At the 2013 General Assembly, the Church of the Nazarene prioritized the ongoing education and resourcing of its ministerial core by formally requiring that all district licensed and ordained clergy complete 20 hours of Lifelong Learning every year. To that end, the NTS Center for Pastoral Leadership has created this web portal through which pastors and other church leaders can have access to quality and relevant educational material on an ongoing basis in the four critical areas of development: Content, Competency, Content and Character. Below are some frequently asked questions about the lifelong learning process.
Why do I need to continue learning after completing the course of study?
The course of study curriculum is designed to prepare men and women to begin ministry and fulfills the educational requirements for ordination. It does not teach you everything you will ever need to know. The level of excellence in ministry to which God calls you requires a lifetime of study and learning. For example, though the Bible remains constant, methods of understanding and communicating it are constantly changing. The theology of the church changes very little in a person’s lifetime as well, but different emphases arise to meet the needs of a changing culture. To be a good steward of the ministry will require lifelong learning.
What are the lifelong learning requirements for licensed and ordained ministers?
Manual 527.6 states: “once a minister has fulfilled the requirements of a validated course of study for ministry, he or she will continue a pattern of lifelong learning to enhance the ministry to which God has called him or her. A minimum expectation is 20 lifelong hours each year.”
Can you tell me more about the four critical development areas in which all clergy should be striving to grow according to the Global Clergy Development Office?
Content – the biblical, theological, and historical knowledge necessary for ministry. Lifelong Learning events aimed at increasing knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, Christian theology and the history and mission of the Church, and that develop greater understanding with respect to the interpretation of Scripture, the doctrine of holiness, our Wesleyan distinctives, and the history and polity of the Church of the Nazarene.
Competency – the development of skills for ministry. Lifelong Learning events designed to enhance skills in oral and written communication, management and leadership, finance, and analytical thinking. In addition to general education in these areas, presentations providing skills in preaching, pastoral care and counseling, biblical exegesis, worship, evangelism, biblical stewardship of life resources, Christian education, and church administration would be examples of core competencies.
Character – the strengthening and enriching of the minister as a person. Lifelong Learning events that encourage growth in character, ethics, spirituality, and personal and family relationship is vital for the ministry. This would include presentations/events addressing the areas of Christian ethics, spiritual formation, human development, the person of the minister, and marriage and family dynamics.
Context – the deepening of the understanding of the ministry environment. Lifelong Learning events that contribute to the minister’s understanding of both the historical and contemporary context and interpret the worldview and social environment of the culture where the Church witnesses. This would include presentations/events that address the concerns of anthropology and sociology, cross- cultural communication, and missiology.
**Identifying the developmental focus assists the minister in assuring that the events in which he or she participates contribute to a well-conceived and balanced lifelong learning plan.
How can I fulfill my annual Lifelong Learning requirements?
The Center for Pastoral Leadership provides different avenues of learning which count toward the annual lifelong learning requirement. This includes live webinars, archived webinars, conferences, on campus events and more.
How do I report my participation in lifelong learning?
To assist Nazarene ministers throughout the world in tracking their progress in lifelong learning, the Church of the Nazarene has established the Lifelong Learning Registry (http://learning.nazarene.org). The Registry is a multi-lingual site available free of charge to all Nazarene clergy with internet access. By establishing a password-protected Registry account, each Nazarene minister is able to maintain a record of her/his participation in lifelong learning. In addition, reports on lifelong learning activity are available online to the minister's district and regional leadership.
The CPL partners with the Church of the Nazarene by providing a Lifelong Learning Registry Event code to subscribers each time they participate in a lifelong learning offering on the CPL website. An event code is a six to eight digit code that adds details of the learning event to the minister's Registry account automatically, rather than having to be added manually by the user. For more information about events codes and the Registry, please visit: https://learning.nazarene.org/faqs.