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
RecommendedNine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
Nine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
(UPDATED) Mars Hill responds Friday to leaked letter, says 'our team is Jesus, not one group of elders or another.'
TrendingJames MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders
James MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders
Megachurch pastor confesses board slandered three elders as 'false messengers' last year.
Editor's PickA Sobering Mercy
A Sobering Mercy
The second time I surrendered to Christ, I was on a dirt road with no memory of how I had arrived there.
Comments
Christianity Today
Seminary Plants
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2009

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