I knew a guy who was homeschooled, went to semi-fundamentalist Bryan College, and then went to a Baptist seminary. I bet he’s a failure at ministry, because he’s never lived in the secular world.
A Major Reason Why So Many Pastors Are Worthless
I’ve found the best pastors had years of secular work before becoming a pastor. The most incompetent pastors went straight into ministry at age 22 and have no marketable skills beyond public speaking. Competent ministry is an overflowing of your life experience and spiritual growth, not something that is learned out of a textbook.
There’s a reason the Orthodox Church has a rule requiring priests to be 30 years old before ordination, whereas the Catholic Church ordains them at age 25 after spending eight years in school. Although I suppose that’s better than the Catholics’ old system of seminary high schools where 15 year olds in the bloom of puberty are told by their parents (with the goading of nun school teachers) that they’ll never have sex and are then asked to make a vow about it.
I had a friend that was more or less coerced into attending one of those, and he’s grateful he was kicked out for low grades. He also said that sodomy was rampant among the students and wasn’t surprised at all by the sex scandals a few years ago.
Do you really want an 18 year old for a pastor? Or even a 25 year old? How could he possibly relate to your real adult problems?
Evangelical Christianity today seeks colonization. I don’t mean conquering new lands. I mean finding a little hole where they can crawl away into and avoid all the things they don’t like.
I remember in the library at my childhood church, there was a trilogy of novels about pirates from a Christian perspective. That sounds contradictory, but this was around the time the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were coming out, so it seemed important to give an alternative to the voodoo on the big screen.
Do you like hard rock music? We can add some distortion to our pop music and give you a similar product. Audio Adrenaline is the same thing as Led Zeppelin and ACDC but with better lyrics. Your kids won’t know the difference.
Evangelical Christianity insults their youth—the “Church of the future”—with its pop culture substitutes and then begs them to stay around to pay the light bill. But if we are the Church of the future, then clearly we have no role or importance today.
As a kid, I had Narnia instead of Harry Potter. Fall Festivals instead of Halloween. Chris Tomlin instead of the Beatles. I was spared Bibleman, although my brother got the full treatment.
All this may be effective if your kids stay in the colony, but what happens if they decide to go exploring? If they just take a peek outside the cloisters and find that, no, Christian punk rock does not have any of the same energy in secular punk, then what will stop them from leaving altogether? Did you ever consider giving them a reason to stay in Church beyond the entertainment?
Once upon a lifetime ago, I was visiting Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. I sat in on a preaching class, and the professor told us, “What you hook them with is what you have to keep them with.” For some reason, that’s one of those pearls of wisdom in life that has always stayed with me.
Give your kids humorous sermons and emotional music, and you’ll have to keep pressing that dopamine button to get them to come back while also out-competing whatever is on the television. Give your kids deep exegetical preaching on the Word of God and didactic hymns that immerse them in doctrine, and they’ll bring their friends since you now offer something nobody else can.