424114016_a10c8f1ccc.jpg

I am about to say something that has been said a hundred times over, but I’m saying it, and that in itself is meaningful at least to me. There’s a danger in seminary training for future pastors, that they leave seminary actually believing that because they have a M…they have the answers to the questions they’ll be facing on a daily basis. I’m finding its not true, that perhaps what’s missing in seminary training is greater integration of the parish model of educating and preparing pastors that churches used to use. Tim Witmer at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia hit on this point well in his inaugural lecture.

I’m sitting in my office, six months out from seminary, pooling all my previous 9 years of pastoral interning experience and I’m left with this simple realization: I know a lot about theology and biblical studies (my professors would assure me I don’t know that much), but I know very little about the state of and current flows within the innovations of church & church planting ministries. There is a world of conversation that is largely pracitional in form, that neither my college nor my seminary led me to engage in with even a rudimentary level of interest. It stricks me as odd, out of place even.

Perhaps I need to put down the light saber of MDiv and put on the entrepreneurial spirit of “making it work on the streets.” Let’s face it my training prepared me to write sermons, compose teaching series, and assess pragmatic conventional wisdom’s floating about within the church, but it didn’t give me hands on experience with a broader community of pastoral entrepreneur’s. I guess that somehow I missed their valuable input in the preparation process for ministry – ouch.

I’ve got more than half of what I need as a pastor in my theological training, but the absence of the other part is apparent to me nevertheless.

There’s something standing right in front of me on my journey with Christ. Change; a change of interest whereby I become more enthused by these pastoral entrepreneur’s, and a change of values as I try and appreciate the cultural codes all around me. What am I going to do? I’m going to address what’s in front of me instead of allowing it to come crashing into me. Seems like a simple enough solution. And I’m going to use the relational investments I have with surrounding pastors, and start new ones that will mature me with a wisdom that can only come from hardened hands of faithful gospel laboring with real people.

(Photographic art by , piece entitled “Dilemna“)