Advanced Moves in Practical Training

It is heartening to witness the strong prac­tical emphasis that is being placed upon our ministerial training.

By GEORGE E. VANDEMAN, Associate Secretary of the Ministerial Association

It is heartening to witness the strong prac­tical emphasis that is being placed upon our ministerial training. Many have felt that one of the most serious oversights in our the­ological educational program has been that our young men have been trained for the pulpit and for study, but in many cases only secondary at­tention has been given to the demands of the practical needs in the field, such as evangelism, pastoral work, church organization, counseling, et cetera. Although we should not relax our efforts to inspire the best possible presentation of our message, yet there is a vast area of prac­tical ministry which lies outside the pulpit.

The Bible teaching in our colleges has cer­tainly been sound. Our faithful Bible department teachers have been guardians of the truth we hold dear. The greatest revivals that Chris­tianity has ever known have been sponsored by men whose scholarship was beyond question. Recently, however, there has been growing a deep conviction that there ought to be a rethink­ing of the plans for orientating a ministerial student into many of the actual practical needs of the field.

We are happy to hear of aggres.§ive plans on the part of young men during their training, as they hold student efforts, and are gratified to see the results. Several of the colleges have courageously entered the field of serious radio broadcasting, and others are carrying a strong Bible study work from which there is a steady stream of converts. Still others are launching out in unique plans which we feel will be re­warding. It was felt that a summary of these unusually helpful activities from the various North American colleges might prove an en­couragement and inspiration to our fellowship of schools and ministerial students, as well as to the brethren in the field who have long been praying for increased emphasis along these lines.

Take Southern Missionary College for ex­ample. The faculty recently voted to support E. C. Banks, evangelism instructor, in a summer field school of evangelism in the city of Ashe­ville, North Carolina. As plans now stand, from ten to fifteen upper division theology students will join Elder Banks in this effort, and will receive nine hours college credit. H. A. Miller will be in charge of the music, and &ring a portion of the day will teach a class in evange­listic and church music. Wayne McFarland, M.D., will join the group for a few weeks, giv­ing health lectures at night and conducting an accredited class in health evangelism for the students in the mornings.

Along with the demonstration of an effort in progress, in which the students will participate, Elder Banks will teach a four-hour class in public evangelism. Careful supervision of the students is being planned in their work in the homes of the people and in their participation in the meetings. In other words, the entire pro­gram will be an extension course by Southern Missionary College, right on the spot of opera­tion. Success is assured these brethren, for we believe such a plan is as nearly ideal as could be desired. MINISTRY readers will be anxious to learn the progress and outcome of this new de­parture in practical field training for our theological students.

Union College is offering a program of prac­tical training, emphasizing pastoral evangelistic plans. The conference committee voted that Leslie FIardinge become pastor of the downtown Lincoln church, a church of about two hundred members. In connection with his heavy class program in practical theology Elder Hardinge utilizes the young men in an active way in the church work and visitation program of this city congregation.

At South Lancaster, Massachusetts, Taylor G. Bunch is now acting as pastor of the college church, and the college has taken full advantage of the opportunity, for Elder Bunch is making available his rich experience in years of pas­toral, evangelistic, and administrative work to a class which he is teaching in addition to his heavy pastoral program. Mrs. Bunch is also active in teaching a class outside the college curriculum, for the wives of ministerial stu­dents. The plan is to admit only the wives of upper classmen theology students. Very simply, the outline of the course follows the work of the home, including the province of the wife in ministerial relationships, influence, standards, and budgetmaking. A section is given to the social and the public life of the minister's wife, and also one to a home-nursing course.

Turning to our junior colleges. R. H. Libby, of Southwestern Junior College, believes that the junior theology preparation should be largely personal. Building on H. J. Wearner's work of the past years in that place, Elder Libby is now engaged in a strong Bible study program, with bright prospects for an early harvest. Last year twelve were baptized as a result of the Bible study program. As the com­bined result of a radio program and careful Bible study contacts we find thirty adults in a near-by city studying the message with minis­terial and Bible instructor students. The har­vest is already beginning for this year. One family has accepted the message and another young man, a prosperous neighbor farmer, is asking for baptism. We shall continue with re­ports from other colleges in our next issue.

In a recent swing of most of the North Ameri­can colleges we have found that the young men in training are certainly not saying what Shakespeare put into the lips of Hamlet, "The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right." But rather they are saying with Robert Brooke, in an endeavor to meet the challenge and crisis of the hour, "God be thanked who matched us with this hour."

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By GEORGE E. VANDEMAN, Associate Secretary of the Ministerial Association

May 1948

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