A WOLRDWIDE BIBLICAL SEMINARY
MINTS is a biblical worldwide seminary bringing solid biblical and Reformed teaching to the world in a way that is accessible, affordable, and flexible without compromising the truth of the gospel.
MINTS understands the great need for the training of pastors. Ninety percent of the world’s pastors working in churches today have little or no theological training. This lack of instruction leads to a weakness in biblical Christianity throughout the church, affecting both the church’s duty to grow into a mature man, in the fullness of Christ, and the church’s duty to bear witness to the nations.
MINTS is a unique educational model. It is distinctive (1) in the way it teaches, (2) in the content of its syllabus, and (3) in the aims of its teaching. MINTS is a new model in theological education. Historical and traditional methods of pastoral education work, but are very limited. The last two hundred years of christian education has not met the needs of the church worldwide. The main obstacles are:
1. Money has been put into buildings, not people, creating huge overheads. The need for libraries, the cost of books, and shipping costs all make education difficult. The focus on buildings has created a false impression concerning the aim of education. The focus becomes the building of institutions rather than simple evangelism, church planting, or church growth. In contrast, the biblical models do not require money or huge resources.
2. A great deal of teaching is done by western theologians, who understand the world from a western perspective and who teach western theology. They do not understand the local cultural issues and consequently, do not seek to biblically address them. In many cases the western educators are talking past the culture.
3. Very few educators entrust the teaching to local church leaders, thus denying the gifting of Christ to all His church.
4. Due to these factors, theological training has remained in the hands of the western educators, creating huge financial overheads, reaching only a few church leaders, and is often taught by men who do not understand the local issues. The financial costs alone mean that the local Christians will never be able to reproduce these types of training centers.
The MINTS model was developed to address these issues and return the church to a biblical educational paradigm.
MINTS’ focus is to:
1. Create a model that uses local men and their gifts that Christ has given to the church. In this way the local centers can be reproduced.
2. Train local men at Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels.
3. Develop local theologians, who are completely biblical and who understand the local cultural and theological issues in such a way that those issues can be addressed in their teaching and preaching in a manner meaningful to their flock. In so doing they produce a biblical and culturally relevant Christianity. Our DMIN program is an important part of this procedure.
MINTS is also translating the materials into local languages. MINTS is presently working in nineteen languages worldwide.
MINTS has chosen to be ‘recognized’ rather than to be fully accredited, because this allows us to provide the same standard of education while avoiding large overheads for library costs, buildings, and residence requirements in the U.S. In all these things, the seminary serves the church; it is not an end in itself.
The early Reformers used new technology, the printing press, to spread the Word; in today’s world the internet and easy worldwide travel allow us to develop new centers of Christian learning, run by local men in ways that were not possible before.
MINTS seeks to accomplish this goal (1) by creating an affordable, accessible, reproducible model, (2) by providing solid theological training, and (3) by developing self-sustainable centers.
1. An Affordable, Accessible, Reproducible Model
MINTS works through choosing local coordinators who manage each study center. We recognize that there are organized and gifted men throughout the world who want a Christian education. We find those men and work with them. If local men are not able to run a local center, or do not have the vision for the center to grow and reproduce itself with the eventual aim of training others, then they are not the men of 2 Timothy 2:2. Our goal is to train men who can train others.
To reduce costs, we meet in existing buildings. MINTS centers are held in houses, schools, and churches. Each center can also choose its own time to meet, thus allowing men to continue to work in the churches or remain in work while they study. Some centers meet on weekends, others meet during the week. Some do intensive one-week programs and others will do the same work over a month. MINTS charges no fees to the students. As we use other buildings, the only costs local centers incur are for printing and any fees for local administration (i.e. the Internet and local travel).
The low cost and flexibility of the model make it easy to start centers. It also serves as an example of how local centers can start others. We encourage all MINTS centers to begin other centers once they have been trained. The lack of focus on physical buildings allows the churches to focus on the essentials, evangelism and teaching – not on construction.
MINTS works in partnership with these local centers. Each center is responsible for its own administration, while MINTS provides the academic and theological knowledge to train men for the gospel ministry.
2. Providing Solid Theological Training
The object of MINTS is to train local men in Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels.
MINTS is a teaching seminary, providing theological education in accordance with the U.S. university model. MINTS offers degrees recognized in the state of Florida. Using a degree structure creates motivation, structured learning, and accountability in the students’ studies.
