The Three Learning Domains
The purpose of all Seminario Bautista Panamericano learning experiences is to help students grow in three areas: knowledge, attitudes and skills. Ministry requires all three, and it could be argued it requires all three in balance. For example, Paul states in 1 Corinthians 8:1 “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” This is not an anti- knowledge statement; it’s pro-love. Without a loving attitude to balance knowledge, the learner can easily become proud. Also, we have all seen folks who know a lot and even have good attitudes, but they lack the basic skills of ministry. Again, we have known people with knowledge and much skill in preaching or witnessing or some other area, but the attitude is all wrong. There is little love or wisdom or perhaps little willingness to sacrifice. We believe the New Testament ministry preparation model is discipleship, and it leads to balanced competence in all three learning areas.
Sometimes people who attended a different kind of school will criticize SBP. Our academic content (the knowledge we try to impart) is of a good quality, but it is basic in its scope, and others may have studied where most of the emphasis is on knowledge. Students there are lectured, assigned work, tested, promoted, and honored largely in the knowledge area. It would be terribly unfair to say faculty and staff at such schools are not concerned with attitudes and skills. Often though, institutional pressures do not allow the discipleship relationship that is seen in the New Testament and that we believe best produces competence in all three areas.
So how do we grow in grace as well as knowledge? And how do we acquire the basic skills of ministry?
First, we believe much of the answer at SBP is we do not only prepare for service; we also prepare in service. Of course all preparation should have a future usefulness, and we trust our students will serve the Lord until called home. But ministry preparation in the New Testament and at SBP emphasizes learning knowledge and then immediately applying it in real and significant church ministry. There is no separation of the student and his or her education from a normal church experience. Jesus’ and Paul’s disciples did not merely hear lectures, take notes for several years and then began serving. They served from the start. It is in a context of success and failure, of victory and struggle that the student develops skills and also learns necessary attitudes such as wisdom, faith and dependence on the Lord.
How else do we achieve competence and balance in all three areas? Pastors have a part, Ephesians 4:11 tells us, in preparing God’s people for the work of the ministry. When students go away to study and are concentrated in large numbers in one place, they rarely have a close relationship with the pastor of the church associated with that school. The pastors who successfully direct our Study Centers personally know and guide the students. They are not strangers but are co-laborers. Yes, we are far removed from Bible times. We need lectures in Bible introduction, hermeneutics, and sound doctrine and so on, but we also need someone to disciple us as Jesus did the twelve and as Paul did Timothy, Titus and others.
Thank you for taking time to learn about Global Baptist Schools/Seminario Bautista Panamericano and our system of education that returns the place of ministry preparation to the church and the authority in ministry preparation to the pastor. Please contact us if we may serve you, and please pray for us today!