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Wednesday
Oct032012

NTS’ In-Service Program: A Flexible Education for a Dynamic Ministry

 
Here, we feature NTS’ In-Service/Distance Learning Program and one of its students—
Mark Granger (projected graduation date of 2010). Mark is a district licensed minister in
the Church of the Nazarene who plans to minister as a military chaplain.


NTS’ In-Service Program: A Flexible Education for a Dynamic Ministry

When Mark Granger received a call to ministry, he knew that his passion for service needed to be tempered, formed, and shaped through the process of education. For as long as he can remember, Mark desired the kind of adventure that a military career afforded him. In staying faithful to his calling, Granger recently enrolled at Nazarene Theological Seminary to begin a journey toward becoming a military chaplain. “I looked at other schools,” he said, “but this program stood out because of its flexibility.”

Flexibility, it seems, is part of the secret to Mark’s success. While seeking to become a military chaplain, Granger encountered the all-too-familiar idea that a person could either train for ministry or be in ministry, but not concurrently. It was not until Mark found the In-Service Program at NTS that he knew he could still receive the training he needed while still being fully present in his life and ministry in Richland Center, WI.

“There’s a ton of stuff you have to be proficient in,” Mark said as he reflected on his ministry as a chaplain candidate in the Army National Guard. “As a chaplain or pastor, you’re expected to be an expert in anything from ethics and philosophy to the Bible and spiritual formation; I have people asking me questions all the time. Gladly, I found the kind of education I need to help me answer these questions at NTS. At the same time, the In-Service Program at NTS means that I don’t have to choose between location and education.”  Through a combination of online and ‘module’ (2-week intensive) courses, Mark receives seminary-level training without having to leave his ministry assignment.

While listening to Mark recount his journey, it becomes clear that ministry in today’s world is anything but simplistic. Amidst the kinds of questions with which he deals, the challenges he faces, and the joys he celebrates, Mark has a trained pastoral eye that envisions ministry’s complexity with a distinct hue of humility. “I certainly don’t have all the answers because of my education at NTS, but I have been given the tools to know where to look for answers to complex questions,” Granger says, “and that has added quite a bit of professional confidence.”

An added sense of professional confidence may be the greatest benefit of the In-Service distance learning program at NTS. The program’s strengths are also its flexibility and ability to re-equip pastors and church leaders with the theological and practical resources they need to engage a complex ministry. Mark Granger’s story helps illustrate that education can be flexible and valuable in day-to-day ministry, as he exemplifies NTS’ mission to prepare women and men for faithful and effective ministry.

The NTS In-Service (Distance Learning) Program at a glance:
•    Earn a Master of Divinity or MA in Christian Education without leaving            your current ministry assignment.
•    Update your theological and practical resources for ministry through
      graduate-level training.
•    Degrees are completed through module, online, and hybrid courses.
•    Move through programs as slowly or quickly as you like and are able.

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