The KJV has Paul instructing Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “study” to show himself approved, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God, and many of us still use this verse this way. However, the Greek word there is not “study,” but “be diligent,” or “make every effort.” (We just engaged in Lifelong Learning! But this doesn’t count toward your 20 hours.) “Make every effort” goes beyond merely studying. It is holistic and comprehensive, and it challenges ministers of the Gospel to be doing what we should already really want to do—continue to learn and grow and get better at preaching, teaching, ministering, leading, and serving.
Lifelong Learning may be a requirement, but it does not need to be a burden. It is an acknowledgement that the Course of Study was just the beginning of the journey for all of us.
Just as the Course of Study was broken down into the “4Cs” – Content, Competency, Character, and Context, so also Lifelong Learning should seek to balance these aspects of growth as well. Enrichment activities should include a selection from each of the following:
Content—Knowledge of the content of the Old and New Testaments, the theology of the Christian faith, and the history and mission of the Church is essential for ministry. Knowledge of how to interpret Scripture, the doctrine of holiness and our Wesleyan distinctives, and the history and polity of the Church of the Nazarene.
Competency—Skills in oral and written communication, management and leadership, finance, and analytical thinking, courses providing skills in preaching, pastoral care and counseling, biblical exegesis, worship, effective evangelism, biblical stewardship of life resources, Christian education, and church administration.
Character—Personal growth in character, ethics, spirituality, and personal and family relationship is vital for the ministry, courses addressing the areas of Christian ethics, spiritual formation, human development, the person of the minister, and marriage and family dynamics.
Context—Increased insight and understanding regarding cultural worldviews and the historical and contemporary contexts of the social environment where the Church witnesses, courses that address the concerns of anthropology and sociology, cross-cultural communication, missions, and social studies.
Reporting is not hard, nor is it time-consuming, once you are registered. Lifelong Learning hours can now be reported online at https://nazarene.org/lifelong-learning. This site contains a link to register, as well as a FAQ section, which answers questions like the following:
What qualifies as Lifelong Learning?
Nazarene ministers are to complete at least 20 hours of lifelong learning each year. Lifelong learning involves participating in opportunities that contribute significantly to the development of your abilities and understanding as a minister of the gospel. Conferences, district training seminars, continuing education courses from educational institutions or professional groups, webcasts, reading a professional journal, and joining others in reading and discussing a book are examples of activities that qualify as lifelong learning. Such activities qualify whether accessed online or attended in person. On the other hand, the daily practice of ministry (such as pastoral care or sermon preparation), viewing an informative television program or listening to a presentation at a community gathering normally would not qualify as professional development. Show discretion in selecting valid continuing education experiences. Your district administrators or regional office can assist in determining whether an activity qualifies as lifelong learning.
How many lifelong learning hours do I report for…
1. …reading a book? As a general rule, report 2 lifelong learning hours for every 75 pages read. This standard helps to keep the focus on the input received rather than on individual reading speed. In this way, readers of the same resource receive the same number of learning hours.
2. …reading a book with a peer group/small group? When you read a book and discuss its message and meaning for ministry with several peers, the learning value of the experience is far greater than simply reading the book by yourself. Peer group discussion can be held in-person or by using other technology. Report 2 lifelong learning hours for every 75 pages read plus discussion time with those also reading the book.
3. …time spent preparing to teach a class in the Course of Study? If you teach a class in the Course of Study, report 10 hours for every 30 hours of reading and research in preparing to teach the class for the first time, or for new reading and research intended to substantially enhance a class you have taught previously. The aim of this guideline is to give “credit” for time spent on course development rather than on the administration or teaching of the course.
4. …time spent preparing to present a workshop or seminar at a conference? Apply the same guideline given for those preparing to teach a class in the Course of Study.
5. … time spent viewing a webinar? You should report the actual time required to view the webinar in its entirety and only if you were an active participant for the entire webinar.
6. … attending a Conference? Report the number of hours you actually attend workshops, plenary sessions, conference-related worship services, and so on. Time spent in breaks, free-time, etc. should not be reported as lifelong learning hours.
7. …completing coursework in a degree program? If you are enrolled and active in a degree program, you are completing many hours of learning. However, for the purpose of reporting lifelong learning, enter the basic information about the degree program in which you are enrolled and enter 20 hours for the total number of hours. Make this entry each year you continue to be enrolled and active in the degree program. It will be clear to your district leadership from the description you provide that you are very active in lifelong learning.
8. …participating in a mission trip? A mission trip can be a significant lifelong learning event. Recognizing that mission trips vary greatly in many respects, the general rule is to award 50% of the total “task-engagement hours”. Travel time, discretionary time, etc. would not be included in calculating task-engagement hours.
What is an event code?
1. What is an event code? An Event Code is a six- or eight-digit code that, when applied, automatically adds almost all of the detail you need to add a lifelong learning event to your registry. This feature is available only for lifelong learning events sponsored by a Nazarene entity such as a district or regional office.
2. What if I did not receive an Event Code at the lifelong learning event I attended? If you did not receive a code or lost the code, you should skip the “Event Code” option and enter the event details into the record yourself as usual.
Lifelong Learning Opportunities
The district offers opportunities to fulfill LL hours. District Assembly, M&M Retreat, and other district meetings and conventions provide hours. In addition, other learning opportunities will be provided periodically. These will be announced in the weekly district emails.
There are also many opportunities for individual learning offered by the Nazarene schools and institutions.
Lifelong Learning opportunities at Nazarene Colleges
Eastern Nazarene University- The Institutional Repository at ENC contains scholarly material produced by faculty and students at ENC. It provides access to various papers, symposium, and conferences at ENC. Eastern Nazarene College | (whdl.org)
Nazarene Theological Seminary Center for Pastoral Leadership- The Center for Pastoral Leadership at NTS provides access to seminars, the NTS library, and other resources online to help with Pastoral life long learning for $99 a year. Center for Pastoral Leadership | Nazarene Theological Seminary (nts.edu)
The Wesley Center Online at Northwest Nazarene University- The Wesley Center Online website is a collection of historical and scholarly resources about the Wesleyan tradition, theology, Christianity, and the Church of the Nazarene. The Wesley Center Online: Home (nnu.edu)
Point Loma Center for Pastoral Leadership- The CPL offers continuing education courses, seminars, and forums throughout the year to equip church leaders. Resources | Point Loma Nazarene University
Mount Vernon Continuing Education Program- The continuing education program offers conferences, trips, and online learning opportunities for pastors. Continuing Education | Mount Vernon Nazarene University - Mount Vernon Nazarene University (mvnu.edu)
Point Loma University- H. Orton Wiley Lecture series provided each Spring. Website
has access to previous years’ lectures. H. Orton Wiley Lecture Series | PLNU (pointloma.edu)
Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, UK- The college offers access to current and previous seminars. The Didsbury Lectures at Nazarene Theological College – NTC and What's On - NTC (nazarene.ac.uk)
Nazarene Bible College Institute for Ministry Enrichment- The Institute for Ministry Enrichment provides online life long learning classes (not for college credit) for pastors. Institute for Ministry Enrichment (nbcime.com)
Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library- Provides free, open access online resources to support scholarship, research, ministerial development, and life-long learning. https://whdl.org/