor of Arts in Religion

    Later, you could get an M.Div (ordination) at the denominational seminary of your choice.
  9. trustbuddy

    trustbuddy New Member

    To be a pastor, most churches/denominations are going to look for the M.Div or an equivalent degree. There are some denominations that will look at your "calling" more than your degree.

    To be a chaplain (military, hospital, hospice, prison- any professional chaplaincy), you WILL definitely need a M.Div or an equivalent degree to even get your foot in the door. Even with a M.Div, you will most likely need 2 or more (4 preferred) CPE units as well.
  10. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2014
  11. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    This is definitely true. The MDiv or equivalent is absolutely essential. Generally the standard is 72 hours and a theological degree (which, most of the time is an MDiv, but some who hold MARs, MACEs, etc. can take leveling courses). Chaplaincy is its own animal. A church might be willing to ordain as an archbishop someone that a hospital wouldn't even consider for an entry-level chaplaincy position.

    Do you know what kind of chaplaincy you would be interested in pursuing?
  12. austinator

    austinator New Member

    Take a look at Freed-Hardeman. They offer a MA in New Testament, a MMin, and a Mdiv (with several different emphasis options available) entirely online. They are currently associate members of ATS and will hopefully be ATS accredited in the next few years. You can email their graduate office at grad [email protected]
  13. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    I would think that Liberty would accept you into their bachelor's program. All of your questions could easily be answered with one call to Liberty U admissions. Why try to get opinions from members here when you can get the info straight from the source? I know you would need at least a master's degree to be ordained.
  14. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    I have decided to descend from the mountaintop for one of my periodic pontifications since this thread is to the point where a reality check might be appropriate. This post, of course, is divinely inspired, albeit not inerrant. I originally wrote it in Koine Greek, but in a spirit of making it understandable to heathens, have translated it to English so they would understand it. So here goes…

    First, a master’s degree is not universally required for ordination – there are many churches (yes, legitimate ones at that) which will ordain you with only a bachelor’s degree, or with no degree at all. But if you want one of the more well-known, well-established denominations, yes – you need at least an M.Div. degree.

    Now, let’s look at the words of the O.P. (james251):

    Not good enough. Notwithstanding that you didn’t indicate a preference for partial preterism or full preterism, are you premillenial, postmillennial, amillenial, antimillenial, or unclemillenial? Seriously, many churches have doctrinal issues so far up the proverbial wazoo that only one thing matters: Are you one of them, or are you a Gentile heathen (that’s the only other choice you’ve got).

    As for not being concerned about the quality of a school’s education, guess what… They (professors at legit schools) know more than you do. And they always will, unless and until you work your butt off to gain as many credentials as some of their professors.

    Look, ya wanna be ordained? Is that all there is? Go for the Universal Life Church. It’s not credible at all, but it’s free, legal, and while you will have no credibility whatsoever in terms of legitimate ministry and (although it will bounce back to bite you on the ass), you are not currently in a position to plan a ministerial career for the long haul unless you’re willing to rip off the unsuspecting idiots out there who know less than you do.

    As for the comments of some others…

    Absolutely correct. If you don’t know what CPE is, it’s waaaaaaay too early for you to even consider being a chaplain.

    Now here’s your homework: Do a search on “clinical pastoral education” and learn about it.

    Bad move. Notwithstanding that American Public University is a secular school. It’s a for-profit school. And, as everyone who knows me is already aware, I consider “online universities” and for-profit colleges to be the spawn of Satan.

    Good move. Jason Baker is one of the good guys out there, and his recommendations are very credible.

    No one can guess whether an “associate member” of any accrediting agency will be fully accredited. Ever. This statement is not only meaningless, it is amateur. And it’s far too early for you to consider a master’s degree program. That’s something you should consider over time when you are well into your bachelor’s degree studies.

    Moreover (I’ve said this for years), an M.Div. leads to a credential in a helping profession. I would no more want a pastor with a totally distance M.Div. degree than I would want a physician who earned his or her M.D. online.

