Do You Need a Bible Degree for Ministry?
By Adam Becker
Today I was surfing through my newsfeed on my personal Facebook page and I say an ad for getting a degree from a Bible college for ministry. It had all kinds of comments so I thought I would take a look at the comments. There were over a thousand comments. As I scrolled through them, I noticed a pattern. It seemed that all the comments were from Christians who were against someone getting a degree to go into ministry and were against formal Bible education. I honestly had no idea so many people were against it. That led me to write this article and got me to thinking about the whole being an educated minister thing.
Years back when I felt called to ministry, I was told by a pastor that I had to have an education. I first enrolled in a non-accredited Bible school for people wanting to be in full-time ministry that was affiliated with a Minister that did itinerant ministry at our church as well as churches all over the United States. It was a good charismatic education and I remember God really doing all kinds of things in my life when I was in it. It was during that time that I found my calling as a prophetic minister. But later I ended up going to a denominational church and the pastor there said that an unaccredited ministry school was not good enough. I needed to go to a well known accredited one, so he recommended the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Founded by the great DL Moody. I have to say founded by the great DL. Moody because while mainstream Christianity knows that Bible college well. Charismatic Christians seem not to. They hear the name Moody in it and think it is some fake college. I have even had charismatic Christians attack me over it and say I went to some flim-flam school. But in any case, I enrolled in it and later got my degree in Biblical Studies. I was called, and I had an anointing, but education certainly helped me.
So personally, I found good things about education. It has also opened doors for me to pastor a couple of churches and get legitimately ordained. But there are so many Christians that believe that all you need is an anointing and you will succeed in ministry. While having an anointing is needed its not everything. You can be the most anointed person in the world and go nowhere. The world is filled with gifted failures. People that were gifted but didn’t take and ground. If there is any advice, I could give someone who is going into ministry is it’s not about what you know or giftings it’s about who you know! Connections are key to ministry. If you don’t have the right connections and know the right people you are going nowhere. Well at least on the level that most people measure success. Some people are happy with just touching a few peoples lives and not really going places which is great, but a lot of people want more. That is where connections come into play. But other than connections a formal Bible education sure does help.
I have met some really smart educated Christians and minsters who have no Bible degree. Some have even gone places. I know myself I once was in college to get a certificate in Psychology and took some classes then realized that I could learn psychology without the classes and spending all that money. I looked at all the classes I would have to take and found out the psychology textbooks that each class required. So, I quit college, went on Amazon and found those textbooks used for under $50 each. I read the books and learned just about everything I would have learned in the classes and saved myself thousands. I got the education without the degree and debt. Really you don’t need a degree to get an education in something. But also, I want to point out that there is a lot of ignorance in Christian ministry. Many cult leaders who led people into some really bad stuff and even death were led by uneducated people. If you want to be a professional in something you need to get educated and be well informed on the subject. So, no you don’t need a degree, but education is a good idea.
A while back I saw a show on TV about a minister. The preacher was an itinerant minister and he preached at a lot of churches and did so for many years. The strange thing about him was he couldn’t read. It didn’t sound like anything was wrong with him he just didn’t have a grade school or high school education. I found that odd. As I thought about it, I wondered why God wouldn’t want him to learn to read? The God I know is always calling us to be all we can be. He is always challenging us to learn and grow in life. It would only make sense that God would challenge that man to learn to read so he could be more. And that is how God is, God wants us to learn and grow and be all that we can be. The Bible says to “study to show thyself approved; it also says that I might be all things to all men to further the Gospel.” I don’t really know why that man never learned to read but I do know that God wants us to study and learn according to scripture and God wants us to be all things to all people and sometimes that includes being well educated in something that we are going to be teaching.
Yes, you can be in ministry without a degree but there is nothing wrong with education. A degree may certainly be just what you need to open new doors for you. While not needed it can be very helpful. I have met some ministers with degrees who don’t know God at all and met others without a degree who do. So, you should never base your calling on a degree but if you’re a born-again Christian you should be growing, and education is part of growing whether formal or self-study. Grow on!