Why go for Theological Studies? Why consider EAST?



When considering formal theological education, a couple of important questions need to be answered.  First, should I even go in the first place?  If so, then the next question becomes, where should I go?

Regarding the first concern, it should be asked, are there other and better ways to be trained and developed or is getting a formal degree the best course to take?  It is also good to ask, what is my motivation?  Do I want this degree for the status and respect it will afford, or do I see it as a genuine opportunity for growth and development that will open new doors of Christian service and a deeper level of love for and knowledge of God?

In some ways, only you can discern the answers to these questions as you seek the Lord and listen for His voice, but as you do seek Him, there are some additional issues which are important to consider.  Perhaps the biggest and most important question to answer is this: I am walking closely with the Lord?  Am I spending regular time listening to and talking with the Lord in prayer and Bible study, and am I enthusiastically obeying Him in my everyday life?

In addition, am I actively engaged in ministry and worship, living in regular and meaningful fellowship and service among a local body of believers?  As you serve and share life together with God’s people, He often reveals and confirms to you the gifts He has given you, the ways in which you are most effective, and the passions He has put on your heart to pursue.  Through the course of ministering in the church and to the world around you, other believers and pastors can provide opportunities, encouragement, wisdom, and insight into the ways you might continue to grow and develop in ministry skill, Christlikeness, and a greater knowledge of God, His word, and His world.

The church can also be a rich source of ongoing support, blessing, and strength through seasons of success and gladness as well as struggle and adversity.  In short, the church can provide one of the most important sources of confirmation, provision, and ongoing encouragement when seeking to discern if further theological education is God’s will for you.

Assuming you sincerely sense God calling you to pursue more formal training, the next big question is this: Where should I go and why?  The fact is, there are many good theological schools from which to choose, and all of them claim to help students grow in faith and be prepared for effectiveness in ministry.  The real question is how each school actually structures its programs to provide a genuinely integrated educational experience for each student that balances the head (knowledge acquisition), the heart (godly character formation), and the hands (ministry skill development).

Without apology, I suggest that of all the seminary programs in Singapore, EAST’s is unique in its ability to beautifully balance these three elements (head, heart, and hands) while encouraging the student to rely fully on the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  Through classroom instruction, school activities, small groups, ministry internships, and direct and intentional mentoring by a faculty member, every student is encouraged to grow in biblical knowledge, increase their ability to creatively and relevantly apply that knowledge, continue to mature spiritually, and gain greater effectiveness in ministerial skill.

As you consider formal theological education, one final question is often raised: Will the Lord provide?  As one who has been in ministry and lived on support for almost 40 years, I can say with bold assurance that yes, if He wants you to pursue formal theological education, God can and will provide so long as you are willing to trust and obey Him.  Come and see all the amazing things God has in store for you at EAST!

Do join the EAST Open House 2024 and discover for yourself about EAST and the EASTperience!

The reflection above is written by Rev Dr Lewis Winkler, a resident faculty of East Asia School of Theology, who is currently on sabbatical in the US with his wife Barbara, and they recently just welcomed the arrival of their newest granddaughter, Chrissy and Jason’s baby Arlyn. 

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