Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
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Earlier this month I was in Chicago and met with a representative from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, an institution of the United Methodist Church, two coordinators for executive non-profit education from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, at the invitation of my long-time friend and colleague, Rev. Sarah Sarchet Butter. (Full disclosure: both Sarah and I have MBA’s from Kellogg.)
Sarah has been a strong advocate of expanding leadership training beyond seminaries through the non-profit management departments of business schools for years. She is now working on her Doctor of Ministry through Garrett, and the topic of her thesis is “Two are Better Than One: Seminary-Business Partnerships as an Untapped Resource for Clergy Leadership Education.” She also currently serves on the Kellogg faith-based custom programs advisory board.
Garrett and Kellogg have a very intriguing relationship, where students who graduate from Garrett’s MDiv program are automatically enrolled in a program called, “MDiv Plus.” For the next three years, Kellogg’s non-profit professors teach continuing education seminars for the recent graduates on a periodic basis. These seminars are customized for leadership in the church.
I am fascinated by this approach because it answers a critical need for developing transformational leaders among teaching elders within the PCUSA. Our PCUSA seminaries have largely done a fantastic job of delivering a classical theological education to their students, helping them Bible, explore systematic and practical theology, and church history. Teaching elders need this training; it is absolutely necessary to serving as an effective pastor.
This classical training is necessary, but not sufficient. Teaching elders these days also need to be change agents, entrepreneurs, visionary leaders, negotiators, conflict de-escalators, community spokespeople, etc., etc., etc. By and large, seminaries have not traditionally had the capacity to teach these skills, although virtually all PCUSA seminaries are working hard to expand beyond the classical theological education in a variety of ways.
Garrett’s approach is quite different from what PCUSA seminaries are exploring. Instead of working to expand their own capacities in leadership development, Garrett is basically outsourcing these efforts to the non-profit department of the business school a block down the road…a business school whose faculty are at the top of their field. It seems to me that Garrett is recognizing that a relationship with Kellogg is a much better option to help its students develop the skills they need, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel with an in-house program which could probably not be as effective.
It is worth considering whether and how a similar program could be developed between PCUSA seminaries and the non-profit arms of other business schools. It could be a step-change in the way we prepare our pastors for the church of the 21st century.