    Good idea, but keep in mind that Liberty will try to hard-sell you on their program. The job of an admissions rep is solely to get your warm body into their program. Having said that, Liberty is a very credible school, and you can get into it regardless of your doctrine. (On the other hand, they did can a few residential students some years back for preaching Unity theology. Denying the Trinity, and all that…)

    Now, my evangelical bro, here’s a sound piece of advice. I say this by suggestion, yea, not of command… Keep in mind the ultimate evangelical fallacy. You’re a heathen today, born again tomorrow, and the next day you’re claiming to be a theologian. Right now you’ve got zeal without knowledge, despite your wide range of readings (and there are some schools to which I would not confess the diversity of your readings). Before you take anyone’s suggestions as gospel (including mine), re-read 1 Thess. 5:21 and act accordingly.
  15. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Was it a fast drop or a graceful glide? lol

    Very true.

    Are you seriously against "online universities" and are you a graduate of an online university?

    This is an off-the-wall question, but... has the Lord ever spoken to you?
  16. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Neither. My truck is equipped with a Jake brake. :drive:

    Yes and no, in that order.

    Seriously, I was lucky enough to go through my higher education during the days of the “university without walls.” It was probably the most creative time in what we now call distance education and took in the best of all worlds. I went through low residency programs (as opposed to no residency programs) in which there was actually a sense of community in the learning process.

    I find online education to be rote and canned with little room for that kind of creativity, flexibility, etc. Yes, it has convenience, but is a dumbed-down form of higher education IMO.

    I have no online degrees, but have taken a few online courses that have ranged from excellent to pure crap. As a modality fully leading to a degree, however, I view it as pure crap.

    We both know that’s a loaded question. Suffice to say that I have taught in graduate-level master’s programs at both a conservative RA/ATS-accredited seminary and an RA/ABHE-accredited Bible college. It would be reasonable to assume that if I met both their quality standards and their doctrinal standards… As the old expression goes, “By their fruits you shall know them.” (I’ll try to resist a fruit joke.) :tongue:
  17. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    By no means would I attempt to ensnare you with a "ah ha! Gotcha!" moment. The question was exploratory to try and ascertain if your knowledge is purely academically-based or if it is also experientially-based. For example, Saul's experience was academically-based and he was well-versed in all of his religions customs. He knew how to walk the walk and talk the talk, but based upon his intellectual understanding of the Lord, he persecuted the followers of Jesus, until he had experiential contact with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus when he was knocked to the ground. Similarly, doubting Thomas had a working relationship with Jesus and he saw all of his miracles, yet he doubted that Jesus was risen from the dead until he too had experiential contact with the Lord Jesus -- and you know the story from there. I speculate that your intellectual knowledge is purely academically-based and not experientially-based with personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ (feel free to correct me if I am wrong). Indeed, you are extraordinarily intelligent, and that is abundantly clear. Both you and I know that very well. But that's not enough to enter the kingdom of heaven because then we are relying on our own intellect to pave the way; instead, we must surrender all to Jesus because he did all the work for us, to include forgiving us. "For with the heart man believeth unto salvation..."

    Bless you richly with his grace.

    I'm trying to lift weights while typing this, so please pardon all the errors.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2014
  18. Jason9934

    Jason9934 Member

    In an effort to stay on task with the original inquiry I have some advice. Whatever you would like to accomplish start with that and work backwards. If you want to be a chaplain look at the end requirements and then develop a plan to get there. For instance if it requires an ATS accredited Mdiv make a list of the schools you would like to attend and then figure out what the requirements are necessary to matriculate into your desired program. You may find that a clear option presents itself. Some Mdiv programs only require a BA while others require x-amount of undergrad credits in Bible/Theology. If you want to be a pastor you do not necessarily need an Mdiv. My denomination (Nazarene) only requires 24 classes for ordination. These classes can be taken for 100$ or so per course; they happen to be worth 1 college credit per class. I worked as a bi-vocational minister for seven years, only recently getting a degree. Once my youth group went from 4 to fifty partitioners stopped asking about my credentials, and focused more on how to retain me on staff. My suggestion is to find a workable degree completion plan that fits your budget while seeking out real world experience. There are many churches out there without any money, but are willing to plug in you into an area of service. Best of luck!
  19. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Wow, do you mean you partitioned your youth group of fifty into fifty different partitioned areas?
  20. Jason9934

    Jason9934 Member

    Ha! Funny Ram Phd. Stupid auto correct on my Iphone. We did go from 4 kids to averaging over 50 per week for youth-group. On Two separate occasions this ministry was featured at our district assembly. Every year the Church of the Nazarene in NW Indiana features only two ministries; one foreign and one local.bi actually did build a few partitions along the way :)

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