This is part two of a four-part series on a new model of seminary training. William Tennent School of Theology hosts cohorts in a retreat setting, bringing students together for two-week residencies (once a year for part-time students or twice a year for full-time students) and sending them back home to read, write, and reflect. You can read more about the model in the previous post or on the website.
Churches and Communities
“Who needs another seminary?” It’s a fair question, especially with so many fantastic schools out there. Yet the simple truth is that many do, including every church and community struggling to hang on to their brightest leaders. At Tennent, not only do we intend to encourage students in their ministry context, but we want to send them back with a clearer vision of the Majesty of Christ, a stronger grasp of rich historical, theological, and biblical material, and greater skill as spiritual leaders.
Spouses and Families
It saddens me to hear stories of how difficult seminary was for a student’s family. Seminary is a significant investment, yet if it depletes those who matter most to us, it’s time to rethink how we’re doing things.
Though not required, families are welcome at Tennent residencies; we’ll even cover their room and board if they’re able to come along. In addition, spouses may audit for free or apply for our Aquila & Pricilla scholarship. After all, ministry is a team sport.
While you’re in class, your spouse can connect with others over coffee, sit in on a class, or watch the kids romp around the grounds, taking advantage of hiking trails, playgrounds, and even a mini-golf course. They’ll join in at mealtimes, enjoying the rich feast of conversation around the table. In the evening, there’s something for everyone: fireside chats, board games, and ping pong. Our prayer is that every member of your family leaves encouraged and included.
The Global Church
The fifth and final Tennent residency is an overseas mission trip, traveling together to pass along some of what we’ve received. As I told our last cohort:
If you brought all of your assigned texts for this first term, you have a larger theological library in the trunk of your car than thousands of pastors around the world. We are so blessed; we have so many study tools at our disposal. It’s an embarrassment of riches. Oh, may God give us grace to steward it well!
We believe that the body of Christ around the world will benefit from seminary students who, from day one, are charged and empowered to steward this gift of education as a blessing to the nations.
Perhaps Even You
Tennent is for men and women, single or married, who love their home church. It is for people rooted in a community, established in work and ministry, who can’t imagine leaving that all behind (yet can’t stand the thought of sitting at a computer for the entirety of their degree). It is for the student who hates traveling without the family and has a burden for the nations.
It’s for those who don’t want to just read about Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, or Bavinck—but want to read the classics for themselves. It’s for those who would rather double up on biblical and theological studies, and skip some of the extras (think Church Finances) that can be learned on the job. It’s for those who want to go deep in an area of interest, who want to write, who want to cut the fat (and some of the cost) of a seminary education.
Tennent is for the beat up and worn out in ministry, as well as those just out of the gate. It’s for missionaries who can’t attend a traditional school, and can’t do the online alternative due to security concerns. It’s for church planters and established pastors, para-church workers, and lay leaders—frankly, it’s for anyone with a heart for Jesus, a posture to grow, and a desire to make Kingdom impact.
In the upcoming posts, we’ll further explore how the course of study is unique, and the when & where of this new model of seminary training.