Discussing
What's the path to ministry in your church?

Andy Rau

Rick
May 26, 2009

I think the denomination has every right to refuse ordination to Adam. He deliberately chose to be provocative by giving the pulpit to his openly gay friend to speak at his ordination. Do you think the Apostle Paul would give his pulpit to an openly gay speaker? Really? Secondly, Princeton teaches a very destructive form of historical criticism of the scripture. It's no wonder Adam feels at liberty to poke his denomination in the eye if he believes the clear teaching of the Old Testament and clear teaching of Paul are simply cultural artifacts and don't apply to our time. So if we can pick and choose which parts of the Bible are not inspired and relevant, why isn't the entire Bible a cultural artifact? I'm glad the Presbyterian people of Idaho raised objections.

Also, I'm not a fan of the exalted office of pastor as it is now constituited (the singular sermon-giver, teacher, administrator, prophet and evangelist all rolled into one). It's no wonder pastors are stressed and fail so publicly. Paul and Timothy would pray and look at the faith and life of the new converts and lay hands on men and women to be elders and deacons. The word pastor only appears once in the New Testament while the word Prophet occurs 157 times. We have absolutely reversed the Bible's emphasis. Paul gets very specific about ecclesiology in 1 Corinthians: "And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues."

I love the pastor of my church, he is a good teacher and administrator. But it seems we have let the pendulum swing too far in the direction of conferring excessive authority and responsibility on one office and then setting the bar so high few can reach it.

Nbierma
May 26, 2009

In my denomination, I think the path has been too arduous, tedious, and unhelpful. The core problem is that the denomination's seminary has historically required essentially the same path through seminary for pastors and scholars. The MDiv program was just a tweaked version of the PhD program, give or take a few courses. The emphasis was entirely on scholarly theological knowledge and almost zilch on worship, ministry, and leadership. Thank God that's starting to change (http://tr.im/msEq).

So I agree with most of this post [http://tinyurl.com/dkbo3k] on '13 reasons why traditional seminaries are irrelevant.' Not cause to abandon the traditional seminary, but cause to re-think its purpose.

John
May 26, 2009

Wow, what a statement! In our church there is the process of going to theology school and becoming ordained. However, we do have those who want to help out where needed on a temorary basis and those start with a lay speaking course, both basic and advanced, which allows them to stand before the congregation and provide a sermon. Then we also have lay ministers who take theology classes, but don't actually go to the school. These are courses to help them at the pulpit when there is no pastor available. Then we have licensed local pastors who are licensed to preach and are in the process of completing their school of divinity. Then they will be ordained in the church. Our church also moves the pastors around every two to four years and some don't want to move therefore, leave the pulpit, but not the church. I'm a lay minister/missioner and I preach about four or five times a year at different small churches in a sixty mile radius. It helps the pastors who need time off and hopefully it give others another insight to the pulpit. I neither want to be ordained or complete studies in theology, but do like to help out and preach once in a while. In God's Grace John

Ruth
May 26, 2009

Any candidate being considered should:
_First of all, display love, unconditional, agape love when seen or not seen.
_Second, deliverance(3) he must undergo, so his new wine(anointing) will not be poured into an old wineskin (religion,soul-ties,flesh).
_He must be measured under the attribute of a bishop/minister in James.
_He must read, study to show himself approved and be in love with God's sweet word daily.
_His prayer altar must remain hot at all times as an intercessor.
Simple rules and requirements, but the harvest will be a refined minister.
God bless and keep up the good work.

YM Holmes
May 26, 2009

In the Baptist church we have to be first be licensed and then however long the Pastor feels is necessary for you to remain licensed will determined if your name is submitted for ordination. Then, you have undergo catechism for anywhere between six months and one year. You then appear before the counsel to make sure all baptist tenets are clearly understood and if a willingness to adhere to such is evident and then you're ordained after submitting a series of paper and doctrinal theses. It's entirely too bureaucratic because there are other factors (in stealth) that come into play such as whether or not the association likes you or even likes your Pastor.

