One of the greatest challenges I faced while in seminary was the need to feed my family. You see, my wife and I had moved from Raleigh to Minneapolis to Louisville in order to be trained in how to handle Scripture and teach it. We had to uproot from the familiar. Some would say this was virtuous and commend our steps in faith. While I believe that is true, I also believe that we live in a day and time where technology enables us to both get our theological training but also to dig our roots in deeper—both in others’ lives and nourishing the roots of our own faith.
Here are three benefits to earning an online ministry degree:
1) One of the greatest blessings with earning an online ministry degree is the ability to grow where you have roots. Sure, I benefitted from the relationships I made while in Minneapolis and Louisville. But I remember being envious of a pastor friend I had met in Minneapolis who was able to continue pastoring while doing correspondence work—earning the same degree I would be traveling to Louisville to get! He was able to not only serve his wife and kids by not moving to an unknown location, but he was also able to minister to the people he had already invested years of his life. He was able to marry the college kids he had discipled. He was able to visit folks he loved in the hospital. It took my wife and me a good two years to re-establish roots once we moved each time. Imagine if our roots could have remained where they were.
2) A second blessing that can come from earning an online ministry degree, and which flows from the first, is that your own devotional life will have opportunity to flourish. That is, analogous to a plant that has been uprooted and planted in another soil, so also we can too quickly discount the time and place God has already put us. Sometimes we run away from the very place God wants to tend for our own growth. My friend was not only able to care for those he loved in his congregation, but he was also able to directly apply what he was learning in that context. He already was teaching Sunday School. So why not teach a class on Romans since he was already exegeting the passages and wrestling with the theology?
3) A third blessing that an online ministry education affords you, is the ability to learn at your own pace. While in seminary, I cobbled together several part-time jobs and then a full-time job to feed my family. Very rarely would my work and school schedule work together. My time was strained because I had to be in classroom. My last semester I had to take a systematic theology course in order to graduate. My work schedule would not bend. I was allowed to take the online version of it. I loved it! I received the same material and was challenged at the same rigor and I was able to do the work when I was able—on lunch breaks and around my work. What a blessing to be able to learn at the pace that enabled me to take care of my burgeoning family and move toward the goal of graduation.
Dr. Matt Wireman
Dean of Christian Ministries