Competency-Based Theological Education Mentored mastery in context

Competency-Based Theological Education represents a paradigm shift in theological education. Focused on "mentored mastery in context," CBTE offers an innovative way for seminaries and learning networks to raise a new generation of proven leaders, trained in the knowledge, skills, and character traits that they will need to prosper in their callings.

Core Values of CBTE

Contextual Learning

The best place to learn how to lead a church is in a church, CBTE establishes the church or ministry center as the primary venue for learning, everything works backwards from that principle.

Partnered Investment

CBTE works best in partnership with the end user - the organization or network that will employ or utilize the students that we train. Best practice for CBTE involves the partner organization from the beginning, customizing outcomes for their purpose and securing their deep buy-in.

Mastery Model

CBTE leads students to mastery, no matter how long it takes. If an assignment needs to be repeated or replaced, so be it. Mastery is the goal.

Mentoring by Consensus

In a CBTE system, mentors come from different directions and speak with one voice. They do not overcome one another by position or by influence.

Timely Instruction

Instruction in a CBTE program needs to be "just-in-time." Learning needs to follow the countours of a student's need and a context's rhythms.

Integrated Outcomes

CBTE programs integrate things like Bible, theology, and application, cross-cutting the silos so as to develop a student's knowledge, skill, and character in every outcome.

Customized Expectations

A good CBTE program will allow mentors to customize learning in the awareness that student formation is the primary goal. This is not about ticking boxes or satisfying standardized expectations.

Rigorous Assessment

CBTE rises and falls on the quality of its assessment processes of students and overall programs, before a student is admitted and all the way through to beyond graduation.

Prior Learning

CBTE programs recognize that prior learning is valuable. Good programs find ways to honour and utilize all such learning.

Financial Efficiency

A CBTE program ought to be cheaper to deliver than conventional education, making it possible to train a student without sending him or her into debt.


a paradigm shift in theological education

Prepared by Kenton C. Anderson for Northwest Baptist Seminary.

All rights reserved, 2017

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