Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Theologian

Today I want to share something I have been dealing with from time to time over the past year or so. 

A couple years ago, I took the job of being a youth pastor.  I felt God had called me to be a youth pastor, I had worked with teens at the church we were currently going to, but other than that I had very little training when it came to leading teens.  I loved developing the relationships.  I loved the relationship I was building with God.  

Upon beginning my ministry I quickly learned that I was not near as well versed as many of the members of the church. Many of them were either seminary students or had been at one time.  It was somewhat intimidating, but I could trust that God had put me there for a reason. 

I have this habit of learning how thing "work" and then removing the beauty of it.  I love music and I love making music.  It is very easy for me, however, to go back to my training in music and convert music to math.  I know that doesn't make a whole lot sense to most of you, but really that is all it is.  Music is just a sequence of rules that says these notes go with those notes and it is just a lot of math once you get down to it.  In fact, many music majors that I went to school with either transferred to or from computer science, which again is just a lot of math.  It is very easy for me to remove the beauty and creativity from music just because I get so focused on the "math" of it.

I say all this, because during my time as a youth pastor I was asked many times if I were ever going to go to seminary.  I was honest with them and said I would really struggle with going to seminary for two reasons.  First reason was that my family could not afford for me to go to school for another 2 to 4 years.  I am the one that works for a paycheck so we can live and I want my wife at home with our kids.  Secondly, I don't want to lose the love I have for God's story and replace it with a list of rules and theology that shapes how I read the Bible.

Since that time I have left being a youth pastor for the time being, but often think about if I am missing education that would make me a better teacher and leader for Christ.  I think about if I should spend more time studying or going to school to learn the "truths" that theology is supposed to teach us.  I admit sometimes I doubt if I could ever really be an effective pastor because I don't know as much as many of the pastors out there.  I don't have those extra degrees that give them the head knowledge to lead.

Today I was listening to a pastor on the radio talk about the differences between Paul and Peter.  He mentioned all of Paul's credentials and how he was this great theologian.  He listed off all Paul's accomplishments and all that made Paul who he was in Christ.  Rather impressive if you ask me.  The guy knew his stuff.  He was a great theologian and a mighty witness for Christ.

On the other hand, you have Peter.  He wasn't picked by a rabbi to continue his education so he became a fisherman.  He knew all there was to know about fishing.  Then came Jesus who asked him to come and follow Him.  He spent a lot of time with Jesus, but it wasn't many years.  It was short compared to our education systems today. 

The interesting part for me is that Jesus said Peter would be the rock of the church, and he became every bit of that.  God used him in mighty ways to build the church and really shape what it became in that time.  He wasn't a great theologin, but he had a heart for God and he KNEW God.

This gives me hope.  I don't believe it is a pass to not continue to learn, and I don't think Peter took it as such either, but it also means I don't have to know everything to make a difference.

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