Preparing Korean Evangelical Holiness Church ministers for effective leadership: The influences of the seminary experience

Seongho Cho, Fordham University


This qualitative research inquired into the effects of seminary education on ministers' ability to make a successful leadership in various ministerial contexts. This study took an in-depth looks at two academic programs currently being offered in the seminary of the Korean Evangelical Holiness Church: Bachelor's degree in theology and Master of Divinity program. The participants in this study had experienced one or two of the aforementioned academic programs during seminary and are currently serving in local churches as either senior pastor or assistant pastor. The six respondents were asked to reflect back on their seminary experience and explain certain aspects of the program. Through this process, the six respondents were asked to think of the contributions of seminary education which it may have made to their successful leadership to ministerial practice. The data for this qualitative study were collected from the interviews with the respondents and additional data were provided via reading textual materials. Several themes emerged during the data collection process as the respondents reflected back on their overall seminary experience: A confused understanding of the church in the contemporary context, the disconnection between theory and practice regarding theology, the loss of a spiritual aspect in theological education and the leadership of the KEHC regarding its history and theology. The participants evaluated their participation in seminary education and showed that it made some negative effects to their current ministry such as the ineffectiveness of their ministerial leadership. In addition, the participants found that their educational experience in seminary made positive contributions to the foundation of their work, enhanced their ability to understand the Bible and provided them with a basic direction regarding ministerial career. Three recommendations for further research included comparing to other professional schools and comparing to other religious seminaries. Collecting key-ministerial cases was also recommended so that a larger sample from different ministerial contexts will conduct useful resources for the strengthening of ministerial leadership in the Korean Evangelical Holiness Church. Other recommendations for practice were made for educators which included strategic planning of spiritual direction, the use of field education including supervised ministry and theological reflection paper and the involvement of congregation. For ministerial leaders, participating in more practical activities, continuing in theological education and looking with other ministers in other churches were recommended. Seminaries are constantly looking for innovative programs to enhance the educational offering they provided for ministers. Through the aforementioned strategic changes, a better connection between seminary education and the effectiveness of ministerial leadership would be expected.

Subject Area

Clerical studies|Religious education|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Cho, Seongho, "Preparing Korean Evangelical Holiness Church ministers for effective leadership: The influences of the seminary experience" (2010). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3420955.