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Tony Merida: Welcome to “Churches Planting Churches,” a podcast on the theology and practice of church planting. I’m your host, Tony Merida.
We believe that healthy leaders plant healthy churches. Therefore, we value theological training and spiritual development among pastors and planters. Biblical literacy is becoming rare as theological confusion grows around the world and we must combat theological poverty with robust theological training of pastors. Pastor training is critical to our mission and Acts 29 trains pastors and aspiring planters in a number of ways.
The newly announced Grimké Seminary is one of those ways. Grimké exists to train pastors and planters who are characterized by theological clarity, cultural engagement, and missional innovation. Grimké specializes in training men for the realities of pastoral ministry. Grimké trains pastors and planters in the church, by the church, and for the church.
With me on the podcast today to tell us about this new seminary are my good friends, live and in-person, Bryan Laughlin, CEO of the seminary and lead pastor of Remnant church in Richmond, Virginia, and Doug Logan, Grimké president and pastor for church planting at Remnant.
Guys, it is a great joy to have you in the flesh, in-person, right here on the A29 “Churches Planting Churches” podcast.
Doug Logan: Oh, man. Good to be here, big bro. We stuck in here, man. Just, you know how we do. We about to, you know…we gonna chop it up for the Lord, for the glory of Christ.
Tony: It’s so exciting because we have these monthly meetings to talk about Grimké. I didn’t say in the intro that I serve as the dean of Grimké Seminary.
Tony: Until they, at least, they find a real one.
Bryan Laughlin: Oh, goodness. Oh, goodness. Can’t get any more real than you, Pastor Tony.
Tony: And, normally, I’m up in Richmond to having these meetings, but they were gracious enough to come down to my neck of the woods. And we just wanna have a podcast talking about theological training. Wanna talk about a little bit about Grimké and let people know what’s up because we’re starting next semester, right?
Bryan: Yes, in January.
Tony: So, we’re recording this right now in November of 2019 and the plan is to start class next semester, right B?
Bryan: Yeah. Absolutely, starting January 1. Well, January 6th, I believe, but still got time to apply. So, absolutely.
Tony: So, tell the listeners a little bit, as brief as you can be, Doug, your story, how you came to faith and how you got to this point, man. Brief as you can be, Doug.
Doug: Brief as you can be.
Tony: that caveat there.
Doug: That’s a racial statement. But, man. Yeah, man, the Lord saved me back in ’96, man. I was an unsaved Christian, if you will. I was a church boy, man, dating an atheist at the time, man. Lord just radically saved us, saved me one night and saved her about a week later. We’ve been married nearly 25 years since that day. Yeah, man. And in that journey, man, my wife is white so I experienced challenges in both worlds, in the black church and in the white church, if you will. You know, those are broad-brush terms.
But, man, I landed in and around Acts 29 and my spiritual father, my father in the ministry, my pastor, Dr. Eric Mason, just grabbed up on me around 2006, 2005 and we’ve been banging since then, man. And planted me in 2011 in Camden. And got 3 boys, 21, 22, and 30. And 21’s in Bible College, 22’s about to get married, and 30 is grown with my 3 grandkids.
So, yeah, man. So, for me, landing here with Grimké Seminary has been a dream and a vision to see a seminary work with the church, for the church that people might be trained in context. I like to call Grimké a seminary for the underdogs, guys who have deep desire but lack the relational connection to get in, and financial viability. So that’s what lands me there. So, man, by God’s grace, planted a few churches in Camden. Epiphany Baltimore, Epiphany Gloucester City, Epiphany Brooklyn. You know, coach and serve guys. And Cruciform Church in Florida. All Acts 29, man.
And from there, we just wanna see those guys train and develop, so Grimké is a natural outflow for that. So that’s where I’m at.
Tony: That’s good. I wanna come back to some of the distinctives of Grimké in just a moment. B, tell us your story, how you got to this point.
Bryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll try to keep it concise. I don’t know if I can, you know, be any more concise than Doug, of course, but my story’s pretty…I feel like, at this point, you know, with those types of questions, I’m what you might call classically de-churched [SP]. I grew up, when I was really young, parents in the church, got divorced when I was really young, eight or nine, and out of the church all the way through to my mid-20s. So I got a lot of Gospel Bible church hopping around a little bit when I was young then just out of the church.
