As pastors, we need a heart, a hunger, to keep on learning. We need to keep on stretching ourselves in our ability to think theologically. We have plenty of opportunities to think on church growth ideas. They are endless.
But typically when it comes to continuing the development of our minds, the general thought is: “Well, go back to school.”
That is certainly a great option. I am coming from the basic idea right now that everything should be on the table. If someone has the ability to go back to school and obtain a Masters or even a Doctorate… let it happen. And honor it.
Yet, we need to develop an environment that says generally, “Pastors… leaders… keep developing your theological mind.”
Why should the only option, or the “best” option, be: go back to school?
Why not have opportunities for “continuing education” at a more local level? In particular areas where getting to an institution might be hard, would it not be possible to have “study groups” that aren’t as concerned about degrees, but could really use the challenge of stretching their theological thinking?
In our denomination, we work hard to get as many avenues as possible to the future preacher to get that initial education. Why not extend that same expectation (WITHOUT THE REQUIREMENT) past giving them credentials?
Here is what I think could happen if we simply raised the level of expectation: We would find out there are more than “hot button” issues to get bogged down on when we sit and learn. It would shock some pastors to learn there is more to discussion in biblical theology than a literal 24 hour, 6 day creation.
We can glean from each other. In our cult of celebrity worship, where to hear from someone they have to be “big” in some way, we need to learn we have incredible teachers among, incredible thinkers among us, who pastor in “small” places and bring effective teaching and maturity to places that otherwise could not afford it. Let’s learn from each other.
Somehow, let’s not be afraid to talk about a thirst for learning in the Kingdom.
For my staff, we walk through a book in our staff meetings and have made the decision to step it up a bit. Our current book is Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright. There are things to learn, things to agree with, things to argue over. But we are willing to walk that path because we are creating an environment of learning.
Help stir the thirst.
If you could pull a group of pastors together to begin with just one book or idea… what would YOU pick?