Theological Development and the Mission of the Cru

In order to make their best contribution to the mission to which God has called us, some staff will benefit from formal developmental opportunities outside of Cru. Our Continuing Education &  Graduate Study Program is designed to help make that possible.  While the vast majority of staff who participate in the Continuing Education &  Graduate Study Program will pursue biblical and theological study through a seminary, some may find it helpful to pursue other fields of study related to their unique role in Cru. 

Continuing Education & Graduate Study Program is for Full-Time RMO Staff

The policies outlined are for full-time staff who are part of the Cru Religious Missionary Order (RMO). Part-time field staff, interns, and hourly/salaried staff are not eligible to use work hours for graduate study, nor can they reimburse the cost of courses as a ministry expense.

The policies and processes outlined pertain to graduate programs and non-degree programs greater than six months in length (e.g., one-year spiritual formation certificate).  Please see the staff financial policy manual for the approval process for individual courses, seminars, language study, and professional development experiences lasting six months or less.

This key principle governs all organizationally-sponsored graduate education discussed: Any proposed education must be directly related to a staff member’s job and help them develop competencies needed to serve in their present role.

Theological Education in the Context of Ministry

If you’re considering Theological Education through our Continuing Education & Graduate Study Program, it is important to grasp our philosophy of education. We are committed to theological development in the context of ongoing ministry. Many years ago, the only viable way to receive formal theological training was to leave the field and go to school full-time (generally for several years). Although this represents the fastest way to complete a degree, a number of drawbacks accompany this, including the pace of learning (drinking from a fire hydrant), the impact on a staff member’s support (including attrition), and a staff member’s disconnection from the ministry.

This is not to suggest that full-time study is “bad.” In some cases, full-time study makes the most sense. Consider the person outside Cru who is required to obtain a graduate theological degree as a condition for employment (e.g., someone pursuing some form of church ministry). In this situation, such a person must complete his or her theological training as quickly as possible. However, because Cru staff are not required to obtain theological degrees as a condition for employment, we are free to pursue theological training at a slower, and more developmentally beneficial pace.

There are several benefits to pursuing theological training in the context of ongoing ministry:

  • You do not have to leave your ministry assignment.
  • You will experience a great developmental benefit: theological education is most helpful when it is combined with practical ministry opportunities.
  • Your personal ministry will be enhanced as you serve out of the overflow of what you are learning in classes.
  • You will have access to new resources that can help you solve ministry challenges or roadblocks. Through your training you may also have the opportunity to develop new tools and strategies to help us reach more lost students with the gospel.
  • You may enjoy courses more because you are not “drinking from a fire hydrant” (i.e. taking four courses at once).
  • You will develop holistically. Part-time study allows more easily for holistic development rather than merely focusing on one area of growth (intellectual).
  • Your annual cost will be less and you may be less likely to lose ministry partners.

Staff members should seek to study at institutions that are in general agreement with the Cru Statement of Faith (obviously, this does not apply to staff pursuing non-theological studies such as languages, computer technology or leadership.)