Students: Prioritize the Local Church |The Benefits Practical Ministry Experience

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Students: Prioritize the Local Church

Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot have three special guests joining them: Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church in Orange County, CA; Dr. Tom Schreiner, the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at SBTS in Louisville, KY; and Dr. Bruce Ware, the T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology at SBTS in Louisville, KY.

This week the topic of discussion centers around concerns these men see with the theological education and training of students coming out of institutional seminaries. The discussion is not concentrated so much on where the students receive their seminary degree from, but actually on the lack of practical application and preparedness they have for being in and serving in a local body of Christ after graduation. The discussion focuses primarily on those graduating with a Master of Divinity seeking to be pastors, but will be helpful for all who desire to work and serve in the name of Christ; particularly in the body of Christ, and for how they can be effective in ministry.

Our panel discusses what they see as limits that the institutional seminary can and cannot do for its students. What is often seen with graduates is their love for theology, history, and more, but also many having never served by teaching a Sunday school class or worked in a church nursery. So additionally, our panel considers ways they see for students of MDiv to gain learning and skills that they wouldn’t have otherwise upon graduation. One main thought each member of the panel stresses, is the importance of serving and continuing to serve in areas of ministry within the body of Christ, even while the student is attending seminary. 

Partnering between the seminary and local churches

This brings us to what our panel sees as probably the most helpful recommendation; a need for partnering between the seminary and local churches for student interning and possibly even for required internships for students. A local body of Christ is the place where the student has the opportunity to be mentored and practice ministry under wise pastors and elders with experience. It’s the place where the student can be known, the place where wise godly men and women can help shape their character, and where they can be examined and evaluated for their giftedness and abilities. It’s the place where their theology can be flushed out in practical areas of ministry by immersing themselves, and gain valuable experience in “cutting their teeth” in real-life church work.

Related Messages

If you are considering a vocation in church ministry, already pursuing a seminary degree for a Master of Divinity, or a church layman who wants to understand church ministry and service in the local body better, consider listening to these sermons by Pastor Richard Caldwell:

A Believers Relationship to The Church

Christs Gifts to the Church – Part 1

Ministry in the Body of Christ

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.

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Season 4 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
Joshua Philpot

Social Media Descriptions by
Michele Watson

Grip / Camera Operator 1
JJ Navejas

Makeup Artist
Samantha Claveria

Graphic Design
David Navejas


Special Thanks to
El Centro Network
Joshua Want
Cameron Malott

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Motion Graphics
Szymon Masiak

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