My dad was a classically…you might say he was a frustrated preacher’s kid. I was keeping it cordial. And so, we got a lot of Bible within…a whole disdain for the church and all that kind of stuff. So, I had somebody when I was in college start sharing the Gospel with me. Again, revisiting. And he was a good friend of mine. Said, you know, he’d recently become a Christian. I said, “Well, that’s wonderful, man.” I said, “Shoot, I’ve been a Christian all my life so let’s keep partying.”
And he said, “Well, nah, nah. You know, nah, it’s a little bit different at this point.” I said, “Okay.” So, we started talking a whole bunch to the Lord, ended up working graciously through those circumstances to kind of come to faith. Got plugged into a Baptist church and my wife had grown up there. Always been in the church, praise God. We met, got married. Well, I was there a couple years. We met there and started dating, got married in six months. And it’s been over 15 years now. Four kids, two girls, two boys. It’s just been amazing.
So, I was a Sunday school teacher for, like, seven years, just trying to tell people about Jesus, pastoral recommendation. They said, “You know, you ought to go to a seminary.” So I went to seminaries for a long time and through that, a lot of counsel and discernments, seemed like church plan was a good fit for me. Planted in Richmond about a little over 10 years now and it’s just been beautiful to see what God’s done ever since. So, Grimké is, in many ways, just the outgrowth of the desire to make disciples, train up leaders, and the fact that we can do it better together. So, that’s been the journey.
Tony: And I’ve known both of these guys for some time, and we started the conversation about theological education a while back. We had individual conversations with each other. Bryan, I remember last year, we were talking in Germany actually about theological training, and I know you and Doug were talking and then the next thing I know you asked me to be a board member of this new seminary, right?
Bryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tony: How did Grimké come about?
Bryan: Well, that’s a great question. Well, I think it’s been a long journey. So, Grimké, as a seminary, as a formal institution, really has been the outgrowth of the desire to plant churches and train up pastors and church planters in the church and see the mission go forth. So, a lot of it was, as God continues to give favor, talk with other pastors, with other churches that there’s a way that we could do it that would be very helpful in a formalized way. And, essentially, out of those types of conversation, Grimké was kind of born in a lot of ways.
It’s been…I know Pastor Doug and I have talked for a long time, has been a similar dream that the Lord has kind of placed on his heart in a lot of ways. And, of course, I’ll let them comment to that but…
Tony: Doug, tell us about some of your burden, how Grimké is, in some ways, a dream that you’ve had for a long time.
Doug: Yeah. So, you know, coming up in the church and then, you know, lack of a better term, becoming reformed in my theology, the natural process for those is to go to seminary. However, for me, those seminaries were expensive. They would pull me out of ministry and they didn’t speak to my cultural context. And so I needed a Rosetta Stone to go from seminary to the street and I did that. I had good coaches and good people around me that helped me do that, but I just don’t think that was the direct route. So, for me, it’s been a dream of mine and a process and I’ve been building on it, playing with it. Of course, it wasn’t called Grimké. It had many names.
Bryan: We don’t need to revisit those.
Doug: They were all pretty awful. They were all pretty awful. But over these years…and then, for years we tried to partner with other schools. Me, particularly, tried to say, “Man, we should have an urban department, an urban MA, an urban DMin, an urban something,” and a couple of schools had that, then they didn’t. And so, it was then my push to try to see a school built out for that, and I particularly wanted a program at a school for that.
And then, when that did not materialize, man, I wound up in Bryan Laughlin’s office and I was dreaming that. And then he says, “You know what? I’ve been dreaming that, too.” And if you know Bryan Laughlin’s office, he’s got a whiteboard and markers and then next thing you know, his dream of many, many years in his soul, my dream of many, many years in my soul, we used the markers and came up with it. And, I mean, your name came to the picture right off the table and that’s what it is.
