5 Advantages & Disadvantages of Distance Seminary Education

For the site Best Seminary, I recently wrote two pieces about Distance Education. As I begin:

When I originally entered seminary, it was in a pretty traditional setting. A walled-in, ivy-laden campus with bearded men roaming the grounds, coffee-in-hand. We had a set schedule of classes that we dutifully went to, staring at Powerpoint presentations of varying quality, accompanied by live lecture and in-the-moment Q&A. My classmates and I would spend all our free hours together debating, arguing, refining, and sharing all our theological growth and such.

But after one year there, circumstance and convictions led me to leave that school. I worked for several years, but now I’m back in seminary, in a distance program. These two schools have similar doctrinal convictions, professorial pedigree, institutional history, and such. Therefore, I feel that I’ve been able to experience distance seminary education in a way that hopefully can give insight to anyone out there considering what sort of program to enter.

The first post gives “5 Advantages of Distance Seminary Education“:

  1. You make your own schedule
  2. You can stay invested in your church community and ministry
  3. It’s often more thoughtful and grace-filled
  4. The depth and diversity of community
  5. It’s Incarnational and humbling

The second is “5 Disadvantages of Distance Seminary Education“:

  1. You have to create your own structure
  2. You have less immediate access to the professors—or none at all
  3. It’s greater temptation to be dishonest
  4. Reading, reading, and more reading. Oh, and writing
  5. The experience is less cohesive

Click on those links for more thoughts on each of those points. And don’t forget to leave your own thoughts!

4 thoughts on “5 Advantages & Disadvantages of Distance Seminary Education

  1. Reblogged this on Herman's Neutics and commented:
    I am a seminarian (attender of Preacher Man school). I regret there not being a Board of Christian Terms by which I could lodge a complaint and appeal over the silliness of this term. The English word is taken from the Latin seminarium, translated as seed-bed, an image taken from the Council of Trent document Cum adolescentium aetas which called for the first modern seminaries (thanks, Wikipedia). My displeasure of the word aside, I realize that some of you have contemplated going to seminary one day, but have come up with a list of good reasons for not doing it. Money, relocation and schedules top most of those lists. So, consider this post from Vincent S. Artale Jr., who is a distance education seminarian. He offers practical advice for those who want a seminary educattion without all the college life particulars. The only thing I would add to this as the benefits of a hybrid education (both classroom and online classes), but that’s another tale for another time.


  2. Hey, very helpful and even disarming. I know most of the complaints some people have for not going to seminary (people who by all rights belong there). Good words, my friend.


  3. I prefer residence seminary education; somethings are caught than taught and since ministry by nature is personal, often distance learning becomes less personal even with all the technological attempt to bridge that gap.


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