No, that’s what churches are supposed to do

I realize that this is a sacred cow and a much larger conversation than a blog affords but it needs to be said. Seminaries cannot fully prepare a man for ministry. Thinking like this is like assuming that buying a ratchet at Sears will automatically change the oil on your car.

It usually comes out this way in conversations. A graduate of XYZ Seminary says, while rolling his eyes, “they never prepared me for [fill-in-the-blank issue/problem].” To which we should reply, “no, that’s what your church is supposed to do.”

In his new book Think, John Piper traces his spiritual development through his theological training and makes a simple yet excellent observation:

“I didn’t expect college and seminary and graduate school to teach me things that have to be learned on the job” (26).

If this sounds like I’m placing undue blame on seminaries, I’m not. To some degree, seminaries do what they do because the church has not done what it should do. I’m not in favor of re-conceptualizing everything that seminaries do but churches should give more careful thought to how they are 1) recognizing men for ministry and 2) how they are being equipped for ministry.

What are some of you doing in your churches with these last two points? Keep in mind that your ideas here could be a real blessing and encouragement to others so feel free to speak up.

One response to this post.

  1. Thanks for the post – relevant to me at this point!

    Not every church is perfect I guess. We need to all recognize and encourage those with obvious gifts and passions from God. But we also need to help equip them – sometimes by throwing them in the deep end so they can learn, prayfully.

    I was once thrown in the deep end as youth pastor when he was away for a week – my first (and only) person I had to meet had just had his wife leave him because he had an affair. What do you say? How do you go forward with that?

    In hindsight I did what I could with the experience I had. And in a way I am glad for the experience as I learnt so much – from a single ‘pastoral’ visit.

    Anyway, thanks again, as seminary and it’s use is rather on my mind right now :D

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