Ministerial Studies Instructor Position Opening
Jun 20, 2018
By Cornelis Venema
Among the actions taken by the Board of Trustees at its recent meeting was the decision to commence a search for a ministerial studies instructor. Due to the importance of this decision for the long-term fruitfulness of the ministry of Mid-America, I believe it deserves to be brought to your attention. In order to do so, I want to begin this column by providing an account of the background and rationale for the Board’s decision. Then I will offer a few comments regarding the strategic importance of this decision.
Prior to the meeting of the Board, the Faculty passed a motion at its regular meeting in April that “in view of impending retirements and current need, the Board approves commencing a formal search for a faculty member in the position of ministerial studies.” The Faculty also offered the following observations as a rationale for its recommendation:
In the last two Long Range Plans, the Board and Faculty frequently noted the particular need for, and importance of, an appointment of an instructor in the area of ministerial studies. In the interim period prior to the appointment of such an instructor, the Board encouraged the Faculty to make use of adjunct instructors, especially in the area of ministerial studies.
Though the appointment of a new instructor in ministerial studies would increase the number of full-time faculty to seven, the Faculty’s recommendation does not assume an increase in the number of full-time members for the long-term. Rather, this recommendation recognizes that the appointment of such a faculty member may not take place for a year or two and that we need to be prepared for the possibility of several faculty retirements in close succession over the next decade.
The appointment of a faculty member in the area of ministerial studies before any present faculty retires has obvious benefits. The new instructor in ministerial studies would be able to become acquainted with the present faculty and to benefit from their help at the beginning of his tenure at the seminary.
At the present time, Mid-America does not have a faculty member who is appointed full-time in the area of ministerial studies. The Seminary’s desire to combine academic study with training for ministerial competency, including the oversight of the Ministerial Apprenticeship Program, would be enhanced by the appointment of an instructor whose teaching responsibility is exclusively in the area of ministerial studies.
The Faculty believes that the appointment of a faculty member in the ministerial studies division is especially strategic, but not an easy one to achieve. An appointee to this position needs not only to be biblically, confessionally, and theologically sound, but also to be a person who has significant pastoral experience and proven competence in ministerial work.
The Faculty also noted that the Executive Committee of the Board had previously encouraged the Faculty to identify prospective candidates for this position and to put together a timeline for hiring an instructor in ministerial studies.
When the Board decided to adopt the Faculty’s recommendation, it was clear that it shared the Faculty’s desire to anticipate the Seminary’s future needs for faculty development rather than belatedly respond after faculty retirements create a vacancy.
As president of Mid-America Reformed Seminary, I am pleased with the Board’s decision. Though the appointment of a new faculty member in the area of ministerial studies may entail an increase in our annual budget, the Board recognized the strategic importance of building for the future. The Board also recognized the historic emphasis Mid-America has placed upon the appointment of faculty members who not only share its biblical, confessional, and academic values but also its commitment to provide our students with the kind of ministerial and spiritual formation that is needed for the work of pastoral ministry.
When I was appointed as the first president of Mid-America, I gave an inaugural address under the theme, “An Academy with a Vocational Aim.” My conviction then and now is that this is what like Mid-America must aim to be by God’s grace: not merely an academic institution, but a school where students are prepared for the vocation of the pastoral ministry.
Please remember in prayer the work of the Faculty Development Committee as it undertakes this search. And if you are aware of a suitable candidate for this position, don’t hesitate to recommend him to us.
This article was adapted from the June 2018 edition of The Messenger.
Applicants should be able to teach courses in ministerial studies and practical theology, including homiletics, missions and evangelism, and pastoral care and counseling. They should also ordinarily have a postgraduate degree in ministerial studies or practical theology. Membership in a Reformed or Presbyterian church, ordination to the office of minister, and pastoral experience are required. Applicants should send a copy of their curriculum vitae, as well as the faculty application form to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Chair of the Faculty Development Committee, Mid-America Reformed Seminary, 229 Seminary Drive, Dyer, Indiana, 46311.