Last night, I began reading Jack Deere’s Even In Our Darkness. Being a graduate of Dallas Seminary, I knew a little bit about this former instructor, but after reading his memoir, I know him much more. I was not prepared for the encounter.
This Saturday, another group of future ministry leaders will join in a seminary processional to be inspired, cheered on, prayed over, and sent out. After the pictures, graduates will set aside their gowns and get on with life. Some (hopefully most) will tack their diplomas on a wall and flourish in ministry.
We live in a superficial age that is less inclined to go deep, more concerned to be inspired and moved in the emotions. We need solid foundations. Life must be first be rooted in theology.
The depth of the ministerial task and the complexity of our age call for forceful training. And yet, I meet more and more students who are making degree choices based upon what has the least force. Along with this, too few churches and individual believers want to invest in the cost of training their future leaders.
I have learned—and am still learning—that there is no substitute for personal presence. More than our sermons, this is what congregants will remember.