1. Why the name Ekklesia? The Greek word Ekklesia is the word for “assembly,” or “church,” in the New Testament. Since Ekklesia has a special outreach to local congregations in North America, and since it is a church-based seminary, we chose this name to convey these important aspects of the seminary.
2. Why a seminary such as Ekklesia Seminary? Ekklesia Seminary was birthed out of the desire for theological education to be reconnected to the local church. Along with connecting the seminary to the local church, Ekklesia seeks to provide greater accessibility for those not able to access such theological education, including implementing free worldwide theological training with a focus on overseas pastors and prison inmates through distance education.
3. What does it mean to be “church-based”? First, it means that a local church, Mount Zion Bible Church, in Pensacola, Florida, gives oversight to the seminary. Second, it means academic training should take place in the context of local church ministry. Third, mentoring relationships with local church leaders can provide for an edifying training experience.
4. What are the degrees that Ekklesia Seminary offers? Ekklesia Seminary currently offers two degrees: the Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) and the Master of Arts Degree (M.A.). The M.Div. is primarily designed for those wishing to be an elder, full or part-time pastor, missionary, or other such leadership position. This consists of completing 96 credit hours of courses and fulfilling the requirements set forth by the seminary. The M.A. degree is normally for Christian men who do not aspire to an elder equivalent position but who do desire further theological training. This consists of completing 50 credit hours and fulfilling the requirements set forth by the seminary. We are exploring Bachelor and Associate Degree options.
5. Can I take courses without signing up for the entire program? Yes, individual courses may be taken for credit without having to complete the entire degree program.
6. Can I audit courses if I am not interested in credit for a course and only want to take the course because I am interested in learning? Yes, courses can be audited without having to complete the entire degree program.
7. Can I take courses if I do not possess an undergraduate degree? Yes, men who do not possess undergraduate degrees may gain admission to the seminary. If such a student should attain a Bachelor’s degree he may petition the seminary in writing seeking approval to receive credit toward the Master’s degree for courses taken at Ekklesia.
8. Can Ekklesia Seminary legally grant degrees? Yes, Ekklesia Seminary has received a religious exemption from the Florida Department of Education. This allows the seminary to legally grant religious degrees without the oversight of the state of Florida.
9. What about accreditation? Accreditation is a long and expensive process but a process that Ekklesia is investigating. For the near future Ekklesia will not be accredited. Regardless of the accreditation, Ekklesia desires to provide a quality academic education that we believe would be accepted by any accrediting agency. Concerning the high standards Ekklesia desires to maintain, the distance education aspect includes some unique challenges. We will seek to maintain high standards while making theological training as accessible as possible. The training itself is of primary importance, accreditation less so.
10. How long does it take to complete a typical Seminary degree and what is a typical course load? It depends. The M.Div. degree is designed to be completed over three years in full-time study at a rate of sixteen credit hours per semester. However, many students will take longer because of life circumstances.
11. What is required to apply to Ekklesia Seminary?
* Active church membership
* Completed application form
* Three references
* Personal Testimony/Spiritual Autobiography
* Mentor (pastor, elder, or professor – decided in consultation with Ekklesia)
12. What should be included in the personal testimony/spiritual autobiography? A short description of your conversion, spiritual growth, desire to serve God, and reason for wanting to take courses from Ekklesia Seminary.
13. Who should I give as references? Normally, a pastor(s), professor(s), and personal acquaintances.
14. What kind of library does Ekklesia Seminary have? A library is one of the biggest challenges for a church-based seminary like Ekklesia and therefore we are exploring innovative options. Thankfully, we live in an age where technology makes access to theological books much easier and more affordable than previous ages. We are thus compiling an online resource that allows easy access to a massive number of books. Scholarship and the ability to research are important emphases of Ekklesia Seminary and thus a good library is a priority for the seminary.
15. What is the cost? In order to make theological education affordable, there is no charge for auditing a course nor is there a charge for the degree programs by distance education.
16. How can you provide this for free? God’s provision. It is only as God’s people support this ministry that it will be able to operate. One reason more Christian organizations do not offer such training for free is because of the tremendous cost involved. Yet the need for accessible training for church leaders is great. Therefore, if the Lord provides, we desire to offer worldwide access to theological training for free.
17. What are the requirements for a mentor? A mentor must be an established Christian leader that is willing to devote a portion of his ministry to mentoring students. Each mentor will be required to fill out an application and be approved by Ekklesia Seminary. He will then be teamed with one or a few students in order to oversee their educational journey through Ekklesia. Mentoring will include guiding, grading, and giving input to the student. Oversight of the mentors will be provided by Ekklesia. Different levels of education, including self-education, will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Those mentors with a Master’s or Doctorate will be teamed with students at all levels; mentors with Bachelor’s degrees will give oversight to those taking courses at the Bachelor’s or Associates level, etc.
18. When will the distance education aspect begin? Lord willing, it will begin in January 2011. We are currently investigating the feasibility of providing this aspect of theological education and waiting on the Lord’s provision.
19. What courses will be available through distance education? Eventually, the entire course of study for the Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degrees will be available, the Lord willing. It is our desire to make this available as quickly as possible. We plan to have three courses available in January 2011 and to quickly add courses from that point, including Old Testament, New Testament, Hermeneutics, Church History, Preaching, Greek, and Hebrew.
20. What methodology will be used? We will use on-line lectures and books. Where there is not internet access, we hope to provide CD/DVDs with copies of books in the public domain.
21. Who will teach the on-line courses? We will draw from available resources and seek to network with other organizations to provide easily accessible training. Usually this will take the form of on-line lectures from various excellent teachers. Our desire is to provide doctrinally sound teaching from academically-recognized individuals so that the best possible training can be provided to our students. No doubt the availability of resources will increase with time and the advancement of technology.