I Want a Pastor

From time to time discussions ensue regarding the training and equipping of pastors with some people saying, “I wish my pastor was trained in counseling, business and law;” while others contend, “I just wish my pastor would be a pastor; preach, visit and provide spiritual nurturing.” Accordingly, I share some of my views based on experience and observation.

Well Rounded Trained Pastor
There is no doubt that a pastor who has been adequately trained can be most effective. However, the description of that training and what it ought to entail does not always meet the approval of all; for some see equipping as at least a Master of Divinity degree inclusive of the initial Religion or Theology degree, which can take between 6-7 years. On the other hand, some see it as the initial degree and a counseling, law and/or business minor; but the question arises, what do members want? What do they ask?

Spirituality and Solid Biblical Preaching
It has been my observation over the nearly 31 years in ministry that not once did any member expressed a desire for me to know more counseling, law or business. Their complaint related to preaching on prophecies, regular visitation and having compassion. Now does that say a pastor should not broaden his training? No! I am not saying that he or she should not broaden it beyond the initial BA degree. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. The pastor ought to go beyond the initial degree. I would recommend the M. Div. degree or its equivalent. Fortunately, it can be done online, in some instances, and within the denomination.

Looking at Training for Other Professions
Has it occurred to you that Medical Doctors, except for sensing a call to the preaching ministry, seek to become specialists in their field? The same could possibly be argued for other professions. So why should the pastor not equip himself/herself in ministry? Yes, the languages of Greek and Hebrew are important in the pastoral profession. At the M. Div. level, there will be additional training in counseling. To me this is what I seek to encourage when I refer to a trained clergy. When the pastor concentrates on being the best in his/her area, he/she will recognize that there are others whom God has gifted to provide some of the other services. For instance, the pastor as a professional should conduct gift inventory seminars, helping members to develop their gift for use within and without the body. Maybe when applied, this will free up the pastor to do what he/she is called to do. Do you recall in Tuesday’s Adult Sabbath School Lesson where according to Acts 6:4 with the appointment of the 7 Deacons the disciples were free to focus “continually on prayer and the word”? It concerns me when pastors feel that they need to specialize in other areas that might pull them away from being pastors. As pastors, we cannot be all things to all people; but we should be preachers, compassionate and available. It is my view that God will provide the other workers to complement the pastor’s work. With a more educated membership shouldn’t there be a more educated clergy and passionate about pastoring? At the end of the week and during the week people educated and less educated are crying for dedicated men and women of God.