Beginning this fall, most students entering Calvin Theological Seminary will take a new course called “Theological Education as Formation for Ministry,” led by Professor David Rylaarsdam.
Students will begin and end their seminary studies with this “bookends” course, which is designed to help them see their entire seminary education as a process of holistic formation for ministry.
Behind this course is the seminary faculty’s conviction that preparation for ministry is not merely a matter of giving information but a process of deep personal spiritual formation. In this vision, every aspect of seminary life is formative, from classroom to chapel, from small prayer groups to service learning days in the greater Grand Rapids community. Students will move from this course into a Formation for Ministry group—a “community within the community” of eight students led by a faculty member.
Rylaarsdam’s course won the national “Theological Education Renewal Award” from the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, a center committed to the integration of Christian faith, life, and ministry.
The seminary’s goal is that God will use these programs to make every member of the community “mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
About the Author
Duane Kelderman is interim pastor at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. He is a convener of the realignment project described in this article.