When most people hear the word capital they think of investing in gold, silver, shares of stock, investments in company's startups, and so forth. These are some of the various ways of gaining assets that yield rewards and income over a period of time; usually over a long period of time. There are, however, other forms of capital that a person may invest in and gain continual assets. Education is one of these capitals. Time, effort and money spent in educational pursuits are investments in human capital. Investment in educational capital will never result in a loss. You cannot be separated from the knowledge, values and skills in the way you can be separated from your physical and financial assets. Lifelong education produces lifelong results. Education in ministry is one of the most important capital investments you will ever make as a servant of God.
Worth is a key word that is related to capital. Continual investment in education increases your worth as a minister and member of society. Because of your continual investment in education capital you are able to stay ahead of the ever changing curve in culture, ministry methodologies, and personal challenges. Doctrine doesn't change; methodologies do.
"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "you will never grow." This is in harmony with Paul's statement in 2 Timothy 2:15, as translated in the King James, "Study to show thyself approved unto God." This is not a onetime pursuit; got my diploma or degree, and now I'm set for life. It is our continuing quest to "grow up into the fullness of the measure of Christ" (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16). Nothing is sadder than a man who thinks he knows it all, while life and opportunities are passing him by.
Almost daily we hear the research stats relative to the monetary gains from a high school diploma, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. This makes sense because the more you know, the higher your skills, and the variety of experiences you have gained raises your chances of advancement in life; even in ministry.
Many professions require continuing education units every year in order to stay qualified. This is an investment in education capital. Unfortunately the church doesn't require such continuing education of her ministers. This may be why many ministers seem to be content with remaining status quo. They are wondering why their yesterday training in methods isn't producing fruit today.
I am not a prophet but based on what I have seen, and am presently seeing, the church is fast moving toward requiring higher levels of educational capital of the ministers they hire. As the level of educational capital increases in the pew, it will be required in the pulpit and classroom. Right or wrong-this is reality. Even if this wasn't true; the minister should want to be a lifelong learner.
There are four basic areas that make up the whole (synergism) of education capital relating to ministry. These are the fields that must be addressed in a relational manner in order to insure a balanced result:
- Continual growth in knowledge (cf. John 8:32; 2 Timothy 2:1- 3; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 1 Timothy 2:15).
- Continual development of skills needed for a balanced ministry; this includes methodologies to address a changing world.
- Continual development of character (i.e. Integrity, ethics, morals, etc.): "into the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-16).
- Continual passion for the ministry and growth in Christ-"fire in the bones" must continue to glow (Jeremiah 20:9). Passion is the driving force behind acquiring education capital.
There are numerous ways to invest in education capital: reading, attending seminars and workshops; study groups; watching media presentations, and so forth. The possible limitation of these is they don't require work. This is why a sound academic program, such as the MBS provides an excellent opportunity to invest in education capital.
Before you would invest in any physical investment opportunity for capital gain, you would investigate it thoroughly. Right? You need to do this also relative to our online MBS offering at the World Bible Institute. Does the education offer meet some of these requirements?:
- Does it have a solid, well-managed portfolio (curriculum, faculty)?
- Is the plan diverse (requires research, study, participation, etc.)?
- How regularly do you have to invest (study habits, deadlines)?
- Is it affordable (how much does it cost, how may I finance it)?
- Will it pay continuing dividends (in my ongoing ministry)?
- How flexible is the plan (may I enroll at any time)?
- What are the rules (qualifications for enrollment, etc.)?
- May I complete the program in my present ministry?
- Is the program delivered online?
- Are required books and course materials easy to acquire?
These are but a few of the observations that will help you decide on how, when and where you will continue your lifelong investment in education capital. DO IT NOW! Investment in education capital will pay dividends the rest of your life.
J.J. Turner, Ph.D.
Chancellor, World Bible Institute
Chancellor, World Bible Institute