faithpulpit

Mon, Oct 01, 2007

Definition and Direction Statement, Part 3

Faith Pulpit
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Ankeny, Iowa
October 2007

Definition and Direction Statement, Part 3


 

FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders.
Faith stands committed to pressing the claims of Christ upon our students. We want our students to consider vocational Christian service, and we view such a calling as a sacred trust and a high honor. Annually, members of the Board of Directors, the administration, the faculty, and the staff reaffirm their support for the school's objective, as mentioned in the "Historic Position Statement," to train men and women for leadership roles in Christian service within fundamentalism. This is in keeping with our nature as a Bible college and seminary. The College requires a Bible major for all of its four-year graduates, and a second major in an area of vocational ministry (e.g., pastoral studies, missions, local church ministries, sacred music, Christian school education, etc.). All of these other majors are ministry majors because we exist to train vocational Christian workers and leaders.

Without a doubt, church ministry is multi-faceted, and it requires both vocational and volunteer workers; therefore, FBBC&TS prepares people for both vocational and volunteer (or lay) ministry. However, Faith exists to prepare vocational leaders and workers. For example, the Christian School Program graduates teachers who are eligible for licensure to teach in the public schools of Iowa, and some of our graduates are led by God to teach in the public schools. We rejoice with them that they are following God's leading in their lives, but we do not exist to train students to teach in the public schools. The fact that some of our graduates teach in public schools testifies to the credibility of our program and to the submission of our graduates to the will of God for them. While it is true that many of our students have no intention of entering vocational ministry, we know that we can still be of great assistance to them because a Bible education is beneficial for everyone. It is valuable for those who want to serve Christ full-time and for those who do not want to enter vocational Christian service. Some students come to Faith not knowing God's will for their lives. But after studying the Scriptures in classes, sitting through daily chapels, and attending Bible conference or missions conference, they discover God's will for their lives. In this way, too, Faith's Bible education is beneficial. However, even though Faith can be beneficial for future lay workers, the school exists to train vocational workers and leaders. By holding fast to its reason for existence, Faith actually enhances its ability to assist those who attend for reasons other than its main purpose. When the Bible and theology core curriculum and the ministry majors are strengthened, this provides benefit for all who attend.

FBBC&TS does not merely exist to enroll students; we exist to train and educate them. If we existed to enroll students, we might indiscriminately add new degree programs simply to grow our enrollment without any regard for our mission as a Bible college and seminary. We will resist this temptation. We might be bigger if we had broader course offerings, but we want to be faithful to our mission more than we want to have a large enrollment. We exist to train students to become vocational Christian workers and leaders, and so the more students we have, the more we will be able to train and educate. Student tuition payments help to meet our financial need so that we might fulfill our mission as a Bible college and seminary; viewed in this way, tuition funds are a means to an end and not the end in itself. We believe that as we are faithful to our purpose, God will send us students that we might train them. We believe that God is able to take care of us and that we can have a premier Bible college and seminary without being the largest college and graduate school. We may not be the biggest, but we do want to be among the very best at training Christian workers and leaders.

FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders for local churches.
As Baptists, we believe that the local church is at the center of God's program for this Age. Therefore, we exist to train and educate workers and leaders who will primarily serve in and through local churches. This means that while the Bible and theology courses are at the core of the College's curricula, next to them stand the courses that teach the leaders for the churches (pastoral studies and missions). Next come the courses that prepare assistants to the leaders (local church ministries, sacred music, and secretarial studies). Next come the courses that train graduates to serve in ministries that are sponsored by local churches (i.e., Christian school education in the areas of elementary education, music education, and secondary English education).

The faculty and members of the Board have concluded that before new programs are added, the institution should first review and strengthen its existing programs, beginning at its core (Bible and Theology). As an institution we look forward to adding new degree programs, and we have determined that before any new major is added it must first meet the following criteria: (1) Does this major correspond to the required Bible major? (2) Will the addition of this major and the hiring of the requisite new faculty diminish the prominence of the Bible and theology core faculty? (3) Does this major prepare graduates for vocational Christian service in or through local churches?

Because Faith exists to disciple vocational Christian workers for local churches, we require ministry apprenticeships of all of our B.S., B.A., M.A. in pastoral studies, and M.Div. graduates. We also require all of our resident students, except for first semester ones, to participate in Christian service opportunities in local churches throughout central Iowa.

In addition, we rejoice that our board members, administrators, faculty members, and staff personnel become involved members in their local churches. We require our employees to be involved in local church ministry because we know that this involvement enhances the discipleship process that we have with our students. Faculty members who are deeply involved in the ministries of their local churches, especially in local churches that are similar in philosophy to that of Faith, can work with their students in the practical aspects of local church ministry. This joint effort of ministry, faculty working with students, is an integral part of the discipleship process because when service in the churches coincides with lectures in the classrooms, it makes for a more profound and lasting discipleship experience. In addition, faculty members who, for example, are pastors, or who lead ladies' Bible studies, or who are involved with evangelistic outreaches in the churches will teach at Faith with a greater degree of realism and practicality. This is a good thing, and we value it highly.

FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders for local churches throughout the world.
Faith's motto is "With the Word to the World," and we are known as a missions-minded institution. Our graduates are serving Christ in many different countries. Currently, a large number of our students participate in cross-cultural ministry experiences (e.g., in our ARRIBA! program, in missionary apprenticeship programs, in ESL ministries, etc.). We envision the day when every college student will be required to obtain a passport before matriculation and also be required to participate in at least one cross-cultural ministry experience as part of his or her collegiate training. We look forward to the day when the school will be able to offer a summer language institute since language is an essential component of a culture, and cross-cultural ministry is enhanced with second language acquisition. We may be a small college, but we have a wide view of the world, and we would like for this growing reality to become one of our distinguishing characteristics. We insist that our graduates be communicators. Therefore, we expect our graduates to be able to write, to speak, and to be able to use technology in communication. We value the "writing across the curriculum" program and similar programs in speech communication and technology application in the college.