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Episode 43: What good is grad school for congregations and their ministers? PLUS Bible bowl bonus segment. Guests: David Shannon, Dr. Frank Yamada, Amy Bowman


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A few weeks before this episode, The Christian Chronicle reported that Oklahoma Christian University is closing its graduate school of theology due to budget cuts and declining enrollment. This latest news follows the trend of enrollment decline in Bible, ministry, and theology programs at colleges and universities with roots and ties in the Church of Christ. For some Christian Chronicle readers, it raised questions: Do graduate programs like the one at Oklahoma Christian University truly benefit local congregations? Are the costs of a graduate education really worth it for Church of Christ ministers? And how might graduate programs need to change to better prepare ministers and support local congregations in the 21st century? In this episode, you'll hear from Dr. Frank Yamada, executive director of the agency that accredits graduate programs in ministry and theology. He'll talk about the trends that are inspiring innovations in graduate education for ministers. You'll also hear from David Shannon, a 26-year veteran of local congregational minister who became president of Freed-Hardeman University in 2017. Shannon makes the case for why graduate education is important and valuable to Church of Christ ministers and congregations. PLUS, we end this one with another Bible bowl bonus segment featuring Amy Bowman, children's minister at the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Some segments edited for brevity and clarity

Link to Cheryl Mann Bacon’s Christian Chronicle report on Oklahoma Christian University closing its graduate school of theology

Segment One: The state of graduate education in ministry and theology (Dr. Frank Yamada, executive director, Association of Theological Schools)

Link to Association of Theological Schools

Link to Dr. Frank Yamada’s bio

Segment Two: The case for graduate education in ministry and theology (David Shannon, president, Freed-Hardeman University)

Link to Freed-Hardeman University Graduate School of Theology

Link to Christian Chronicle story announcing David Shannon’s appointment as president of Freed-Hardeman University (from 2017)

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Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond, Oklahoma, graduate school, graduate studies, Bible, ministry, theology, religion, seminary, minister education, minister training, Christian higher education, Christian education, Christian college, Christian university, enrollment, budget, Cheryl Mann Bacon, Association of Theological Schools, Frank Yamada, accreditation, seminary, seminaries, denominations, discipline-based, competency-based, remote

This episode brought to you by the Doctor of Ministry program at Freed-Hardeman University. Learn more and apply for free at fhu.edu/chronicle.

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