“Men ought to have proven ministry gifts before attending seminary.”

This looks like an interesting questions (and ensuing discussion).  Check out the source here.  (Thanks to R. Scott Clark for the link).  Here are some eye-widening thoughts I found interesting and worth refelcting on:

“We all know, and some of us have experienced first hand, the problem of too many pastors for churches in the PCA.  Yet, there has been little to no talk about how to address the problem.  

 We must conclude one of 3 things:

a.)     God doesn’t know what he’s doing, because he’s called far more men than we need.b.)     The PCA is about to have a major revival, and explode in number of churches.c.)     We are judging far more men to be called than are actually called. I vote for c.”

 Also…

“The weight of presbytery’s approval should not be in favor of, “We’ll ordain you, unless you give us reason not to,”  but rather, “We need compelling reason.  Prove to us that you are called.”  That proof, of course, would come out of possessing Christian maturity, Biblical/theological acumen, pastoral heart, and, above all, the ABILITY TO PREACH.  Sorry to shout, but how many guys have we passed along who have little to no skill in this area in clear violation of the Biblical mandate.”  

I think I’ve already formulated my own thoughts on the matter, but want to wait and let any of you out there chime in:Are there way too many “called” men in the process of becoming pastors?  If so, what should we do about it? 

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4 thoughts on ““Men ought to have proven ministry gifts before attending seminary.”

  1. Amen brother!

    You know too, if there are “too many” men who feel called – not just in the internal, emotional sense, but truly do want to honor the Lord by pursuing full-time, vocational ministry – shouldn’t we also be seeking to discern how they best could minister. Not everyone is called to preach and teach; and some of the guys I respect and learn from the most as preachers are the worst at counseling.

    What if we started to apply the concept of being the “body” to ministry – look out, scary word coming up – teams, and not just to the church as a whole, or in its localized setting? What if upon graduating, seminaries helped students identify and assimilate into teams that then launched out into ministry in both established and church planting efforts?

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  2. In the Church of England in South Africa (CESA – which is about as close a denomination to the PCA as you’ll find in South Africa) we’ve tried to promote 2 year ministry apprenticeship programmes for people who desire to pursue the ministry. This gives us 2 years to build the basic blocks of how to do bible teaching and discipleship. They get practical experience as well as allowing for us to evaluate the gifting of the apprentices. After 2 years we send them to bible college.

    Because we don’t have a seminary system quite like the US our ordinands go to George Whitefield College and so the graduates don’t always go back into full-time ministry, some return to the secular world as Christian business men and women. However in the last few years every single one of our graduating students that went through an apprenticeship programme prior to college has gone into full-time ministry.

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