The title may be grammatically incorrect, but I want to make a point with what I am writing.
I was thinking about something while I was walking home from the train station yesterday. I was thinking about a friend who recently completed his first year of full-time teaching and recently signed a contract to teach next school year. In reading his Twitter feed and Facebook posts, he really enjoys his job. I went back and thought about what I knew about this individual and his path to his eventual teaching career. He had a desire to teach (not sure how far back this goes) but he graduated high school and went off to college to train to be an elementary school teacher. During his last year of school he had to put into practice what he learned in the classroom by student teaching. This individual, as part of his student teaching taught my son in the 2nd grade. My son enjoyed his lessons, especially the science ones. We were just talking about some of them the other day and my son really enjoyed his lesson on the water cycle and that was well over a year ago, but he still remembers it very well. What this showed was not only this individual was well-trained, he had a passion for what he was doing, but he also was doing what he believed God has called him to do and he was given an opportunity to do it!
Contrast this with those who train for pastoral ministry. Same process. There is the call of God on an individual’s life, they make that call public and then it is off to Bible college and then seminary. Sometimes an individual will be required to complete an internship within the context of a local church which might be the equivalent of student teaching but not quite because most pastoral internships never really let the intern do everything, it is like the pastor is afraid that the intern will mess up and ruin his ministry. Mark Dever once talked about letting the new pastor mess up and make mistakes, he related to his own experience at Capitol Hill Baptist Church when he first came that he indeed made a few mistakes and the people were patient with him. Student teachers do not teach their first day or week, but they get one subject at a time, do a lot of observing and then towards the end of their time, they will teach for entire days with the supervising teacher observing and providing feedback along the way.
I was wondering how many people are out there that went to Bible college and seminary and invested large sums of money for their education some in excess of $50k and they are not in pastoral ministry? There are some who have disqualified themselves due to moral issues, etc. There are some who after completing their training may have decided that pastoral ministry is not for them. What about those people who have a passion and a desire (1 Timothy 3:1) to serve the Lord only to find themselves working in a job or career that they had no intentions of working in except to pay the bills while they were training. Their heart is not in it and their desires are elsewhere, but a cloak of silence has enveloped their life with regard to ministry. No direction from a mentor or encouragement from a local church, just silence. The secular job market really has no use for theological degrees. Most jobs nowadays are requiring specialized training and specialized degrees. Experience alone will not get you a job now. You wouldn’t want a airline pilot performing brain surgery on you? Then why is it okay for pastors to work other areas that they are not necessarily trained for?
I remember reading several articles regarding people with Phd’s wanting to teach in their fields but there were not enough openings in the academic world so some of these PhD’s were janitors, waiters, etc. and not able to ply their trades either. That was a few years back and I trust that things have improved somewhat so those people could find work.
I would love to hear from you if you have a desire for pastoral ministry and have finished your college and seminary training but find yourself working in a field that you did not train for. Please comment below and maybe this can be a catalyst to help and encourage others to be able to find a ministry opportunity since other venues have been notoriously silent. Where are the people who will speak truth into the lives of others?
Is there anything wrong with doing what you trained for and invested your life in?