Monday, October 12, 2015

Locally Grown Pastors

4 ways churches are preparing ministers in-house.

rian McNeilly plans to pursue full-time ministry. But he's not quite ready for the pulpit, and maybe not even the postgraduate classroom. Instead, McNeilly, 23, a U.S. Army First Lieutenant, decided that he wouldn't jump straight into a seminary program.

"[Growing up,] I saw all these pastors that had done something before ministry," he said, referring to one mentor who was a former ESPN announcer, while another had practiced accounting. "Those experiences gave them a broader view and a broader base to relate to people. It taught skills you couldn't learn from ministry. I'm always trying to figure out where I can be better, what can make me more valuable to the church."

McNeilly's path is not unusual. While completing an undergraduate degree and two to four years of seminary is by far the most common path to the pastorate, many current pastors say that finances, marriage, or unexpected life circumstances have resulted in paths other than the traditional one. Even those who take a "secular" path to the pastorate, by first pursuing non-ministry careers, are deeply shaped by their involvement in the local church.

Many successful ministers find themselves pursuing postgraduate education later on in their career, if at all. Here are four common alternative paths for those entering pastoral ministry today. Read more

Image: Christianity Today

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