Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sadly, Many Pastors Deem It Unnecessary

9 Ways to Continue Theological Development
October 10th, 2008 by JHG

From the 9 Marks blog:
On Tuesday, Mark Dever, Michael Lawrence, and I spoke to a group of church planters at the invitation of the SBC’s Embrace Baltimore initiative. The theme of the day was the role that theology and theological development plays in the life of a church planter, and Michael gave some very helpful advice on how busy church planters can work theological development into their schedules.

Here are some notes that summarize his suggestions:

1. Build it into the things you’re already doing. (QT, sermon prep, discipling, etc.)

2. Stop wasting so much time on the internet. (pick just 2 or 3 blogs to read, and look at them once a week; stop wasting time updating your Facebook, Linkedin, and MySpcae pages, etc.)

3. Always have a book nearby. (capture the spare moments)

4. Build time for reading and reflection into your schedule. (you’ll be amazed how much time is freed up if you do #2! But beware, a pastor’s schedule abhors a vacuum, so if you don’t block out the time, somethingelse will fill it in.)

5. Have a plan. (if you aim at nothing you’re sure to hit it.)

6. Read primary sources, not commentary. (you don’t have time to waste on the commentators. Read the Bible and the people who have written important theology. You can do it. You don’t need a PhD to read Luther, Calvin, Augustine, Edwards, Grudem, Frame, etc)

7. Don’t do it alone. (cultivate a theological conversation among your leaders. They will correct your idiosyncrasies and keep you accountable. It will also create a culture of theological seriousness in your church, which will benefit everyone.)

8. Let the Scriptures, not our culture, set the agenda. (Trying to keep up with our culture’s agenda is a chasing after the wind. On the other hand, if the Scriptures set the agenda, you’ll be ready for anything thecultures blows at you.)

9. Church History and Historical Theology are the pastors Cliff Notes to theology. (Other people, smarter than me, have already faced the stuff I face and have figured a lot of things out. I can stand on theirshoulders and look like a genius! The cultural package may have changed, but there’s nothing new under the sun.)

3 comments:

Ken e said...

I don't think a good commentary is a bad investment though. My pastor at Christ Covenant, if I'm not mistaken uses one, and he preaches expository. So it fits right in with the method like that. Also, if a person is studying on a specific book, it's very well needed. Commentaries can expand the primary source.

srhoyle said...

i agree Ken. but i think it should come last in the process. Bible, then primary sources, then commentary. i think every sermon is creating a commentary, so one should do their own commentary first and then check it against the standards...ie. Matthew Henry, Spurgeon, Calvin and others.

Ken e said...

Yups, exactly! I also think its good for a church to allow a pastor to take a study leave from time to time to prepare for surmons. I know my church in Midland allowed my pastor to take a week off normal church duties to study for the next sermon series on the book of Romans.