As pastors, most of us get two weeks off for study leave (or continuing education, i.e., C.E.) per year so I’m taking advantage of this. Some pastors don’t use their study leave even though it’s available to them. Do you think pastors should be taking study leave every year? Do you think it’ll help the ministry of the local church, or is it stealing time away from church ministry? Does your pastor take advantage of study leave?
I’ve been really busy with ministry, plus preparing for my upcoming two weeks of intensive courses (biblical studies, then theology, with a ton of readings, reflection papers, etc.). This will give me a good break away from ministry, but it’ll still be work nevertheless because it’s the learning type of work (full days too). Study leave is not a break but it’s a chance for me to keep learning new things. I’m really looking forward to these 2 weeks coming up for C.E. as part of my D.Min. program.
Charles Halton at awilum.com put a list of free open courses available through iTunes U and university web pages (HT: Joel W). Actually, if you search around the internet, you can find a load of free lectures from many seminaries and universities. It’s not for those who want a real theological education with the whole sha-bang of tests, papers, discussions and thesis. If you’re looking for continuing education but you’re on a tight pastor’s budget and you don’t have any other choice, this might be an alternative. But if you’re the indolent slug-type who wants an education, and has the money and the time, but not the discipline of walking into a real classroom, this may seem like a cakewalk, but it still requires a measure of discipline because you still have to listen to all the long lectures night after night.
Continuing education is important for pastors. As a pastor, within my letter of call, I am allowed two weeks each year in order to take some time out for continuing education classes. If I could do this within the next 5-6 years, part-time, while I continue my work in parish ministry, that would be a dream come true. I have been surfing the internet looking through the plethora of programs that are available–D.Min., Th.D. Doing a Th.D/Ph.D. requires a commitment of lots of time and money–neither of which I have an abundance of. The D.Min. route seems to be the easier but I won’t rule out doing a Th.D. either. I feel kind of lost in the forest of programs that are available.