Rethinking discipleship and leadership training
My experience in Australia and discovery of Forge has got me thinking about discipleship and ministry training. In the west we have relied on institutions to do this for a long time. I work in one and I really enjoy it. For some students these institutions do more good than harm, for others it is the opposite. Regardless of how effective these institutions are many are under a lot of financial pressure.
I think the story is the same across the board. 80% of donations come from the boomer’s parents and they are beginning to die off. Their kids, the boomers, tend to be more materialistic and less generous. The boomers kids are often anti-institutional so they given even less. As donations remain flat the costs of running these institutions climbs forcing tuition hikes. Keep following the trend and eventually people can’t afford it, especially if what they are learning cannot be transferred to building a career. In Canada half the colleges and seminaries probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Canada Student Loans. Some students finish the program with the equivalent of small mortgage.
In academia there is a constant push to further differentiate yourself with higher level degrees. The schools and colleges compete with on another with options and programs to attract students. Over time the schools spend more and more money to fight over and increasingly small piece of the potential student “pie”. Because of all these things the cost of discipleship is extremely high. Based on average tuition rates and donations collected it costs about 14-24 thousand dollars to disciple one person for one year. Could we get the same similar results leaving that money in the local church?
In many circles people are rethinking church and even the gospel. I think we need to reconsider how we train church leaders.