Sundoulos - Spring 2006

Dean's Column

Ministry–Focused, Biblically Grounded

by Dr. Dennis Dirks

We continue to highlight the work of Talbot School of Theology faculty, this issue extending our series on ministry-focused departments to give attention to the Christian Ministry and Leadership (CML) Department. Paul’s description of the purpose for leadership is an appropriate expression of the CML faculty’s preparation of leaders: “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).

The focus of the Christian Ministry and Leadership Department, formerly known as the Practical Theology Department, is the connection between Scripture and the practice of ministry. Faculty seek to prepare students for three areas of service: to lead the body of Christ in worship; to lead and equip Christians to build up one another; and to train them to reach their community for Christ. This purpose is a logical outcome of both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. While emphasis is placed on the skills of ministry, these skills aim at assisting God’s people to become all that God intends them to be.

CML faculty are leaders and innovators in relating the changeless truths of God’s Word to the ever-changing contexts of ministry in the 21st century. Students are prepared in the grand, rich tradition of expository preaching with attention to accuracy in communicating the intent of Scripture to believers in today’s milieu. Faculty equip students with skills of personal evangelism and strategies for ministries of discipleship. They guide students toward a biblical understanding of the pastor’s call, purpose, and role in ministry, and how that understanding gives shape to leadership in worship, ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, weddings, funerals, types of visitation, church planting and growth, leadership and management, and pastoral counseling in its various forms. Students are guided in experiences of ministry while they study, giving rapid application to ministry situations.

Talbot’s innovative Intentional Character Development program was developed and is directed by CML faculty. Students are guided in deepening and enriching their relationship with God and in addressing issues of the heart that have bearing on their Christian walk and ministry. This program seeks to develop habits that will be sustainable throughout life.

Faculty themselves continue active involvement in ministry, continuing to hone skills passed along to students. They preach, teach, design and lead conferences, consult, and engage in a host of other ministry endeavors. In all their efforts, Talbot’s Christian Ministry and Leadership faculty seek to be ministry-focused and biblically grounded. It is our pleasure to acquaint you with this sterling group of faculty.

Dr. Dennis Dirks is Dean of Talbot School of Theology and Professor Christian Education. He has been with Talbot for more than 27 years as a faculty member and administrator after serving on the staff of two churches.

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