ADVERTISING
 
Monday, October 22   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Media
Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Peter Mead
 

10 pointers for “untrained” preachers

Is there a Bible school where you could take a single course? Diligently hunt the best books to read, as well as well-informed people to engage with in conversation.

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTHOR Peter Mead 01 SEPTEMBER 2016 10:17 h GMT+1
Photo: Ben White (Unsplash, CC)

There are many, many preachers, in many denominations, in many cultures, that are doing wonderful ministry without ever having had the privilege of formal training.  Here are 10 pointers for the “formally untrained” preacher:



1. Don’t wallow in insecurity because of a lack of formal training – Most of the “formally untrained” preachers I have met would love to be able to study in a Bible College or Seminary. There are undoubtedly great benefits from being able to do so. However, God knows the circumstances of your life and He is thoroughly committed to developing your character and ministry. There is no need for insecurity because of a training path you have not been able to take.



2. Don’t be proud of your lack of a degree – Some of the strongest critiques of the arrogance that can result from formal training have come from people who reek of pride. Why the pride? Because they haven’t been “formally trained.” They are self-taught. They are self-made.  Sadly, they are often also self-absorbed and self-deceived too. The “formally untrained” preacher can be wonderfully godly, but this person can also be horribly arrogant and painfully unaware of what they don’t know.



3. Recognise the first of two big weaknesses of “self-taught” ministry: a lack of exposure – It is hard to know what you don’t know if you have always chosen what you have read and studied. A formal curriculum helps to force exposure in areas you might never choose otherwise. I remember a conversation with a man who claimed all he needed was his “library of 66 books” (i.e. just his Bible). In the same conversation he revealed his commitment to a major heresy, but he had no idea.



4. And note the second of two big weaknesses: a lack of critique – While there are a lot of problems with Bible schools, there are some great benefits. One is to have your thoughts challenged.  You have to express your thinking on paper, and you then get those thoughts shot at by someone who knows a lot more than you. You get to discuss with fellow students over lunch, who also are happy to test your thinking with alternative viewpoints. A “self-taught” preacher is in real danger of carrying untested thinking through life, into the pulpit, and straying theologically as a result.



5. Beware of trying to sound educated in ways you are not – Actually, this could have gone in the list for the seminary trained preachers too. It is tempting to try to sound more knowledgable than we actually are. For instance, having read some commentaries, it is tempting to drop a Greek term and its definition into the message. Please don’t. Anyone who has studied Greek will spot a lack of awareness, anyone who hasn’t might be impressed by your knowledge and there is a chance you will preach error. The goal in preaching ministry is simplicity that communicates truth and serves the listener, rather than complexity that communicates nothing and serves the preacher’s ego.



6. General critiques of people with training are unbecoming – Some trained folks are worthy of great critique, but don’t generalise (and typically, don’t verbalise either). I remember one preacher I used to enjoy who suggested that everyone with a PhD is insecure and gave a harsh alternative for what the three letters stand for. I am not sure what benefit his listeners derived from this critical spirit, but I know his shelves were full of the fruit of the labour of numerous PhD’s. Tearing others down to strengthen your own position will always come across poorly.



7. Grow – Lean into your walk with Christ with an inquisitive spirit, a disciplined reading schedule, a passion for ministry and you will grow.  Do that for a decade and your ministry impact will add up to much more than a highly educated, but spiritually stagnant minister down the road. (And if the highly educated individual is not stagnant, but is also growing and thriving? Then praise God and press on!)



8. It is hard to know what you don’t know – I’ve met many people who assume seminary is a place to learn obscure theological trivia. Actually, the best theological training is not about probing the frontiers of obscure theoretical theology. Rather, it is about probing the very foundations of our faith and discovering the richness of the Gospel. There are a lot of people with a very “thin” Christianity who are convinced they know all there is to know (that is worth knowing). They are wrong. There is a rich Christianity that standard fare evangelical preaching knows all too little about. Perhaps you could get a taster in Mike Reeves’ The Good God, for instance.



9. Get training – Don’t miss opportunities to attend training courses, seminars, workshops, etc. Is there a Bible school where you could take a single course? Diligently hunt the best books to read, as well as well-informed people to engage with in conversation. Pray about finding someone who can mentor you in some way. Not going to Bible school is not a commitment to solitary learning – look for conversation partners who can help you think, and nudge you to read things you never would otherwise (Luther, Sibbes, Edwards, etc. or maybe a book about early church history like JND Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines).



10. Being in a seminary is a privilege, so is being in God’s school – But taking pride in either is dangerous. Be sure to keep up your conversation with the ultimate conversation partner – God himself. Ask him questions, write them down, see how you learn and grow. Pride always manifests in an “I don’t need you” attitude. It is ugly irrespective of educational opportunity or lack of it. Humbly walk with Christ, prayerfully engage with him through your study of the Bible and he will equip you for every good work.



What would you add to this list of pointers for preachers who have not been “formally trained?”



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. This article first appeared at his blog Biblical Preaching.



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. This article first appeared at his blog Biblical Preaching.

See more: http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/1776/Life_now


Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. This article first appeared at his blog Biblical Preaching.

See more: http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/1776/Life_no

 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - 10 pointers for “untrained” preachers
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
How does romantic love change over time? How does romantic love change over time?

Psychatrist Pablo Martínez uses a metaphor to explain how romantic love evolves.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.