Guest / Limited Access /

Megachurches have become one-stop centers, with food courts, sports leagues, and automotive repair shops alongside concert-caliber praise bands and strong preachers.

Next up: seminaries.

Mars Hill Church, the Seattle megachurch of high-profile pastor Mark Driscoll, will launch the Resurgence Training Center this fall. Dubbed "Re:Train," the degree-granting graduate program is part of a strategy for preparing leaders to plant 1,000 churches.

At the same time, popular pastor John Piper's Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis—which has had a pastor-training institute for 11 years—will start offering master's degrees as Bethlehem College and Seminary.

In an era when nondenominational churches are popular, such seminaries suggest that megachurches have become "mini-denominations," said Bill Leonard, dean and church history professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They have their own literature, Internet technology, church-planting ministries, and K-12 Christian schools, Leonard said.

"Many have nurtured a significant number of individuals toward ministry and want them trained on-site," he said. "Some see this as a 'full-service' church that addresses every aspect of Christian service and training."

Many aspiring pastors are willing to forgo the prestige of attending an established seminary to obtain "the specific theological focus that most church-based seminaries offer," said Tim Tomlinson, president of Bethlehem College and Seminary.

"The church-based theological seminaries like ours are more intent on offering a theological and philosophical worldview that is consistent with the teachings and writings of the well-known pastor-theologian with whom the seminary is affiliated," ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Sex, Lies, and Abortion
It's time to get to the bottom of the great national tragedy.
RecommendedHow Perry Noble's Alcohol Firing by NewSpring Compares to Other Churches
How Perry Noble's Alcohol Firing by NewSpring Compares to Other Churches
Stats suggest a substantial number of pastors struggle with addiction, but are split on what to do about it.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickIs There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
Is There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
When language is a tool for coercion, nobody wins.
Christianity Today
Seminary Plants
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.