The Union College "Conference"

In ministerial training it is necessary to heed the injunction that we be not only hearers but doers.

LEIF KR. TOBIASSEN, Chairman. Department of Religion, Union College

In ministerial training it is necessary to heed the injunction that we be not only hearers but doers. No student can learn by merely listening to his professors; the student must also learn by doing. Particularly is this needed in the area of applied theology.

The ministerial students at Union College are organized into two organizations, identical in membership but under two different student administrations. The student ministerial associ­ation conducts weekly sessions on the practical problems of the Adventist ministry, and a semi­weekly public seminar service, addressed by a ministerial senior who presents an evangelistic sermon. The association also promotes the MINISTRY magazine, conducts two or three socials a year, arranges for the annual banquet attended by the ministerial upper classmen and the eighteen presidents within the college territory, organizes one or two all-college ves­per services each year (addressed by a student preacher) , organizes workshops each semester, and generally serves as the departmental stu­dent organization. This association is under the direction of a student committee elected by popular vote for each semester. Great care is taken to nominate for office only such students as have demonstrated devotion and energy in public service.

The work of the regular course in field evan­gelism and the general missionary efforts of the ministerial students are under the jurisdiction of the newly organized Union College Student Conference, modeled after the ordinary de­nominational conference organization. This "conference" has a student president, treas­urer, committee, districts, district leaders, a budget (of two thousand dollars a year con­tributed by the unions and conferences with which Union College is affiliated) , departmen­tal secretaries, auditors, et cetera.

The pastors near Lincoln, Nebraska, have given over to this student "conference" cer­tain "dark" counties in which interests are be­ing developed, in addition to a number of smaller towns or churches in which pastoral and evangelistic duties are being performed.

Each semester the students carefully elect the "conference" staff and committee; the students study the denominational working pol­icy and carry forward the administration of the "conference" in harmony with the official Adventist pattern.

The student district leaders submit requests for appropriations covering travel costs and expenses to the conference committee; the com­mittee judiciously weighs the various requests and votes the available funds for the year. Careful accounting and reporting are maintained; auditors look into the books and minutes to ascertain whether the treasurer's disbursements have been duly voted by the committee. Sydney E. Allen, instructor in evangelism and pastoral work, serves as the counselor to the student "conference"; the other members of the religion department serve as "union" officers.

In this way, the ministerial student learns to organize activities within the framework of a system. As a freshman and sophomore he la­bors under the direction of older students; as an upperclassman he carries responsibility as a district leader or "conference" officer. The student learns how to plan ahead and schedule the various steps in a systematic program; he learns how to report and take care of expenses. Most important of all, the ministerial student learns to work within a group, to inspire others, to instruct younger students, to delegate, to budget, and to stay within the denominational pattern as a "conference" worker.


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LEIF KR. TOBIASSEN, Chairman. Department of Religion, Union College

April 1959

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