Our educational approach was jointly developed by president Bill Schweitzer and executive director Jonathan Winch, drawing on 50 years of military and educational leadership allied with ministerial experience.
It is characterised by a three-fold emphasis:
“We can preach the Gospel no further than we have experienced the power of it in our own hearts.” - George Whitfield
There is a beautiful harmony between Reformation theology and revival experience, between knowing God and experiencing God; only when both are emphasised can either be rightly comprehended.
The insight that sound theology and spiritual experience go together is sometimes termed Experiential Calvinism. John Calvin wrote of the “sense of sweetness” that comes from delighting in God by the Spirit and the Word; Jonathan Edwards would walk alone in the mountains, “sweetly conversing with Christ, and wrapt and swallowed up in God.”
At Westminster, every subject is taught with a view to a growing intimacy with God.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.” - Proverbs 4:7
Intellectually, students of theology are to gain understanding. This is more than just knowledge, because it means seeing the unity in the diversity of all truth.
Wisdom goes further still. It begins with the fear of the Lord, true heart religion, and produces ‘understanding to discern what is right’ (I Kings 3:11). Wisdom gives our knowledge the moral and spiritual context that shapes our lives:
Wisdom is humble: through personal mentoring with a wise and experienced pastor you will gain a self-forgetful focus on others.
Wisdom is relational: at its heart a Westminster education is about a vibrant, trusting relationship with ‘Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God’.
Wisdom is practical, expressed in a compassionate, courageous lifestyle: you will put your growing knowledge into practice from the outset in challenging real-world contexts.
“The leader needs more than inspiration. A leader ventures to say: 'I will go; come with me!'" - Robert Greenleaf
The pastor is commanded to lead Christ’s sheep to pasture, protect them from savage wolves, lay down his life for them. The sheep follow because they know their shepherd’s voice. They trust his love and his vision – that he sees better than they where to go because he is wise.
A leader initiates, provides the ideas and the structure, and he takes the risk of failure. A leader says: “I will go; follow me!” knowing that the path is uncertain, even dangerous.
Self-sacrificial, determined, courageous leadership is rare, but it’s our conviction that it can be learned. Leadership training and practice is central to the Westminster curriculum.