The Pastoral Theology program has already gone through 3 of the 4 modules programmed for this year. On February 19-21, the Organizational Management module was covered through a seminar led by Gelu Paul and Titus Pastean. The purpose of this module was raising the students’ capacity in managing the ministry of their church or organization. The seminar is the climax of the module, this being done only after each Pastoral Theology student goes through the necessary steps, dealing with:
a) The rhythmic preparation of the study material, doing and posting the homework on the e-learning portal.
b) The interaction on the e-learning platform with group colleagues, through commentaries done on the homework being posted.
Following the seminar for the Organizational Management module, one of the students shared with us his thoughts:
I understood that the classic “one man show” model, or the one in which a committee is given generic responsibilities (i.e. – brother x deals with problem y and receives support from the others and the decision is taken together or by some of us, we will see…) is not suited for an organization wishing to fulfill its vision, not just write it on the wall behind the pulpit.
I understood the a community that functions on the basis of a vision has to be led towards accomplishing that vision, has to be motivated, taught, trained, organized, empowered and evaluated. I finally understood what it means that the Body of Christ grows through what every joint gives, according to the ministry of each part.
I understood that a church with a healthy growing generates an environment in which its constituents can be integrated, so that they will get a strong feeling of belonging, of their specific role and receive a clear understanding of the direction. I understood that, for this to happen, it is necessary for the church vision to be organically assumed by the constituents. Also, the objectives have to be correctly set and the church’s effort has to be doubled by the faith that God blesses, completes and provides.
I understood that organizing a community is not in contradiction with the life of the church, that planning does not mean ignoring the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, that the results of human activity do not imply getting rid of the providential aspect, but, on the contrary, God works best through people who want to work according to his plan. He has a plan for the local church. If we understand it, He will be glad to be on our side and lead us in growth. From him, all the body… grows, through what every part gives!
We also have valuable input after finalizing the second module from this year – Church Growth Management. This brings a major contribution to the Romanian evangelical background, in regards to church growth, through the course launched through the BIG 5.4 conference, entitled Church Growth Management. The ATS module is also based on the Manual for Evangelism and Faith Consolidation (ECC) from the BEE-Entrust Foundation and on the results of Christian Schwarz’s work, who evaluated over 1000 churches, building a scientific instrument for evaluating the quality of church life. This module had its seminar on April 21-23, in Bran, led by Emi Moisa and Adi Totan.
A course that solidifies healthy convictions and corrects those out of place, a course that targets only those willing to change, both at a personal and at a community-church level. A wonderful opportunity for spiritual forming and reforming, based on the Scripture and inspired by it, structured in all areas of Christian experience, built towards application in each lesson that was covered. The manuals and the materials we studied are among the best in this field. Last but not the least, I want to emphasize the flexible method of teaching, which is interactive and done in the benefit of the student. It is a chance to get practical pastoral education, at the highest level.
I have to admit the homework for Organizational Management and Church Growth Management got me out of my comfort zone, because I felt l attended some management training classes and the biblical framework seemed to fade away. Now I realize how much I gained from these. I was profoundly touched by Andrew Seidel’s personality – the man who had the idea for this course. I saw in him a combination of excellence and humility that you rarely see.
The Pastoral Theology program helped me clarify my ministry in the church and in other Christian environments. It challenges me to action and I leave everytime strongly motivated to make a change and to apply the biblical and practical teachings I receive through it.
When I was invited to join the ATS courses, I thought to myself: “Another school? I will not have the time and the resources needed for such a thing.” At that time I felt the concerns and the crises in the ministry were strangling me, and the courses of this school did not seem to do anything else than add to the already complicated situation I was finding myself in. I hardly accepted, but, in a short while, I discovered that this school, by its nature, is not a consumer of resources, but a provider of very valuable resources. Aside from these resources, methods, models, I met special people. It is an experience every worker committed to God’s work should taste.
Vlad Mihaila, QuoVadis, Hateg:
The change of paradigm – this is a short way of saying what I experience during the modules. It can feel overwhelming to cover so many aspects of the ministry life; still, all of them have a common ground: the personal relationship with Jesus and all that flows from this. For me it was revealing to attend the family module with my wife. It helped us observe our relationship as an evangelism tool created by God. Yes, I wholeheartedly recommend attending these courses, because they help you think outside the box.
On July 14-16, in Bran, we had the seminar for the Worship as a Lifestyle module, led by Dorin Dumitrascu and Relu Bahnaru. Combining the theological and practical, applied dimensions, this course led the students through a journey of understanding the biblical principles of worship and, also, in building a philosophy for worship for the local church.
The applications dealing with preparing a worship time for small groups were challenging. I enjoyed the material about communication in worship, through the 12 elements. This course, along with the seminar meeting, challenged me to strive to become a true worshiper. Rediscovering the Niceean creed in worship was another thing that touched me.
After covering the materials and attending the seminar for the module, I learned to perceive the worship texts in a different way. I decided to go deeper into the study of worship. I realized there is still much to learn and practice in this field. The idea of splitting into small groups for preparing and presenting a worship program was excellent.
There is one more module to be covered this year – Holistic and Biblical Edification. We anticipate that, in the fall of 2017 we will graduate this series of students. After September 2017, we will set the application process for a new series of students (the specifics will be communicated at a later date).
In the end, we share the testimony regarding the benefits of attending this training program, belonging to Ovidiu Pascaru, elder of Elim Pentecostal Church in Piatra Neamt.
Although I graduated from the Pentecostal Theological Institute and I am currently finishing the Baptist Theology Master program in Bucharest, I can strongly say that the ATS has truly impacted my life! After almost 15 years of ministry and many years spent on University benches, this practical program made me realize how little I know about ministry and it created the framework for enormous development on my part, in such a way that my ministry life might be one of true impact for those whom I serve, and for the community I am part of.
Following you can browse through an image gallery from two of the seminars that happened this year.