Author Topic: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP  (Read 15550 times)

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13474
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #105 on: January 24, 2012, 04:58:25 PM »
Yep, I missed it - or it sounded so much like our own experiences that I overlooked that it was ELCA.
 
Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5006
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #106 on: January 24, 2012, 05:47:50 PM »
My point is that guys read this and it hurts and causes them to question their legitimacy and Calling.  These BROTHERS are ORDAINED PASTORS, just like all of the rest of us are!!!  Stop it, already.  Welcome, encourage and support them! They need us and we need them! 

I'm not sold on SMP (meaning absolutely no disrespect to my brothers in office like Padre who entered by alternative routes - I firmly believe that it is call and ordination and NOT seminary education that makes a man a pastor, pure and simple).  I'm not sure that we're actually using it the way it was packaged and sold to the Synod in Convention; in fact, I'm rather certain we are not.  But what on earth is the way forward? 

It is good advice to remember to differentiate between the legitimacy of the Call and ongoing concern over the learning process that is used to prepare a man for such a call. The legitimacy of the divine call rests not with the level or quality of one's training (as important as that is), but with the fact that our Lord calls the man through the church and sets him into that office.  Yes, regardless of the program these man are called pastors deserving of proper recognition and respect.  I, too, have had my concerns about SMP (as I did also of DELTO), but admit that simply calling for its end will not solve the challenges we now face.  Also, if we feel the program to be deficient, it is incumbent on us to make sure quality and accessible continuing education opportunities are made available to supplement, at least in terms of a short-term answer.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

GregoryLJackson

  • ALPB Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #107 on: January 24, 2012, 06:25:27 PM »

Pastor Benke, the statistics are from published sources. They are astonishing and remain one of the most read posts on my blog. Lutheran leaders should begin with a careful examination of the burdens they have placed on graduates. Besides that, if a student is moved through school without hope of a call, he has an enormous debt and no value from those seminary credits.


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/12/lcms-seminaries-where-money-is-ultra.html


Greg Jackson

I think this is mostly a very salutary conversation.  First of all, are GregoryLJackson's statistics accurate? 

The first thing I would address as a seminary president would be the endowment.  The best way to bring down the tuition is to establish a first-tier endowment that covers basic costs of faculty.  I believe both seminaries are after that, Dr. Dale Meyer in particular being a leader in that regard.  I can understand PrMesser's route being expense-cutting to keep both seminaries as is in place; it's not that tough - either cut expenses and redirect monies from what's been cut, or raise more money.  As any long-timer in budgeting would tell you, though, the way people feel best is to increase the income while holding expenses at realistic levels.

The latest Concordia Seminary magazine Winter edition has the title "Broadening the Paths to Ministry."  I believe this is widely held as not only acceptable but as salutary for the future of the seminary and the people of God it serves.  Simple as that.

Dave Benke

FrPeters

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2388
  • An Obedient Rebel
    • View Profile
    • Grace Lutheran Church Website
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #108 on: January 24, 2012, 07:13:22 PM »
Greg, what is the average financial aid (grants and scholarships and not loans) that must be compared to the actual costs listed?  The Sems should be able to tell you what the average is per student.  I would be shocked if it was not at least a third of the final figure but maybe I am naive....
Fr Larry Peters
Grace LCMS, Clarksville, TN
http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #109 on: January 24, 2012, 07:38:15 PM »
Shouldn't the real issue of consideration be what is the best method in the 21st century for preparing candidates for ordination? Brick and mortar seminaries worked in the past, and they can continue to work into the future. But shouldn't the issue be whether or not brick and mortar seminaries are the only method that works, and if they are not the only method, are they the best or most desireable method.
 
It seems to me that the answers addressing how to fund the seminaries are directed at the wrong question. Shouldn't the question be, "How can Lutheran denominations best facilitate the transition of laymen into qualified clergy?"
 
First answer that question, and then it will make more sense to ask how to fund that process.
 

GregoryLJackson

  • ALPB Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #110 on: January 24, 2012, 08:35:11 PM »

That is a good question. I will see what the researcher found. He put in a lot of time to make the comparison charts.


The cost carried by students is ridiculous.


Greg Jackson

Greg, what is the average financial aid (grants and scholarships and not loans) that must be compared to the actual costs listed?  The Sems should be able to tell you what the average is per student.  I would be shocked if it was not at least a third of the final figure but maybe I am naive....

Birkholz

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 522
    • View Profile
    • Zion Lutheran Church
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #111 on: January 24, 2012, 08:55:44 PM »
The cost of studying at various seminaries can be found here:


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2011/09/lcms-seminary-cost-scandal-fabulous.html


The two Concordias cost more than all other Lutheran seminaries - and as much as Yale Divinity School.


The Boomers, who got cheap seminary educations, have allowed the costs to land on the heads of the students. That is a severe judgment against the leaders of today.


