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Finding Balance

A Balanced and Broad Spectrum Approach to Continuing Education

The continuing education pages are organized by the Five Callings the CRC has adopted. These callings are Faith Formation, Global Mission, Servant Leadership, Mercy and Justice, Gospel Proclamation and Worship.

While these callings are obviously not the total sum of ministry, they nonetheless provide a helpful framework for the breadth and balance of our own ministry experience. They can help give a sense of balance to your learning.

You may want to consider cycling through all five callings on a rolling basis. If your last growth opportunity was in leadership development, then perhaps consider how you can grow in your knowledge and abilities as it relates to mercy and justice. Or faith formation. Etc.

Also, another way to balance personal development could be using the standards as set out by the Association of Theological Schools. These four standards are the core expectations of a degree program meant to equip people to lead in a church context.  A balanced continuing education plan will incorporate learning opportunities across the spectrum of these areas of growth.

  1. The religious heritage of the denomination (e.g., Scripture, hermeneutics, confessions, theology, history, polity). This area, sometimes called “knowledge” or “message,” would be especially important for a new pastor who has limited familiarity with the history, theology, and polity of the CRC.
  2. The personal and spiritual formation of the minister (e.g., pastoral identity, spiritual practices). This area, sometimes called “character” or “person,” is essential for effective ministry in any context and at any level of ministry experience.
  3. The cultural context of ministry (e.g., history of the congregation and its locale, history of the denomination, cultural context of the region or of North America). This area, which might be ignored if only three areas are identified, is crucially important for effective ministry in a given locale, in a culturally “thick” denomination such as the CRC, and in the contemporary world.
  4. The capacity  for ministerial leadership (e.g., evangelism, pastoral care, preaching). This area, sometimes called “skills” or “goal,” is key for developing the skills needed to cultivate vibrant communities of disciples of Jesus Christ.