Seminaries have been described as General College for Professional Ministry. Students take Greek, Hebrew, Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, Theology, Christian Education, Practical Theology, Pastoral Care, and Preaching. This track has not changed much in the past 50 plus years.
As I – and many others – have written, seminarians are being trained to serve churches that no longer exist. Or at the very least least, we need seminarians trained to do 21st Century Ministry which is totally different from 20th Century Ministry. Again, this is old news. But I believe that . . .
Seminaries need to teach future professional ministers how to shift a congregation’s culture.I learned a lot of great stuff in seminary. But the vast majority of it was academic stuff about the Bible, theology, and church history, along with a small handful of ministry courses. Some electives helped make up for this along with contextual education, but as far as transformational leadership or even basic church administration, there was next to nothing. The best education I got along these lines was my first few years of ministry and a lot of continuing education related to it.
I don't know the answer regarding how to change seminary curricula along these lines. It seems to me that a good amount of this work is contextual. But there still have to be some basic principles that could be taught to prepare people for a changing world.
Cute video is cute. A link to this video was in a recent UCC Daily Devotional, and it made me smile a lot:
the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.
Poke people's eyes out…with style. PeaceBang has really inspired me the past few years to up my game when it comes to professional wardrobe. She recently wrote a post about the importance of sharp edges in one's attire. After sharing a picture of Don Draper (see above), she writes this:
Note all the sharp edges? The triangular edge of the collar, the pointed edges of the lapel (you won’t find business people in round lapels). The clipped hair, the slightly squared toe of the shoes (not round). This all communicates “sharp” in a very literal way, and we need to be aware of that dynamic. This man is sharp, buttoned up, clean lines, discipline, elegance and speed. Even in his insouciant posture with a cigarette in hand, he radiates power, authority and professionalism. There isn’t one “off-duty” aspect to this outfit. He is literally ready for business.
Power, authority and business are not bad values for a religious leader to have. We must stop thinking that they are, and identifying ourselves as having no connection to those qualities. Spiritual work involves power — if we don’t think we’re working on behalf of a powerful God, what are we doing in this work? Isn’t healing a powerful thing? Bet your bippy it is. Do you not wish to be a powerful preacher, a sharp leader, a person who can use authority well and wisely on behalf of the better world we imagine and work toward? If not, why the hell not? You see what I’m saying? “Can I get an AMEN up in here?” as RuPaul would say?
How many clergy people do I see who are all soft edges, puffy haloes of frizzy hair, sloppy, dragging pants hems, elastic-band floppy skirts. Not one sharp element of their appearance.One of her key points is in the second paragraph above, I think: the pastoral office has power that comes with it. Some pastors (myself included once upon a time) like to downplay that power through their wardrobe choices. This becomes an even bigger issue for younger clergy who choose to take this route: why give anybody any more ammo to question one's experience or qualifications by wearing jeans and a t-shirt?
So I'm in favor of pointy things. I wear my pointy wingtips, my pointy ties, my creased shirts, and my squared shoulders and am gonna be all like, "Hi, I'm your pastor. How can I help you today?"
#McConnelling. On a recent episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart urged viewers to take some footage of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell obviously meant for SuperPAC purposes and adding your own music. So I went ahead and contributed a couple. First up is The Walking Dead theme:
And then there's the theme from Saved By the Bell: The College Years:
So, yeah. That was fun.
Misc. Jan with a little more on teaching culture shifts based on Harvard Business School's model. Gordon Atkinson shares a dream he recently had. He's blogging through Lent pretty regularly, and I recommend catching up on everything he's writing. Jamie on her son hacking her social media accounts, and then enacting payback. Pretty funny read. Rachel Held Evans is looking for your church stories.