The Office of Theological Education is the liaison between congregations, the denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries, and the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Our work is designed to nurture and support the importance of informal theological education in congregations and the vital way formal theological education—your seminaries—nourishes the life of worshiping communities. Learn more about your Presbyterian seminaries.
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Theological education happens in all sorts of ways in a Christian’s life, whenever we ask questions, go to Sunday school and Bible studies, express doubts, inquire with our curiosity, or go to seminary. Theological education is a path of discernment and learning to think about God, who God is, and what it means to live as a beloved creature of God in the world.
In theological education, people engage in conversation and discussion, listen to the insights of others, bounce their ideas off of one another, and generally seek to deepen their understanding of what it means to live with God. Formal theological education – seminary education – exists in order to maintain the training for leadership of a culture of reflection within the church. Those who are formally trained become equipped to nurture and support the informal and more wide-spread examples of theological education that exist throughout our denomination.
In the end, theological education, both formal and informal, is all about growth in our Christian lives, deepening the relationship we have with God and the relationships we have with each other through God, in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Involve your congregation with Theological Education
Inform your congregation about the rich diversity of theological institutions related to the PC(USA) by choosing one seminary to be highlighted each month during the year. Interpretive printed materials and videos are available from the schools.
Provide information to your congregation about lecture series and continuing education courses offered by our seminaries and encourage their participation.
Encourage church school classes, youth groups and church organizations to “adopt” theological students and demonstrate support by sending cards, letters and gifts throughout the school year. Invite students to share with the congregation about their studies and campus life.
Provide practical experience for seminary students by involving them as ministry interns in the life of the congregation.
Make arrangements for church school classes or groups to visit campuses of PC(USA) theological institutions to learn more about the schools and to interact with faculty, staff and students.
Build interest in the pursuit of theological studies and Christian ministry as a vocational choice by including study and discussion about those options in church school classes and youth groups.
Establish study/action groups for people who are seeking clarity about their personal call to ministry and opportunities to pursue theological studies. Provide travel money for individuals to visit PC(USA) seminary campuses during orientation weekends.
Take advantage of seminary faculty resources by studying books and/or inviting professors to preach, speak or lead retreats for the congregation. Issue invitations early to reserve time on faculty calendars and expect to offer an honorarium as well a reimbursement for travel expenses.