When reviewing Paul’s description of the Christian pastor in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, I was struck again by how much emphasis he places on exceptional character rather than exceptional gifts, and by his focus on what a pastor is to be rather than what a pastor is to do.
And yet, when seminaries are training pastors, when churches are seeking pastors, and when pastors are pursuing training, we often turn the Bible’s priorities upside down.
In The Effective Pastor, Robert Anderson comments:
During the course of each school year dozens of inquiries come across my desk regarding men who are being considered by churches and mission boards. I am supposed to rate those individuals according to qualifications that are specified in the reference form. Without exception, each inquires as to the abilities of the person being considered, his personality traits and the talents of his wife. Rarely does a questionnaire deal with character traits (3).
Seminaries, churches, potential pastors, and even experienced pastors, need to re-prioritize (re-biblicize) and get re-focused on character rather than function or gifts.
How can seminaries play a role in this character-building?