I wanted to have a in-context seminary that would help to train without the removal, the snatching out of the leader. And I wanted that to have immediate implications on long-term commitments to church planting and extended and immediate effectiveness. And so, that was our dream, and we wanted to be accessible and affordable. So, I said, “My stuff wasn’t accessible or affordable. It was affordable because, by God’s grace, man, everybody gave me a scholarship. By God’s grace.” And so…but everybody will go and get that.
Bryan: Everybody always gave me a job.
Doug: And so, yeah, man. So right off the top, man, we just thought accessible, affordable. We wanna work directly with churches. We don’t wanna be like a parachurch. We wanna be with the church, come alongside them for their increased effectiveness and long-term growth, man.
Tony: It’s good, man. I wanna come back to a few of those. Tell the listeners, they don’t know who Grimké is.
Doug: Oh, man, Frances Grimké was born a slave. The actual slave owner, the plantation owner’s last name was Grimké. And, of course, he fathered Frances through his mother, who he owned. And upon that, Frances was supposed to be released upon his death. That didn’t happen, so he jumped into the Confederate War for a second to get away. Wind up going to school. Talk about a guy that gets an opportunity. His sisters were famous abolitionists. He gets an opportunity. He goes to school to study, study law to Howard.
And then from there ends up, sensing the calling from God to pastor churches, ends up at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. Hodge was the big boy then, the president then, and then went on to pastor for years and years. So, he is the story that I love. He’s one of my heroes in the faith as a black Presbyterian.
Tony: Because he went on to pastor for years, right, in D.C.?
Bryan: Forty-five, forty-five.
Doug: Yeah, 45, man. And some would say more because he left for a minute and came back. But he pastored, a faithful pastor, writer. Man, just a committed cat. Killed it for the glory of Christ. And, yeah, I don’t know how he lasted that long with Presbyterians, but he did. Yeah, man, so he was one my heroes.
Tony: So, he embodies in some ways the story of the underdog, right? You talked about earlier. Also, we’ve talked about the fatherless ministry being attracted hopefully to Grimké.
Tony: You’ve talked about spiritual fathers, the importance of that, and we certainly wanna do that, right, to be not just dispensers of information but we wanna foster the whole development and serve all of our students in a way that, you know, addresses the heart, the mind, the local church, all of it.
Bryan: Yeah, everything. I mean, you know, it’s a practitioner school in many ways. I mean, we want to be a school for pastors and planters and, therefore, has a specific application in mind all the way through the theological training so that they might lead in local churches or plant local churches then, further to the mission, make disciples. And that DNA of who they are and the type of training they receive is reproducible in their local context.
So it’s not they have to outsource training, but they can then begin to see a whole host of maturation and leadership development within the church. So, you’re not just seeing the great, glorious work of reaching those who do not know God and come to know Him, but also seeing them raised up. Disciples made all the way through matured leaders, matured…so that within the churches, you should have a whole tapestry of practitioners, including pastors and planters that flow out of the work that you’re doing in a local context.
Tony: Doug, take us through the life of a student, right? So, somebody listening to this right now, they’re interested in Grimké. What does it look like? You’ve mentioned some of the affordability, the accessibility, but like maybe some details. What does a guy need to do to, like, get the process started? How much money does he need to be planning on? What does it look like if it’s Doug Logan, young Doug Logan, looking to go into Grimké? Walk us through that.
Doug: Well, if it’s young Doug Logan, I’m calling and I’m trying to guilt the administration of the school to give it to me for free. However…
Bryan: Not gonna work with this administration.
Doug: It’s not gonna work here. I’m the guy who does that. That’s not gonna work here.
Bryan: Old Doug Logan.
Doug: Old Doug Logan. So, the new Doug Logan would say, “Welcome. We’re so glad you’ve applied.” We want that application fee for a second. We want…we would say, “Hey, man. It’s gonna be about a two-year journey and you’re gonna do a majority of it, about 75% to 80%, through your church and through an online vehicle for submission of papers and actual practice of that under the tutelage and accountability and headship of your elders or your pastor. The rest, you’re gonna come and do some intensives. We’re gonna need you to save a couple nickels to fly into Richmond. We got some food when you get here. We’re gonna have to ask you to save a couple nickels for a place to crash and we’re gonna do our best to help you along with that, but you’re gonna spend some time, some intimate time with us for those days.”
