Prospective Pastors

Best of the Web: How can a young man work towards the qualifications of a pastor?

Here are some good thoughts from 9Marks.

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Are you struggling to understand the unique and challenging world of pastoral compensation? Are you maximizing the benefits that could be yours by simply being "wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove" when it comes to how you structure your pastoral pay? 

As a pastor, I get it. Not only can our compensation be confusing, but there are also so many different components that need to be balanced . . . it can be hard to put all the pieces together.

How to Not Be a Broke Pastor is written for pastors/ministers and is designed to make the complexities of clergy pay simple and easy to understand, and also to give you ideas as to how you can use your income to the greatest extent possible. We may not have entered the ministry to get rich, but that doesn't mean we should be broke. Let me help you understand and maximize the benefits of your compensation today.

Thoughts on Preparing to be a Pastor

I regret my choices to attend the college I attended and to major in what I majored in.

Actually, that's not 100% true, but it is about 50% true. It has nothing to do with the school itself, per se, nor the degree, but rather . . . with what I wished I had done.

When I first went to college, I attended a Christian, liberal-arts university. At the time, I wanted to become a politician! No joke. However, during the first semester of my freshman year, God changed my heart, and I committed my life to ministry.

Well, in the church context that I grew up in, when a young man like myself wanted to be in some form of ministry, it was expected that he go to Bible college to prepare himself. Trusting that this was sound advice, I left the university I started at and transferred to a small Baptist Bible college in Wisconsin and majored in Evangelism. I was on my way to being fully prepared for ministry!

Or so I thought . . .

While the Bible college I attended was good enough, I soon realized that what I was learning there was not going to be sufficient to truly prepare me for pastoral ministry. If I wanted to be thoroughly prepared, I would need to attend seminary after graduation.

Upon arriving at seminary, I realized that my three years of training in Bible college had been a complete waste of time and money. Not only was I learning the same things in seminary, but I was learning them in a deeper and more helpful way. I could have attended any college, Christian or not, and majored in any subject, sacred or not, and I would have been just as prepared for ministry after seminary as I was going to be despite my Bible college degree.

This realization deepened even more once I became a pastor. While my seminary education was paying dividends on a weekly basis, there were so many things that I didn't know about taxes, banking, insurance, accounting, bookkeeping, and a whole host of other things. After just a couple of years in pastoral ministry, I knew what I wished I had done.

If I could do it over again, I would not have attended a Bible college, nor majored in any ministry related field. In fact, apart from meeting my beautiful wife and setting me down the path that I am on today, I can't see any benefit to my educational choices at the time. 

If I could do it over again, I would have stayed at the Christian, liberal-arts university and majored in either business or accounting. As the lead/senior pastor of our church, either of those degrees would have been extremely helpful in preparing me for the multitude of non-ministry related tasks and decisions that I, and so many other pastors, have had to face.

If you are thinking about pursuing pastoral ministry someday, let me encourage you to spend your college years focused on a business-related major . . . and THEN attend seminary afterwards to prepare yourself theologically and practically. If you follow this advice, you will be putting yourself in an excellent position for success in the pastorate.