This post arises out of a unique journey of mine. Believe it or not, I am actually enrolled in 4 seminaries at the moment, pursuing my Masters of Divinity (M.Div) at all of them! Okay, before I qualify that statement, I am actually only taking courses at one of the four seminaries, but I still have student numbers at all of the other ones.
Let me briefly explain my journey, and then I’ll do a brief and preliminary comparative analysis between three out of the four seminaries.
After my undergrad, and right after getting married, my wife and I planned to move back to Vancouver to enroll at Regent College to pursue my M.Div. As a result, that summer in 2006, I began taking classes via correspondence. However, through God’s providence, my wife and I actually ended up moving to Montreal to take a Youth Pastor position at River’s Edge Community Church. While living in Montreal and serving as a youth pastor, I kept on taking courses at Regent College. A year later in 2007, I decided to transfer over to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston because I figured I couldn’t complete my degree through correspondence with Regent. So upon enrolling at Gordon-Conwell, I began driving from Montreal to Boston weekly to take classes. I would leave on Tuesday morning, drive 6 hours, take 1 course, sleep on campus, wake up the next day and take another course, then drive another 6 hours back to Montreal for Wednesday evening. I did that for a semester, and became very tired! So I did correspondence courses the next semester while learning how to church plant at River’s Edge. Figuring I couldn’t do another semester of driving, I decided to enroll at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto because they had an M.Div program for individuals in ministry, which would only require me to travel to campus once a week. And since I had family in Toronto, it was going to be easier. So I enrolled and finished off my Greek through correspondence. Afterwards, in 2008, through much discernment, my wife and I decided to move out to Seoul, Korea to be pastors at Onnuri English Ministry; as a result, I decided to transfer to Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology here in Korea to finish up my M.Div (it’s an English graduate school in Korea).
Wow! That was long. Anyway, that’s my journey through 4 different seminaries. As much as you might laugh at my journey or think it’s amusing to consider how many hours I actually spent applying and getting accepted into each of these seminaries, there has actually been a great benefit to being at all 4 of them – I can offer first-hand advice and critiques as to the differences between the seminaries.
So I’m going to attempt to make a brief and preliminary (and by no means exhaustive) comparative analysis between the M.Div program in 3 out of the 4 seminaries: Regent (Canada), Gordon-Conwell (USA), and Torch (Korea).
Side notes: I do not know enough about Tyndale to comment. Also, I don’t like emphasizing the negatives, so I’ll write out the unique strengths of each institution!
Regent College (Vancouver, Canada)
- Holistic and culturally engaging types of courses
- Able to take correspondence courses, and even campus courses with the likes of J.I. Packer, Eugene Peterson, Gordon Fee, Bruce Waltke etc.
- Balance between ministry and biblical studies/theology in the M.Div curriculum
- Summer program
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton (Boston), USA)
- The variety and sheer amount of courses you can take (For your degree, you can take courses at Harvard, Boston University, etc.)
- Tradition and ecumenicism
- Mentored Ministry
Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology (Seoul, Korea)
- International student population (There are students from all over the world studying in Korea to be trained and released back to their native countries – i.e. Nigeria, Iraq, India, China, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Canada, USA, etc.)
- International Faculty (Professors from different backgrounds with different academic and ministry expertise)
- Personable professors
- Strong Missions Focus (especially with Korea being a massive missionary sending nation)
- Cheap tuition
- Asian-American Visiting Professors (Peter Cha, Paul Lim, Julius Kim, etc.)
Are you going to seminary? If so, what are the strengths of your school?
If you are considering seminary, what kind of questions do you have?
Follow up (Jan 19, 2011) – After writing this post, I thought I’d follow up with where I’m at now – Check out my post “Why I ditched the M.Div…and am still a pastor.”