I have been talking to a friend about his desire to enter the paid ministry and he shared how his lack of having answers in terms of Biblical knowledge and theology were making him doubt the move. As I responded I began to think about how much value is placed in the knowledge of a pastor.
Having been in paid ministry for 5 years and personally relating to a scholarly posture, I know just how little I wear the hat of an academic in ministry.
Now I am not advocating some sort of anti-intellectual fundamentalism, but this image of a pastor as someone who just sits around studying all day is very incomplete.
If anything trying to be the scholar pastor type is a detriment to ministry.
A scholar is unapproachable, an elite that is removed from society. The scholar does not know how to relate to those outside their world. Ministry is more about influence and leadership than it is about degrees and libraries.
When I say influence I am not talking about manipulation but about an example of integrity and clearly communicate it with words, structure, and lived out values.
Getting hung up on what specific school of thought we align ourselves with is a conversation that only really makes sense to those already in leadership. It is a waste of time and a divisive conversation to the majority of the people already in the local church and those who will come.
Education is vitally important for a pastor, but when it becomes the goal over humility, integrity, and building relationships it takes away more than it adds.
And to be honest I have been consistently guilty of pursuing that scholar role over others.