SiarlysJenkins
May 26, 2009

With topics like this, I like to take a long historical view. Certainly in the first couple of centuries, the local groups of Christiansm (ecclesia in Greek, we don't know what the Jewish followers of Jesus called themselves, "church" is a much later term), certainly did not have theology schools or degrees or a complex vetting process. Leaders people trusted emerged, or whichever apostle did the first preaching in the area delegated someone, or both. For much of the history of the Roman Church, which had pretensions to being catholic, the office of priest was an endowed "living" obtained through political connections, although some of those may have involved training at a monastery or the staff of a cathedral. Often, the priest lived off the living, and spent a small part of it hiring others to do the real work. Anglican parsons in colonial America, like Anglican and Roman priests in Europe, were picked for their political connections and acceptance by the establishment. They were supported by the taxes of Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and others. (Preachers also required a license from the state). During the Great Awakening, polite society was scandalized by the way Baptists, Methodists, and New Light Presbyterians asserted that one could tell by listening to a man or woman preach and pray whether they did or did not have the holy spirit, and that was the way to choose a pastor. They also declined to apply for licenses to preach. Eventually, most of these denominations supported colleges, which were needed, encouraged literacy, so everyone could read the Bible for themselves, began to rely on the divinity schools at their colleges for preachers, and began to expect their preachers to be educated for the ministry. That's not all bad, especially since any con artist can set themselves up in a storefront and say "I'm called to preach, give me your tithes," but it is not necessarily the only way. Some people without divinity degrees are called by the spirit, but I would look for whether they diligently studied both Scripture and church history. If you don't like a pastor's teaching, you can always go find another church. That is one of the great features of religious liberty. If a denomination doesn't want to ordain you, likewise, you can go find another that will. I think it comes down to what the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church decided more than 100 years ago when we opened ordination to women: there were not many women ministers immediately afterward, but church doctrine should not prevent the church from making use of whomever God was pleased to call (Bishop Hood's explanation).

alvin_tsf
May 26, 2009

i've been thinking about this for quite a while. i have seen the extremes and the detrimental effects it has on the would-be pastor or minister and the congregation. there is a situation where an obviously gifted person called to ministry is stifled because of the bureacracy and another instance is that those that faithfully adhere to the process but come out very ineffective in practice. i believe it is not so much the process but more of the politics and biases of the leadership, the committee and/or the church councils that implement the process. sometimes the people behind these committees are too rigid and exacting, rationalizing quality and faithfulness where in fact it is all a power play. but there is still a need to do things in a systematic and orderly fashion. i think this is clear in the Bible. but those that are granted by God to process the confirmation and ordination of a person must have humble hearts and the desire to only do God's will.

have a blessed day!

Rick
May 27, 2009

Am I just tilting at windmills here? We are talking about ordaining professional clergy and I am stepping back to ask whether professional pastors are even a Biblical concept. Not that everything we do and say has to be mentioned in the Bible or that there aren’t cultural adaptations. But this just seems so basic. I grew up in a tradition where there was one “pastor” of a church, sometimes known as the preacher. His obligation was to deliver a 30 minute lecture at least 3 times a week, otherwise known as a sermon, to marry, bury and counsel. Our whole church experience revolved around the sermon, whether the sermon was good or bad. He was also the administrator, teacher, evangelist, prophet and chief decision maker. If constantly amazing sermons are our criteria for a Pastor than perhaps a master’s of divinity or doctorate of theology is appropriate. But the idea of a sole pastor preaching to the converted every Sunday and Wednesday is wierd and keeps the laity in its place.

Preaching was almost always a function of evangelism in the new testament (How shall they hear without a preacher). Timothy was not a young pastor, he was a traveling evangelist who preached in season and out of season. Paul was not a pastor, he was a missionary/evangelist Apostle. Paul and Timothy appointed Elders and Deacons over local churches based on their devotion and holiness. The early church was put into the hands of unschooled fishermen and tent makers and somehow it thrived without seminarians running the show. The idea that the church is somehow going to go off course without seminarians guiding is a little like Uzza putting his hand on the ark to keep it from falling. As I’ve said before, the word Pastor is only used once in the new testament and I am sure that even that one mention does not equate with what we call a pastor today.

I love my pastor and go to a conventional church. I appreciate it when the responsibilities of administering a church and teaching is spread over many “clergy”. God has tremendously blessed many pastors. But I can’t help thinking we are suffering from a flawed western model that needs tweaking. Seminaries are great, learning Greek and Hebrew is great, Paul enjoyed a seminary education and everyone that feels led to or interested in a formal theological course of study should by all means take advantage of it. But let’s not make Seminary a requirement for elders or “pastors”. I appreciate Ruth's comment, it is a real balance here.

