What’s up (potential) seminarian?!
We’ve scoured the country talking to seminaries far and wide asking them to answer the 10 most asked questions from potential seminarians. In this series of blog posts, we will feature one seminary and give you in-depth answers to these questions.
You can also get the So You Want To Go To Seminary? e-book FREE. Tripp and Tim compiled all the answers to these 10 questions in an easy-to-digest digital nugget for your theological convenience.
School: Hatchery LA
Representative: Tripp Fuller, Director of Theology and Humanities
About Hatchery: Based in Redondo Beach, California, Hatchery LA is a church planting center that incubates innovative, sustainable models of church – with a goal of launching nine new churches each year and ultimately building the Silicon Valley of Church Innovation.
The traditional church, as we’ve known it, is fading from the landscape of our culture. That’s why we’re looking for Innovators who are passionate about planting a new kind of service-centric church…what we call a “Common Cause Community”…
- A “Common” journey in the way of Jesus.
- A “Cause” to rally around on a regular basis.
- A “Community” of people where relationships are nurtured.
These churches – or Common Cause Communities – will look more like a coffee shop, urban garden, or after school tutoring center, than a teaching-centric, weekend gathering. Our three-year training program empowers Innovators to earn a Masters in Theological Studies while launching a ministry the world is waiting for.
Should I think of enrolling in seminary only if I feel “called?”
If you feel called (or whatever word you use) and it is really where God is sending you then there will be more than just a call. Seminary education is in once sense a ministerial degree for a vocation, but it is also graduate school and like an Masters degree it requires preparation academically.
At the Hatchery where I am the Director of Theology we are looking for people with a “call” or passion to bring a new community into being around a cause. That means the type of call you have could make the program a fit or not. Taking time to know where you want to be will help you figure out what kind of program will best assist you in getting there.
How do future employability or future graduate school options affect the way you craft your programs? Can seminary prepare me to pursue another graduate degree or for a job without a stole?
The best way to find out what a school prepares you for is to ask about the last 5 years of graduates. If they are mostly graduates rocking stoles and getting up early on Sundays then take note. If they are in other helping professions or working in non-profits keep that in mind. If they aren’t employed…
Jobs with Stoles, benefits and security are not growing. That doesn’t mean the church doesn’t need trained leaders, but you should consider the financial side of things when picking a school. There are also alternative programs for those who want to create their position as an ecclesiological entrepreneur of the common good like the Hatchery or the Farminary at Princeton.
What degrees can I pursue at your institution? (Mdiv, MTS, MAT, Dmin, etc.) Do you have any joint degrees that you offer?
At the Hatchery you earn an MTS through our partnership with United Theological Seminary. The degree is only 1/3 of your work in the program itself. Over your three years of full-time education you will be getting intense training as a social entrepreneur and public platform development as you launch your own faith community. Our goal is to provide each student with the resources, support and encouragement they need to graduate with a degree and a sustainable community built around their passion.
If I’m thinking about ordination, what strategy should I take to ensure that I end up in the right denomination for me?
What’s crazy is that this is a reasonable question. Until recently your denomination was less a personal choice and more of a rite of birth and baptism. If you are asking this question and really don’t know then my advise is to take lots of Facebook quizzes… OR visit multiple churches of the denominations you are interested in connecting to. After visiting multiple churches you will be able to better see the common elements across a denomination and the diversity. After that I would get coffee with a YOUNG minister in the denomination and ask their experience during school, placement and ordination.
Do you offer residential programs? Satellite campuses? Online programs? Hybrid programs?
The Hatchery is a residential program in Redondo Beach, CA. We take up to 9 new students each year.
What are the advantages of your geographical location and physical campus when compared to other seminaries?
Redondo Beach is an amazing place to live. I have been here over 8 years and being able to wear jeans and short sleeves 300 days a year with sun is awesome. It is close to LAX if you need to get out of town, you get the perks of an international city and the craft beer scene in LA is centered in the South Bay next to the Hatchery.
What can I expect from the learning experience in my program in the first year? How can I best come prepared? What kind of workload should I expect?
Being a Hatchery innovator is a 40-50 per week investment. Of course you aren’t just learning, but creating the job you will have so that’s motivating. In the first year you will have 4 academic classes with a summer capstone class that center on engaging the Christian Tradition as you develop the theology of your community. You will also be building a public platform within the niche of your cause and starting to sketch a launch plan.
What sort of theological and practical skills can I expect to learn as I attend your school? What tradition do you represent?
The Hatchery is a ministry of the DOC region but open to all our ecumenical partners.
The Hatchery education is all geared toward the community the student wants to launch. Because of the small size of the school we are able to provide personalized elements across the program to make each component contribute toward your larger goal and job when you graduate.
What are some ways that your seminary is working to reduce overall student debt?
The cost of the program is lower than most in SoCal, but nothing tackles student debt like graduating with a job in a sustainable community you built. That’s what the Hatchery wants to help each student do.
What is the advice you most often give to potential seminarians?
The best learning happens in community. So when picking a school I would make sure to hangout with the students and see if you would want to be a part of the school’s social life. You can read all the theology books you want, but it starts sticking when you have some new nerdy friends to argue with over a drink.