Greg Jackson

I would kindly request you consider removing your cariacatures of recent Ft. Wayne and St. Louis graduates.  Such depictions are not only grossly inaccurate, but are not helpful in starting an honest conversation regarding Lutheran seminary education.
Pastor Mark Birkholz
Zion Lutheran Church
Naperville, IL
www.zionnaperville.org

Jim Butler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #112 on: January 25, 2012, 01:25:12 PM »
I'm trying just to lurk. Discussion, unfortunately, takes up too much time. But this is a topic very near and dear to my heart; I've always believed that not every pastor needs an M.Div. in order to be a pastor.

*I'm not sure why people thought SMP was only for churches who could not afford a pastor. Everything I read stated, quite plainly, that churches could use SMP to develop ordained assistant pastors in their congregations. However, there are limitations as to what kind of service SMP pastors can do outside of their ministry context, e.g. they cannot serve as circuit counselors nor can they serve as delegates to Synod conventions. They will always have a supervising pastor over them.

*I find the "heart surgery" argument a little silly. I have two pediatricians, a radiologist, and a psychiatrist in my congregation. I wouldn't go to any of them for heart surgery either. When I was with my previous physician in Springfield, Mass., the vast majority of my care was done by either a nurse-practioner or a Physician's Assistant. They diagnosed me. They wrote scripts. I received very good care from them, but neither one was an MD. I see SMP as analogous to a nurse-practioner or a PA. Someone who works under someone with more education and experience, but one who can do much of the work himself.

*One issue of the cost of LCMS seminary education today is what we were doing 10 years ago: students were going to the seminary essentially tuition free. The class sizes swelled; one staff member at CSL told me that the class sizes rivaled the pre-seminex era. But the seminaries were draining endowments and draining donors to do it. Eventually, it all crashed in. Dale Meyer had to do some major work a couple of years ago to right those problems. The current students are also feeling those effects.

Hope you all have a good day in the Lord.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

Mike Gehlhausen

  • Guest
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #113 on: January 25, 2012, 01:33:55 PM »
*I find the "heart surgery" argument a little silly. I have two pediatricians, a radiologist, and a psychiatrist in my congregation. I wouldn't go to any of them for heart surgery either. When I was with my previous physician in Springfield, Mass., the vast majority of my care was done by either a nurse-practioner or a Physician's Assistant. They diagnosed me. They wrote scripts. I received very good care from them, but neither one was an MD. I see SMP as analogous to a nurse-practioner or a PA. Someone who works under someone with more education and experience, but one who can do much of the work himself.

This is how I also see this issue functionally.

Ontologically though, I have a bit more heartburn.  We confess that there is only one Office even though we may make human divisions in order for it like bishop, pastor, and deacon.   These divisions put matters of ecclesiastical authority in order, but they are not supposed to affect the investment to publicly provide Word and Sacrament.

So, in a way, we seem to want it both ways here.   We say that they are pastors which would be akin to holding the title of doctor or lawyer and yet we want to regard them as nurse-practitioners or paralegals.

Mike

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13474
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #114 on: January 25, 2012, 01:40:57 PM »
By the by, it seems that the student crisis is affecting not only Lutheran Seminaries, but higher education in general.  Just about all students, it seems, are needing to rack up record debt levels to get through university these days, a matter of great concern in some quarters.
 
Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Jim Butler

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2036
    • View Profile
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #115 on: January 25, 2012, 03:17:50 PM »
*I find the "heart surgery" argument a little silly. I have two pediatricians, a radiologist, and a psychiatrist in my congregation. I wouldn't go to any of them for heart surgery either. When I was with my previous physician in Springfield, Mass., the vast majority of my care was done by either a nurse-practioner or a Physician's Assistant. They diagnosed me. They wrote scripts. I received very good care from them, but neither one was an MD. I see SMP as analogous to a nurse-practioner or a PA. Someone who works under someone with more education and experience, but one who can do much of the work himself.

This is how I also see this issue functionally.

Ontologically though, I have a bit more heartburn.  We confess that there is only one Office even though we may make human divisions in order for it like bishop, pastor, and deacon.   These divisions put matters of ecclesiastical authority in order, but they are not supposed to affect the investment to publicly provide Word and Sacrament.

So, in a way, we seem to want it both ways here.   We say that they are pastors which would be akin to holding the title of doctor or lawyer and yet we want to regard them as nurse-practitioners or paralegals.

Mike

First, I would argue that every analogy breaks down somewhere.

Second, although there is a basic professional degree--JD or MD--there are further specialties. One may work through a PA for basic illness, but that person may need to consult with or refer you on to a primary care doctor, who in turn may need to send you on to a specialist or sub-specialist. In the same way, an SMP pastor may need to have someone see his supervising pastor who may even need to send the person on to someone with even higher skills (e.g. a pastoral counselor) for matters that he feels unable to handle.

Third, While article XIV says that one must be "regularly called" it does not define that term nor does it say how one must go about it. I believe that the SMP program is a good attempt at dealing with that issue.

Fourth, an M.Div. is no guarantee of theological soundness or pastoral fitness. I have met more than my share of pastors who do not know what they are doing and have been removed from office for plain incompetence. In like manner, many JDs and MDs lose their license to practice for negligence or incompetence.

