My Inept Ministry Degree

Undergrad Graduation Day
Many pastors and ministers to be are thrilled to "go unto the world and preach the gospel". Chalk full of theology, exegesis, and confidence, and we are ready to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

Year Following Graduation
Work the backroom at American Eagle or make lattes for Starbucks while you apply for grad school or seminary.

Graduate School/Seminary Graduation
The joke that theologians are just people answering questions nobody is asking is not funny. More and more confidence abounds to will-be-pastors and ministers.

I was ready and prepared to do ministry now. I am pretty solid on where I stand doctrinally, theologically, and most importantly, I know where I fall on the T.U.L.I.P. scale.

First Month of Pastoral Ministry
I have no idea what to tell a student who comes to me fearing she may have contracted AIDS while doing missions work in Africa.

Where was THAT class?

Second Month of Pastoral Ministry
Random jibberish terms like: ministry budget, proposed budget, faith budget, overdrawn, fleeting resources, income not meeting spending, church mortgage, pay roll, etc.

"It was my understanding there would be no math."

Third Month of Pastoral Ministry
A call is made of an elderly man in the ICU who is not expected to live through the weekend. All he wants is to speak to a pastor.

You're a pastor! Your nicely framed diploma says so.

It turns out a man who has owned more cars than years you've been alive does not want to hear much from a young ministry graduate as he's preparing to meet Jesus face to face.

He asks nothing about total depravity. Too bad, I was prepared for that question.

Fourth Month of Pastoral Ministry
Another homeless addict has made his way through the doors wanting to speak to a pastor. Maybe he's in dire need! Maybe he's manipulating you for things he does not need that you do not have.

I don't remember learning about this anywhere.

Fifth Month of Pastoral Ministry
The congregation is already a bit upset with changes you have made when God continues to inspire you to new things. One person wants to talk about it WITH YOU (if you're lucky).


And it is not conflict about whether baptism should be sprinkle or immersion.

Conflict = YOU! You are the problem...always!

Where was my class about that?

Sixth Month of Pastoral Ministry
Start to wonder if your pastoral ministry degree and classes really gave you everything needed to be a pastor.