Osagie
May 29, 2009

There nothing wrong with been taught how to pastor a church, however the bible should be the standard which that is used to accomplish that, whatever may think concerning how church go about the training of their pastor we should all learn to be obedient to our local churches and pray for them as well as for the truth to prevail in whatever we are doing as Christians.

I do not believe that if you are in a church where the church “rule” is to have you go through a ten years period before making a pastor, will affect you ministry or calling, Jesus said we should make disciples of the nations of the world, the work is about soul winning, keep winning soul, keep studying the word and allow God to take care of the rest.

The body of Christ does not need the talk on the length of time taking to be a pastor, the mission is to reach out to the unsaved and in reaching out you find out that the office of a pastor is an on going process of training, you keep learning, it is life time of training, we should learn and decide to be obedient to our local church, otherwise such issues will be a continuous cycle in the church .

May God and our Lord Jesus Christ bless us all as we reflect on this, in Jesus name amen.

Osagie
May 29, 2009

There nothing wrong with been taught how to pastor a church, however the bible should be the standard which that is used to accomplish that, whatever may think concerning how church go about the training of their pastor we should all learn to be obedient to our local churches and pray for them as well as for the truth to prevail in whatever we are doing as Christians.
I do not believe that if you are in a church where the church “rule” is to have you go through a ten years period before making a pastor, will affect you ministry or calling, Jesus said we should make disciples of the nations of the world, the work is about soul winning, keep winning soul, keep studying the word and allow God to take care of the rest.
The body of Christ does not need the talk on the length of time taking to be a pastor, the mission is to reach out to the unsaved and in reaching out you find out that the office of a pastor is an on going process of training, you keep learning, it is life time of training, we should learn and decide to be obedient to our local church, otherwise such issues will be a continuous cycle in the church .
May God and our Lord Jesus Christ bless us all as we reflect on this, in Jesus name amen.

Jimmme
May 29, 2009

If I want to be a minister for a denomination and I don't have the qualification they require or don't want to jump through their hoops for ordination, then I'm not a fit per their standards. Why would a Christian who believes in dying to self, self-denial and obedience expect an entire denomination to change their criteria so I can have my way? I agree some of the criteria are bureaucratic, but others are to protect the particular doctrines and practices of the denomination. The best thing most of us could do is start our own churches, live simply and teach and preach what God has put on our hearts.

Suzieq
May 29, 2009

i believe any person can set up a store front church and get thites wolves in sheep clothing but what happened to the body,,,,,does your cxhurch win souls???? WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BEING FILLED WITH HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE .... GO TELL THE GOOD NEWS .... I BELIEVE CHURCH IS WHERE WE AS BELIEVERS GATHER TO GET BUILT UP FILLED AND THEN GO AGAIN TO WIN SOULS AND THEN TEACH THEM .... THE CHURCH NEVER WAS SURPOSE TO BE A BUILDING WHERE WE the believers GO SIT and listen and dont participate AND LEAVE AND NEVER IMPACT THE WORLD FOR JESUS SAVING POWER AND WITH SIGNS AND WONDERS FOLLOWING. OUR MODERN DAY CHURCH IS NOT WHAT IT IS SURPOSE TO BE NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF HOLY SPIRIT THANKS

Razzlegtd
July 6, 2009

I have attended many defferent types of churches. Home church, prophetic, charismatic, evangelical, vineland, as well as formal established denominational churches. I am also aware of the historical practises from several different centuries.
When I first came to the Lord i was very curious as to why there were so many different types of Christian churches and why the division is so great between Protestant and Catholic churches.
The one thing I found out, is that the person behind the pulpit determines the heart of the church. Regardless of their calling, training, or previous lives, it is their commitment and as importantly their experiance ìn the spirit`that determines their effectiveness in the ministry.
What I mean by experiance in the spirit, is their personal relationship with God and their ability to discern the scriptures and it`s message.
All churches are right, all churches are wrong, which is to say each denomination tends to focus on particular verses and to make a small selection of scripture the focus of local practices.
Selecting a personal church is as much about temperment as personal beliefs.
We need to focus on the fact that we call ourselves Christains and to focus on what and why He taught what He did.

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