Finally, I have enjoyed preparing students for both DELTO, SMP, EIIT, and residence seminary for the last 10 years. I find them to have a high degree of commitment. I look forward to welcoming them as my colleagues in ministry and will do what I can to support them and their ministry. We have four DELTO trained pastors in New England and one student currently in SMP. They are brother pastors. I could not ask for more.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

JMK

  • Guest
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #116 on: January 25, 2012, 03:27:34 PM »
I think we are going to see a big bubble get burst over the next few years as the clergy glut works its way through the system. The older pastors are not going to be retiring, in the sense of no longer preaching, as was once thought – as they simply don’t have enough savings to make ends meet without preaching on a regular basis.

In the next few years, there is bound to be a rapid exodus of new pastors from the ministry. (And usually when a pastor leaves in distress church membership and offerings drop). The big reason for the exodus of clergy is that they will not be able to take care of their families. There are just not enough financially viable congregations to provide for the well being of a full time pastor – especially those who are struggling with paying back educational loans. And, pretty soon, more and more Districts will be closing down churches and selling off property to make ends meet. So, the situation will become even worse.

Sure, sometimes God has gives individuals such a profound sense of vocation and missional calling that they, as the early fishermen disciples long ago, will leave everything to follow Jesus. However, the Bible says in 1Timothy 5:8, if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Peter 3:7 also states: In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

The Seminaries need to provide an immediate and full disclosure of how dire the situation really is in terms of those going into the pastoral ministry. There needs to be an immediate strict quota system set in place to limit Seminary enrollment, as well as enrollment in the SMP and other avenues for church worker placements. The Seminaries also need to limit enrollment to candidates who have the training and abilities to provide for their family needs through secular employment. The ship is going down because there are too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.

The Synod should also set up a generous early retirement plan (i.e. starting at age 55) to get rid of the glut of pastors and require that they don’t continue to serve in the pastoral ministry in the LCMS - especially in the role of preaching. Also, the Concordia pension plan and other insurance plans need to be funded directly by the Synod - as the base of support will no longer be there when fewer new pastors are supporting the system.

Why provide a generous early retirement plan? The reason why is because it has to do with living out and applying the 4th Commandment to the office of the ministry. The Large Catechism states:

Thus we have two kinds of fathers presented in this commandment, fathers in blood and fathers in office, or those to whom belongs the care of the family, and those to whom belongs the care of the country. Besides these there are yet spiritual fathers; …who govern and guide us by the Word of God; as St. Paul boasts his fatherhood 1 Cor. 4:15, where he says: In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Now, since they are fathers they are entitled to their honor, even above all others.




« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 03:29:30 PM by Johannes Andreas Quenstedt »

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #117 on: January 25, 2012, 04:06:51 PM »
In the next few years, there is bound to be a rapid exodus of new pastors from the ministry. (And usually when a pastor leaves in distress church membership and offerings drop). The big reason for the exodus of clergy is that they will not be able to take care of their families. There are just not enough financially viable congregations to provide for the well being of a full time pastor – especially those who are struggling with paying back educational loans. And, pretty soon, more and more Districts will be closing down churches and selling off property to make ends meet. So, the situation will become even worse.

Might that be a reason why engaging in a proactive effort at church growth might be a good idea?

Charles_Austin

  • Guest
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #118 on: January 25, 2012, 04:25:02 PM »
Two musings:
1. I believe that in England during the time just following Henry VIII, the only requirement for being a priest was the ability to celebrate mass; and there were priests who were essentially illiterate.
I think this was also true at time in the eastern part of the Church, where the function of the priest was only to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
Such things as preaching, pastoral care, scripture study, etc. were not considered essential.
The situation shifted to the times when, especially among Protestants, the domine, preacher, evangelist, priest, vicar, rector, curate, etc. etc. was expected to be one of the most educated and literate people in the village. Men with an intellectual leaning often sought careers in law or the church. Remember that Harvard and Yale began as seminaries, as our colonial forbears wanted an educated clergy.
2. Today?
Personally, I believe that clergy today need more education, not less. I worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks." I came out of seminary owing nothing, as I recall tuition being something like $150 a quarter. And one year my Synod paid that.
I have no idea what the best way to fund seminary today should be.

Mike Gehlhausen

  • Guest
Re: Megadeth Bassist to be an LCMS pastor thanks to SMP
« Reply #119 on: January 25, 2012, 04:33:37 PM »
Personally, I believe that clergy today need more education, not less. I worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks." I came out of seminary owing nothing, as I recall tuition being something like $150 a quarter. And one year my Synod paid that.
I have no idea what the best way to fund seminary today should be.

Yeah, you worry that we lose something important by the "alternate tracks."  and yet you have nothing tangible to point toward.

I myself believe that we indeed need to ensure that the pastors we develop through seminary education need to be well educated although I don't know that they need more education before ordination.   However, in this technological age of the 21st century I am far from convinced that this must be done by assuming mountains of debt by attending a brick-and-mortar seminary.

Mike