“And over that two-year period of time, you gotta be ready for about three to four trips a year for two years. And it’s an intensive. Not just those weekends are intensive, the program has a level of intensity to it. But it’s designed to keep you in your role but increase your effectiveness in that role. And it’s not just all practice. It is theological. So, from zero to start, we would say, apply, we respond. And you’re looking at, give or take, 10 grand. And so, just think, $2,500 per semester for four years.”
“And so, if you break that down into restaurant food, you break that down…if you own a couple of Pierre Jourdans, you break that down into…if you’re like me and you buy a lot of Polo, you break that down, bro, you can get a quality education into you.”
Tony: And I think it’s important for people to know, that’s incredibly cheap for theological training. And so, the scholarship is built into the actual, you know, asking price.
Doug: It’s built in… Somebody at Thriving Conference recently in Philly I get to serve at, he came up to me and said, “Pastor Doug, I wanna come to Grimké, but I will struggle with coming up with the $10,000 for the first semester.” And I said, “Bro, that’s for the whole program.” He started laughing and said, “You are lying,” and I said…
Tony: Yeah, yeah. It’s a whole master’s degree.
Doug: “Bro, that’s the whole joint,” and he was like, “Okay, my bad.”
Tony: Well, the other question we got up there in the Q&A was, “It’s so cheap, everybody’s going to apply. How are you gonna keep enrollment down?”
Doug: They did say that.
Tony: And I’m not sure we’re trying to keep enrollment down.
Doug: I’m sure we’re not.
Tony: Anybody listening to this, we would love to have you starting in January, right? So they need to get it in quick, right, B?
Bryan: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I mean, one of the beauties, I think, the reason we’re not trying to keep enrollment down is because of the nature of the way the seminary is set up to be an essential partner with the local church. So we’re really…one of the things that’s been extremely encouraging to a lot of already existing pastors that are pursuing the degree or folks that are going through either pastoral training or church planting residency is already affirming them in their roles. So, if you’re already an existing pastor, we’re coming along saying, “You’re not a B-pastor. Like, you’re a legit pastor. Like, God’s entrusted you to shepherd a congregation well, to teach them the Scriptures, to further the mission, to make disciples. And you don’t need the degree in order to actually become a real pastor.”
“So, therefore, your ongoing theological training, even at Grimké, is a complement to the role you’re already in.” That’s already to affirm them that you’ve already arrived, if you will, as a pastor. And, therefore, it has a whole different posture change as they’re actually going through it. They’re not saying, “Well, I gotta…” Even guys that may say, “I might be on the three or four-year so I’m not able because, you know, I have a lot of pastoral responsibilities. I’m not able to do it as quickly as Doug was mentioning.” But it’s something that can be even a three, four, five-year process because pastors are always learning. And so I think that’s massive.
Tony: Yeah, absolutely. The two-year isn’t, you know, you have to finish in two years, but we talk about the two-year thing because achievability is very important, that some guys look at degree programs and it looks so daunting and overwhelming that they’ll never be able to finish this. And you really can finish the degree here. It doesn’t mean you might not do another degree in your life or that you’ve now conquered every subject. That’s certainly not the case. But you can come in and stay where you’re at affordably, be in your context, and finish your degree.
Bryan: Yeah. The other great compliment has been for guys that are going through pastoral training at a local church or they’re going through a church planner training is we’re there to build up their local pastor. So, our primary emphasis to them is your pastor who is training you is your primary theological instructor. He’s the one you’re looking to to actually put refinement on what you’re being taught at the seminary. We, as fellow practitioners, are in support of their training.
And so, we really…it’s not one of those things where, “Well, my professor said this and, you know, what are we doing at our church?” No. We exist to support the local church, support pastors in their local context and build them up as the primary ones who are responsible for training and providing theological instruction to the men going through their programs.
Tony: That’s good. That’s good. Now, we talked about some of the distinctives, the degrees. What degrees are we talking about, B?