We design each program to meet local needs. Each is custom designed with regard to the courses we teach and the types of courses needed. We use materials designed to be culturally relevant to each part of the world.
It is common in many places for men in ministry not to have school-completion certificates, even though they have great ability. The certificate program provides that background. It provides a bridge into Bachelor’s level work.The Certificate program is also used for church leadership training, for elders and deacons who want to increase their biblical knowledge.
The Bachelor’s degree is issued from Florida, in the U.S. It is based on the U.S. model that requires 120 credit hours of study. This course of study includes all the main areas: biblical theology, church history, systematic theology, and practical theology.
This follows the standard U.S. master’s program. It is comprised of nineteen taught courses and a thesis.
MINTS also offers a D.MIN program, and is working on a practical MDIV program, stressing preaching, running Bible studies, developing new members’ classes, pre-marital counseling, pastoral counseling, visitation of the sick, family visitation, marriage counseling, practical advice, the administration of the sacraments, and funerals.
MINTS Training Methods
MINTS training is done through a number of different ways. These include:
1. MINTS visiting lecturers
2. Use of both an audio and visual format
3. Use of suitably trained local men
MINTS recognizes that there are many gifted men in the church. These men are encouraged to use our materials to teach others. Our courses are available online, so that they can be downloaded and used in any center anywhere in the world. All our courses are fully written out and have lesson review questions, essay questions, and a final exam. This allows the courses to be taught and properly assessed, even when we are not present. It also encourages the men to teach one another.
MINTS maintain standards by auditing each center once a year to make sure the standards are being maintained. Once grades are accepted, they are sent to Miami and are recorded by the registrar. MINTS Miami then issues graduation certificates and retains their records for future use.
Doctor of Ministry:
The Final stage of training is the Doctor of Ministry degree. Some of those who have been trained at Master’s level are now ready to write their own courses. MINTS assists them in writing their own courses which meet our theological and academic standards. The students must contextualize the teaching to make the course relevant to their own local situation. The first course is a commentary on a book of Bible. This forces them to apply the teaching of Scripture to their own situation. Using this model we are building solid biblical commentaries that apply the truth in each region of the world. As the students know their own context and culture the best, they are better able to apply the Word of God into their own culture. This approach allows us to create good quality biblical literature in every language and culture in which we have centers. We also give DMIN credit for translating existing MINTS courses into local languages. At present we have over thirty students pursuing the DMIN writing in English.
The PHD program is an extension of the DMIN Program, with the student offering a thesis, making an original contribution to scholarship in an area.
Sustainable and Reproducible Centers:
Because local centers are low cost, run themselves, and are flexible to meet the needs of the students, they can be easily reproduced. This pattern has occurred throughout Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and South America.
MINTS centers have founded other MINTS centers worldwide. Through the use of our materials, MINTS visiting lecturers, and our yearly audits of the centers, we are able to maintain control of each center. The centers also benefit from local men teaching who understand the local customs. Many western theologians do not realize the need to do this, and even the best western theologians do not have this crucial advantage.
MINTS serves the church. By equipping better pastors, the church will grow and be strengthened as we go forward. MINTS is based on Paul’s missionary model in the book of Acts of planning local centers and encouraging them to run themselves while providing theological guidance. We are always praying that the Spirit would apply the work, that He might teach and lead His church as He has promised.
Cuba started with two centers and now has seventy-one centers with 800 students. Colombia started with one center and now has thirty-seven with 600 students. When we receive requests for new centers in South America the Colombians are now able to go to set them up. We now have many centers in Africa, Central Asia and the Far East.
The original MINTS program started with discussions in Miami in 1999, with the first classes being held in 2001 with thirty students. The values that were initially designed into MINTS education were:
- an emphasis on applied scholarship, that is, time spent on making sure the theology was put to work in the world, along with an emphasis on mentorship;
- an emphasis on adult learning models as seen in class participation, discussions, and interaction.
Our philosophy is to admit almost everyone to the educational program and then help them move to a higher level in their understanding and effectiveness. These values continue to shape the entire MINTS program today.
Using our philosophy of taking the education to the people, MINTS seeks to launch multiple study centers around South Florida so that travel time is short and education can be offered in the local cultural contexts of the various neighborhoods of the area: Anglo, Haitian, African-American, Hispanic, etc. Accordingly, courses are held in a variety of locations: coffee-shops, homes, churches, bookstores and other venues.
These strategies fulfill the desire to make the program affordable so that anyone can study God’s Word!