Editor’s Note: For the next three months we will share a 10-part series entitled, “Lessons They Don’t Teach You in Seminary,” written by Tim Patrick. These articles will be interspersed with other articles of interest.
Lessons They Don’t Teach You in Seminary – Part 1
When I was twenty-one I finished college. At about the same time I submitted to God’s call to ministry. This was an interesting transition. My college training was in agriculture! I must admit, I knew more about agriculture information than the Bible. Seminary offered special training that enabled me to make the transition from agriculture to ministry.
srael’s second king, King David, poses a question about character in Psalm 15.1, “God, what do you look for in those who draw close to You?” He them summarizes the answer in the first part of verse 2 with the words “blameless” and “righteous.” The NASB version uses the word “integrity” for “blameless.” These eight qualities rise out of this passage.
Leadership is tough. Good leaders understand this and manage their lives and leadership demands to avoid burnout. Sometimes, however, even the best leaders get burned out. If you’re now facing it, examine the cause list below to see what factors may be contributing to it. Then, take one proactive step this week from the cures list to take better care of yourself.
The title of this article seems to represent the thoughts of a liberal thinker. That is not the case! It was Jesus’ apostles who had these thoughts! Yes, Jesus’ handpicked, chosen apostles/disciples. Consider the context. After the resurrection a group of ladies, “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women” reported the empty tomb to Jesus’ disciples. (Luke 24:10) The first response of Jesus’ disciples was that the report was “idle tales” (KJV) or seemed to be “nonsense” (HCSV). In fact, the disciples were unmoved by the report. The Bible tells us they did not believe the report.
One of the most discouraging seasons of leadership is when people will not follow. Such disheartening situations can be the actual facts or they can be our perception of the facts. Regardless of the reason we need to examine the cold hard facts of this problem.
I recently presented a new idea concerning the youth ministry at our church. I used the following protocol in presenting the idea: I presented the idea to my pastor, then to the youth workers, and finally I met with the parents. After working this process my ideas flew to a successful destination.
“But as for you, keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
The deacons in Church A promised the new pastor that if he would come, they would deal with a difficult situation they had been condoning and which was destroying the witness of the church.
Who has influenced your thinking as a Bible student? Up until the time I went to seminary, I had accepted an interpretation of Revelation based on my religious training and heritage. At seminary I adopted a new interpretation of Revelation based on the teachings of a professor. The professor greatly influenced my thinking.
My last name is Patrick. I am of Irish descent. Irish folks are given credit for being impatient people. That certainly holds true in our family. My grandfather was not a patient man. My father was not a patient man. I have struggled with patience. The roots run deep.
“I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
In the Kingdom of God, leaders are required to be servants.
Many a pastor misses this, and if he learns it at all, not before he has made many a bone-headed mistake and left a lot of good people bleeding in his wake.
We lead by serving. We do not lead by dominating.
Last year my wife and I built a new home. While we were building we also dug a small catfish pond. We have been excited about this new venture (the pond). Each afternoon we feed the catfish. We can almost see them growing before our eyes. We anticipate the day we catch our first fish. Recently I made two mistakes that, due to my inexperience, almost killed our fish.
How do you handle frustration? Notice I did not say, “How to Avoid Frustration.” When you serve in ministry the question is not “if” but “when” you face frustration. It is a daily companion when working with people.
When I think of frustration I am always drawn to Moses. We get frustrated dealing with 50, 100, or 200 people. This is not to minimize your frustration but to magnify Moses as a learning model. Moses had to manage a whole nation. WOW! There came a point when his frustration caught up with him.
Sunday I had an amazing day at church. I taught Sunday school and shared one of the most memorable Sunday school experiences I can remember. It was memorable because of what the people taught me. The small group members shared insights and thoughts that blessed my heart. They shared thoughts that did not occur to me as I prepared to teach the lesson.
Discouragement comes with the territory for ministry leaders. Unmet goals, putting out fires, staff issues, displeasing people, and general tiredness all contribute to discouragement. When it weighs us down, how can we dig out?
The life of the prophet Elijah gives us hope.
I Kings 18-19 tells the story of his amazing confrontation with the prophets of Baal. The people of Israel had gathered on Mount Carmel along with 450 prophets of Asherah. They set up a sacrifice and the 450 pagan prophets summoned their gods to provide rain. Nothing happened. Then Elijah summoned the one, true God who showed His power by not only consuming the sacrifice but also ending the drought.
Have you been to a pity party lately? We enjoy them so much that we are tempted to plan them on a regular basis. The only problem is, we are usually the only guests and we feel worse for attending the party.
David attended a pity party from time to time. One occasion was recorded in Psalm 38. “My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me. My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, And my relatives stand afar off. Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, And plan deception all the day long.” (Vs. 10-12 NKJV)
Yesterday I spent time thinking about the many issues faced by pastors. There is always something! A disgruntled family leaves for another church. Somebody is mad. There is a need for workers in the children’s ministry. A staff member makes a misstep. A toilet is hung up in the men’s restroom.
“We being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Romans 12:5)
(Note: Those who read my blog regularly know that a frequent concern of ours is the disrespect church members show toward pastors. But sadly, the opposite is also true, and needs to be addressed.)