Bryan: It’s great. Well, we offer…M.T.S. That’s the Master of Theological Studies. Thirty-six hours for the core, 48 hours across 3 concentrations. You can do pastoral leadership, urban ministry, or church planting for the 48-hour concentration. And then, we also offer a full Bachelors of Divinity that’ll have overlapping coursework. For those that maybe haven’t had an undergraduate degree, there’s no need because, as the churches are saying, it appears that God gifts you in these ways. You know, we’re affirming these things and we want you to get some further theological education. Then they would just enter into the Bachelor of Divinity degree.
Doug: And another thing that’s important, we’re all Acts 29, man, and when I was going through the Acts 29 process when I was in my residency, I was going through assessment. I was going through RTS at the time. I was on staff in a residency, a dual residency at Tenth Pres and Epiphany Philly. And then I was going through ordination for PCA. I was going through ordination at Epiphany. It was so much the beauty of us. If you are in a residency and you haven’t planted yet, you can go through our two-year process, do a two-year residency, a two-year degree, and over that two years, you can get your assessment done for Acts 29 all synchronized into one beautiful picture.
And for you guys who have degrees, I be getting questions and texts and all that. Yeah, man, come take our urban program. We’ll give you a certificate if that’s what you want. We’ll make it pretty. We’ll put cool little logos on it. Cool. We really want…it is our heart to educate, strengthen. I think about that Acts 14, to strengthen, encourage church planters in context. Paul goes out, after he gets beat down, comes back to the scene of the crime to strengthen and encourage. So, we’re saying, “Look, we wanna come back and strengthen and encourage you. Sure, you’ve got an MDiv, but I bet you, you can learn some more. And I bet you, we…I think we could help you.”
“And so we want you to come through. And if you only wanna do the four urban, come on through. We’d love to have you.”
Bryan: Yeah. I mean, it’s very much…we’ve kind of talked about this before, is the difference between, I think Carl Ellis uses this…distinguish between theological approach and the jazz theology. So, we have a lot of guys that went through a, what you might call a classical approach to learning theology and education. A lot of that has great benefit, but also, when you’re coming to learn how to play jazz, it’s a little bit different environment. So, you know, a lot of the conversation…you know, “Aren’t we basically, even though I’ve been through, you know, Bible undergrad or I already have a Master of Divinity or something like that, aren’t we basically gonna be learning the same thing?”
I was like, “No, we’re actually learning to play music in a whole different way.” So, the basic instrumentation you’re using or the actual laws of music, harmony, all those things, how they work, applies, but actually how you play and the type of music we’re trying to produce is a different thing. It’s a different thing in a lot of ways because it’s essentially wed up to the church and building up the church and that sort of thing.
Tony: Yeah, you guys are hitting on what kind of students we might have at Grimké. The way I’ve been thinking about it in a helpful, perhaps alliterated form is Grimké can be a foundational school. And so if you’ve had no formal training, you may wanna do more later in your life. Amen to that. But this is a good starting point. It might be a finishing school. So, perhaps you already have an MDiv, but you felt like some of the more practical courses didn’t really prepare you well.
You’re gonna be taught by, you know, current pastors in all of these courses. Everything will have an eye on church planting and urban ministry and ministry in the 21st century, so it can be a real finishing school for you. And then, the other category, I’m just calling it the “finally” category, guys who started a program and they’re finished and, you know, they got 20-some odd hours or whatever at an institution, they don’t need our school per se. They don’t need a degree per se. But they would like to finish and they would like to take the courses especially that they haven’t had yet.
So, you know, they got 20 hours and something, but they never had Theology II or III or an Old Testament course or whatever. So, I’m assuming we’re gonna have a blend of all of those. So, you got some “finally” categories, guys who’ve been pastoring for a while, and you got some guys who had a degree, may have had a good experience, but really want to hone in on stuff like preaching and church planting and really practical ministry, and then guys who are really young and this is gonna be a real stretch for them academically, perhaps theologically, and that’s good, too. So, I think that mixture is gonna be a good gumbo, don’t you, D?
Doug: You know I do. I’m looking forward to it, man. I just think it’s gonna be at the first intensive, the combo in the room is just gonna scream diversity. And when I say diversity, I don’t just mean color. I mean socioeconomics, background, denomination, theological, from cessationist to continuationist to… I love it.
