To be sure, the church in the Philippines has problems. Contrary to a common opinion, that church needs "missionaries" or fraternal workers in many areas. It needs more pastors. More of the best men and women must be recruited for theological education. The rural pastorate must be given greater dignity and financial support so as to attract able ministers who otherwise gravitate to the great city. Theological education is in need of more books for its libraries, translations of western volumes to be sure, but even more of books written by Filipinos who are provided time and resources to write out of a Philippine cultural context and in the native Tagala. More creative methods could be employed in theological education so as to produce graduates who will be students all their lives. Continuing education may well be expanded to refresh the hard-working pastor. The newer concept of the minister as the pastor-director of the people of God would do much to make theological education conscious of its task to train ministers for the situation in which they will work, and with a view to building the ministering church.
Visiting lecturers from abroad could relieve professors in seminaries of their heavy teaching schedules, and bring about a healthy exchange of theological ideas and church practices. Greater congregational financial support needs to be given to the churches and the seminaries, for a church is never quite independent until it is independent financially. And the church (and the convention) will need to take care lest its energy be spent in organization and administration, and the necessary and promising work of evangelization be neglected.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Philippine Churches Need More Theologically Educated Pastors
I found this article in the internet written by E. G. Homrighausen and I agree with his assessment regarding the problems of the church in the Philippines regardless of denomination. My experience as a Pastor in rural areas tells me that this problem is more prevalent in my denomination. However, there is still hope as more and more pastors now think they need theological education in order to become more effective in their ministries. The churches, the Convention, seminaries and theological institutions should have an on-going dialogue and consultations to address this problem.