The Philosophy of Training
The General Convictions that Underlie Our Training Philosophy
1. The primary means that God uses for building His church, advancing the gospel, and glorifying Christ in the world is preaching in the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5) undergirded by prevailing, persistent prayer (Ephesians 6:19, 21).
2. The effective preacher is first and foremost a man gripped by a love for Christ and His people. His ultimate priorities are communion with his Lord and, proclaiming and exalting Christ’s glory. He is also a man gripped by God’s mercy and grace as revealed in the great doctrinal themes and theological truths of Scripture. He is a student and lover of theology and the history of the church.
3. The effective pastor/teacher is a disciple-maker and reproducer of men, as well as a shepherd who loves and cares for God’s sheep.
4. Effective training for a pastor must maintain a balance between academics and practical ministry. It is possible to be exposed to orthodox, theological training that emphasizes academics to the neglect of pastoral ministry. The reverse is also true. It is possible to focus on pastoral ministry and leadership to the neglect of theology and doctrine. A failure to achieve either dimension diminishes a man's usefulness in ministry. As Gardiner Spring said in the 19th century:
"How difficult is it, even in this day of theological seminaries, to supply an important vacant congregation with a pastor, in whom the union of eminent learning, talents and piety is considered as indispensable?"
(The Power of the Pulpit, pp. 197-198)
5. There is a need for the training of preachers that combines sound theological education with spiritual fervor and godliness, taught and modeled by men who are active and effective in the ministry of the Word.
6. With the above in mind, the school seeks to primarily staff itself with men who are, or have been, fruitful in preaching and pastoral ministry. The school provides training in the context of the lives and instruction of godly pastors.