Tony: What is our theology, Bryan? What’s the Grimké statement of faith?
Bryan: Let me add before I chase that one too bad too far. It does serve especially in our, you know… One of the greatest questions you can ever ask is, “What time is it?” And the role of furthering education. So, as a pastor, we want pastors that are pastoring 30, 40, 50 years like Grimké did, then you have to further your education. So, we cannot become old dogs that cannot learn new tricks or we actually can’t stay on mission because the culture is always throwing new things at us, and so therefore require us to be in constant dialogue with other pastors and practitioners that are constantly working out this good news.
What theology is Grimké? Wasn’t that great? That was a great question. We are a seminary that is in official partnership with Acts 29 Network. So, as Doug mentioned, we’re not exclusively for pastors and those who are in pastoral training or church planter training, those who are in Acts 29 only. So we have folks from all different denominational traditions. But, theologically, we’re broadly, you know, a Gospel-centered, evangelical, rightly understood in theological terms, not cultural terms institution. And so, we also affirm the Acts 29 Statement of Faith. Those sort of things are kind of our foundational theological anchors that is very much, in a lot of ways, if you could say it, it has a very hard Gospel center and then it’s a continuing, flexible discussion about how we work these things out in the lives of the church.
Tony: You the dean, you know it.
Bryan: I was about to say, yeah, yeah. I don’t even know why I bit on that one. I just need to punt it back to the dean and let him chase that. I’m just…
Tony: I don’t know what a dean does.
Doug: You dean.
Bryan: I’m just over here telling everybody we got a school over here.
Tony: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right, yeah.
Bryan: I would say, one of the things that Grimké can offer theologically is when we think about theology, we wanna have a conversation. We wanna have a Jesus conversation, a Gospel conversation, and not as a platitude or label but as something that requires much work, not just to understand well but also to work out well. And so, a lot of the questions we ask…one of the things that keeps coming up with a lot of students applying or questions is helping folks understand that we’re talking about a very different cultural vision of how we think about theology, what are the implications for leadership in the church, the church and its mission, how we understand all those things.
All of that requires a lot more than kind of a one-sentence answer. So, you know, a lot of the conversation right now is stilted and it’s not rich. It’s not deep and it’s not been official. You know, old cats might say, a lot of heat, not a lot of light. And so, let’s talk, is what I would say. Let’s talk.
Tony: That’s good. That’s good.
Doug: Amen, man. I’m excited about the lineup of teachers, lineup of subjects. We’re gonna be robustly Christ-centered. Robustly Christ-centered. And, you know, we have a theological vision. You know, it flows out of our centrality in Christ, so we are looking forward to that. See, oftentimes, there’s this great dichotomy between, you know, the practitioner and then the theologian. We wanna marry those two and that’s what Grimké is all about, the marriage of those two and really pushing people out and giving them the necessary tool belt we believe to be effective and have long-term effectiveness over time and plant other churches with a new paradigm.
And, again, when Pastor B was talking about, you know, classical music and jazz, the classical and jazz, classical ain’t mad at jazz and jazz ain’t mad at classical, but they are different.
Bryan: No. No, no.
Tony: That’s good. That’s good.
Bryan: Well, one keeps me dancing, you know. So, I would say, to your point about the dichotomy, I think what is distinct is a lot of…we want theological practitioners that have big heads and big hands and big hearts.
Bryan: So, a lot of times, you have folks that maybe are formally trained. This is why Grimké is great for those who have a lot of theological education because it serves, as you said, as a finishing school, whereas your head’s very big but you got really small hands.
Bryan: You’re not able to reach out and help anybody, but you sure got a thought about it. Isn’t that wonderful? But on the flipside, because especially in the church planting world, it’s very working class, you might say, in a lot of ways, it’s ground and pound, it’s [inaudible 00:31:04], those dudes got some calloused up, big boy, strong hands. But we wanna ensure that their theological minds are big enough where they’re able to continue building for a lifetime, they have the theological richness where they’re not beating one another with hammers, or they’re not rooted deep enough where they are not able to deal with the changes that the mission throws at them or the job throws at them as they continue to grow. So, the wedding up of, you know, theological practitioners, pastor theologians, is essential in a lot of ways.
