I’ve been thinking about education/preparation for ministry, and posted here and on Facebook about that topic recently. (Hat tip to Zuzanna Low, for several awesome suggestions for this list.)
Here is a list of the outcomes (skills, knowledge, and character traits) that I have generated. I think these things are all essential for a thriving ministry. Tell me what I’ve overlooked, what I’m missing, etc.
Necessary skills–ministers must be able to:
- Write and deliver excellent sermons and/or lessons.
- Assess effectiveness / maturity
- Assess the needs of a community / congregation.
- Assess the spiritual maturity of individual believers (I like the model from DiscipleShift).
- Act and lead strategically on the basis of the assessment.
- Build strategic relationships with community leaders outside their church
- Work with volunteers and paid staff
- Work with people from different groups/denominations toward common goals
- Articulate expectations to workers that they are leading
- Criticize workers’ efforts positively and constructively
- Lead by serving and inspiring, not by intimidating
- Lead by investing in the success of those they lead
- Recruit and train volunteers
- Plan events, manage resources, facilities, etc.
- Deal constructively with antagonistic people
- Mentor and shepherd (disciplemaking)
Necessary character–ministers must be people who:
- Possess humility
- Are open to new ideas and phenomena (not habitually negative about every idea that doesn’t come from them); Rohr, The Naked Now, would say, “begin with ‘yes’, look for truth, THEN make value judgments”
- Are motivated by grace (not guilt or ego), and in turn motivate others by grace
- Look to build the Kingdom, not kingdoms
- Partner with other leaders instead of competing
- Build leaders without being threatened by their protege’s successes
- Hunger for unity, “regard others as more important than yourselves” (Phil 2.3)
- Are optimistic, expecting God to move and do great things
- Draw their identity from their acceptance in Christ (not earthly status, material wealth, honor or praise)
- Are generous in spirit
- Are judicious over when to fight and when to be gracious or accomodating (2 Tim 2.14, “Warn them against quarreling about words.”)
- Are willing to risk being transparent, yet wise enough to do it in appropriate ways and appropriate settings for appropriate purposes
Necessary knowledge–ministers should know:
- How to use biblical texts in responsible, audience-appropriate, helpful ways in church settings:
- Sermons and lessons
- Corporate worship and personal devotions
- This presupposes a functional knowledge of the Bible and its contents, but it is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge, it’s knowledge with a purpose.
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2.15)
- How to build generosity
- How to network with community leaders outside their church