“Few of those contacting Bible colleges [to ask for help in finding a pastor] have invested in theological education over the years. Some will have helped fund a member in training. Hardly any will have adopted one or more of the theological colleges and systematically invested in the training of a new generation of Christian leaders.”
Those are the words of Kerry Orchard, Development Manager at WEST (Wales Evangelical School of Theology). He’s right, of course. Most churches only realise the value of theological colleges when they need a new pastor.
What has caused this lack of investment in theological training? Colleges must accept their part of responsibility. Many training institutions have not always been as committed to building partnerships with local churches as they perhaps should have been. But before we point the finger too readily, let’s remember that colleges are there to serve the church, not lead the church. The church must take primary responsibility. Perhaps it is fairer to say that many churches have not been as committed to building partnerships with Bible colleges as we should have been. And much more importantly, many churches have not been as committed to training men for the ministry as we should have been. As a result, investment in training a new generation of Christian leaders is very low across independent churches.