Tony: Amen. Amen. I can’t wait. We start next week. If you want more…next week. We start next year, next semester. Gosh, in a couple of months.
Tony: For more information, they can go to the website grimkeseminary.org.
Bryan: .org, yes.
Tony: And get all the information. What is next semester looking like right now, B, in terms of perhaps your projection of students? And then, we’ve talked about these intensives, what does that look like when a student comes in for that?
Bryan: It’s a good question. At this point, like I said, a lot of the way enrollment works is our official open application is through the 15th, which would happen to be this Friday as we’re recording. But, of course, we’ll have a 30-day until December 15th for you to finalize all your enrollment. So, in reality, you can go ahead and apply and get everything completed by the 15th of December, even all the way up to the 1st of the year. So, based on that, it seems like we should have at least a solid class of 50-plus students over the first semester. So we’re looking forward…it’s just…
Doug: It’s amazing.
Bryan: I mean, I always say, I would’ve killed to have gone to our seminary. I know it sounds audacious and I don’t wanna overpromise and under…
Tony: You probably shouldn’t commit a crime, but I know what you’re saying.
Bryan: Right, yeah, yeah. It’s a metaphor. We’ll talk about the various genres of the Scripture and how to actually work through those, but I’m excited about the intensives. The intensives, the reason they’re so important is not just, “Oh my goodness, all day lectures through the courses, blah, blah, blah, because we gotta do that.” They are gonna be fully immersive experience where you will be with, as you mentioned before, Pastor Tony, other brothers who are pursuing pastoral ministry or church planting. So you have a serious sense of calling, commitment towards leadership within a local church as a pastoral planter.
Yeah, so those would be the students that are there with you. They’ll be fully immersive environments for the three to four days that we’re all together. So, it won’t just be instruction time, although we’ll have that and that’ll be very rich, it’ll be times where we’ll have chapel. We’ll have preaching. We’ll have lecture series. We’re gonna have worship. All of our meals will be spent together, breakfast, lunch and dinner all the way into the evening alongside other practitioners.
So, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to build a rich, communal, inviting friendship component into how the intensives are actually accomplished. Even, when you think about the lectures, the lectures will not be a time of regurgitation of whatever book we just read that’s 7,000 pages. It’ll actually be the distillation of that theological content into practical categories for this is how this actually works out and how you preach, how you build a church, how you make disciples, how you develop leaders, how you actually reach the culture, all of those sorts of things. You’ll have that level of conversation.
I remembered longing, when I went through my theological education, “If I could just sit down with one pastor and have an hour-long conversation,” that would’ve been magic. So, I know, men, we’re all hungry for those things. I think that’s just gonna be an endless time.
Tony: I think that’s great vision. And, Doug, the way you said it before, is we’re gonna give a degree but we’re gonna give some hugs as well.
Tony: We wanna hug some people at Grimké. We wanna encourage one another, those who are, you know, currently pastoring and those who are seeking to pastor. I can’t wait for that relational component.
Doug: I’m looking forward to it. And, Pastor Tony, on the front side, we wanna have that conversation going in. So in simple, I’ve been getting text messages and emails, “Yo, Diddy, what about du, du, du, du?” If you’ve got credits, all the three categories you said, just fill out the application, send it in. We’ll help sort through it.
Tony: Yeah, let’s go.
Doug: Yeah, let’s just go. Just send your stuff. We’ll help you figure it out. So, we wanna be relational on the front side, in the middle, and we’re gonna put you out relationally with your degree.
Tony: And one final and very important note I would add is, because every student has a coach or ideally their pastor, those who are currently pastoring, you know, that we’ll assign a coach to, we need them to be coaches and pastors. So, if they’ve got only 12 credits left to finish, you know, at Grimké, come in and do those 12 and then help us…
Tony: Build out the school. You’re gonna actually be a huge player in this, right?
Doug: That’s wonderful.
Tony: All right, Grimké Seminary, grimkeseminary.org starting next semester. Super excited, guys. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Bryan: Thanks, Pastor Tony.
Doug: Thank you, Pastor.