Yesterday, I proposed that pastoral training begins in the womb. Today, I’d like to suggest that one of the best seminary classes a pastor or trainee pastor could attend is to spend time with a nursing mother.
“Oh, no! Here’s another extreme and unbiblical idea from Murray.”
No, actually, I got it from the Apostle Paul.
Paul says to the Thessalonians that he was “gentle among [them], just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thess. 2:7).
So, visit the nursery, men; bring a notepad, open your eyes, and listen to how a nursing mother taught Paul how to pastor:
“First of all, Paul, this is how to gently nurse your congregation (v. 7). Watch me as I wake my children, how I clean them, clothe them, feed them, protect them, hug them, welcome them, etc. All very loving and gentle, isn’t it!”
“And, Paul, make sure your congregation knows that you long to be with them and enjoy being with them (v. 8). Cherish them like I cherish my baby. I’m sure you know that ‘to cherish’ means ‘to warm and be warmed.’ You can’t do that without being with them, and being close to them.”
“And remember that although I take care of my children’s physical needs, I put their spiritual needs first and look for every opportunity to share the Gospel with them (v. 8).”
“Paul, I love my children so much that I’m actually willing to sacrifice more than my time, talents, and health for them. I’m willing to sacrifice my life for them (v. 8). Do your congregations get a sense of that from you? I’m sure they do.”
“And as for working hours, I labor night and day (v. 9). Remember your own mother’s example, Paul, and let that memory mentor you through the long and often thankless hours of pastoral labor.”
“You’ll learn a lot about about mothering from pastoring. But you’ll also learn more about pastoring from watching mothering than from any Seminary Class.”
“In fact if you ever start a Seminary, Paul, maybe you should build a nursery at its center.”