Bible College of South Australia

Theological Education is not Ambitious Enough

Presentation Abstract

The paper reports on research conducted with church ministers about their own experience of being trained and equipped (including theological education), and in turn, their experience of training and equipping others. The paper will argue that theological education is not ambitious enough in how it is seeking to equip students (Domains 1 & 3). The paper will particularly argue that students must be equipped with the capacity to train and equip others.

The paper is structured into three sections. The first section provides a brief description of the methodological considerations. The research was conducted suing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) using semi structured interviews with a homogenous group of participants.

The second section reports on the dominant themes to emerge from the interviews. In analysing how the participants were trained, themes of trust, time, and togetherness are prominent. In relation to theological education, theological thinking, the relationship with the church minister, and the connection between classroom and ministry experience are important themes. Finally, in terms of training others, theological convictions, training for tasks, and the impact of theological education are important themes.

The third section of the paper is a discussion of the analysis in conversation with other voices in theological education. Based on this conversation, the paper presents an argument that theological education must have greater clarity of purpose and so be more ambitious with its graduate outcomes, address the impact of the implicit curriculum on training and equipping, and give students greater capacity to equip others.

The paper aims to persuade theological educators that we must think for ourselves for the sake of God’s mission in this world and so be more ambitious in what we are attempting to do with students in theological education.


D 1, 3