Do Not Go To Bible College

by Harley Voogd

image

My time as a missionary in Cambodia has been teaching me that, most often, my abilities which are most useful to the people around me are the skills I learned back in Canada before I came out here.

If my son approaches me as he’s nearing completion of high school, and says he wants to be a missionary or a pastor and he wants advice on how to do that, my first instruction will be to stay out of Bible College.

Here’s what I’ll then tell him:

1) “Get a job in a construction trade, one that trains through an apprenticeship program. I’m an electrician myself, so I’ll suggest that one over any other.”

What will he learn in a trade?

a) He will learn how to value hard work and working with his hands.
b) He will learn how to be resourceful.
c) He will learn how to respect and handle money.
d) In an apprenticeship program, he will learn how to respect authority and be trained by men more experienced than him, and will eventually learn how to teach men who are less experienced than him.
e) He will learn how to steward another’s property.
f) He will learn what quality and excellence looks like.
e) He will learn how to interact and work alongside people who couldn’t care less about Jesus, and he will learn how to share/defend his faith.
f) He will learn how to work with people in general.

As opposed to going to Bible College where he will learn…

a) how to prolong his childhood.

2) “Go to your pastor and volunteer most of your free time to him and to the church. Do whatever he needs you to do, nothing is beneath you when serving the church. Serve in the church office, and/or serve in the church’s outreaches, or whatever. If your pastor has nothing, we’ll find one who does.”

What will he learn here?

a) He will learn the practical realities of ministry.
b) If he gets to spend a fair amount of time with the pastor, he will learn how the pastor deals with his own problems and the problems of the church members in a Biblical way.
c) He will learn how to share his faith in a deliberate way and how to work with other believers in doing so.
d) He will learn that the rewards for serving the church are straight from God, and not from man, and therefore may not be seen right away, but will last forever.

As opposed to Bible College where he will learn…

a) how to live in an idealistic bubble.

3) “Let’s go to my bookshelf and I will show you great books on church history, godly men, godly women, church planting, missions/missionaries, Bible commentaries, and theology. In addition to daily Bible reading and studying, read and study these books. Read different teachers with different methods and principles, and think and ask questions. Listen to different preachers online. The Bible always comes first, and anything you read by a man must hold up to the Bible, so you better know that first. In this way you will develop a strong, robust theology of your own.”

As opposed to Bible College where he will learn…

a) a dumbed down theology which mostly comes from Hillsong lyrics (I once had a full time missionary, with a B.A. in theology from Bible college, ask me where the Ten Commandments were in the Bible).

4) “If you absolutely need a degree for where you are going, then we will find a decent Bible College that offers an online correspondence program and you can get your degree without having to step into a classroom.”

As opposed to Bible College where he would…

a) waste two to four years inside a Bible College classroom.

After the four years it takes to complete his apprenticeship are over, he will have served many hours in the church caring for his fellow believers inside and doing evangelism outside, he will have read many excellent Biblical books, he will have invaluable practical wisdom from his day job, and he will have a trade which can make him some decent money. And if he did the online Bible College, he’ll have that degree too. He is ready.

As opposed to Bible College where maybe he’ll have learned to play the guitar and maybe he’ll have read most of a John C. Maxwell book or something.

Advertisements