Theologian or Entrepreneur?

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I have been wondering what the ratio is between churches planted in the CRC by those who have MDiv's and those who are Ministry Associates? Part of my wondering comes about because I think there is a certain entrepreneurial aspect that is required to plant a church that may not normally be an inclination of those training to be theologians. Since church planting is high risk it would likely draw a different kind of pastor than a church that is already established. In the professionalization of ministry perhaps we are training toward different competencies than are required to begin a church where there is no church.

I think I read somewhere that in the world of business formal education is not a likely predictor of success in starting a business, but is a predictor of managing a business well once it is established. If that is true and if the best way to reach people with the gospel is to start new churches, perhaps we need to rethink our denominational educational priorities. I have more questions than answers at this point, but it would make for an interesting study.

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A wonderful post. I too am interested in those findings. In my opinion, church planting requires an additional set of skills to the average seminary graduate. Perhaps this is why Home Missions encourages (i.e. "requires") candidates for new church development to participate in an "Assessment Center" somewhere around North America.

Another question you may be interested in is, why aren't more pastors naturally entrepenurial? You'd think that with a commission...no...a GREAT Commission of "Going and making disciples of all nations," we would find more people willing to invest the risk in exchange for a reward of a more fulfilled commission.

Although, I suppose I, too, have my biases being a CTS M.Div grad and New Church Developer. 

  

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An intriguing discussion. Here is a variation on the theme: It seems to me that we are increasingly training ministers to become CEOs rather than pastors. It would be interesting to find out how many second-career pastors have that entrepreneurial or CEO bent.

It seems to me that CTS should be training ministers to be pastors: a solid theological education and a passion for visiting people and preaching. I am coming across an increasing number of ministers who fancy themselves as CEOs. They want to run the show, call the shots, set the church's vision, take a few intriguing courses, and preach a wonderfully generic sermon.

We need ministers who preach well. That happens when they have oratorical gifts, a theological education, and a heart to listen to his/her parishioners.

 

Do we need ministers who posess an entrepreneurial spirit to plant churches? Perhaps. There is a sense of adventure and risk in planting a church. More importantly, we need theologically trained men and women who have extraordinary people skills, a strong sense of humility, and compassion for the community.

 

Rod, you speak of the 'professionalization of ministry'. I cringe somewhat when I read that. You're right; ministry has become a profession, a career with wonderful job security (unless you fall victim to Article 17). The Christian Reformed Church is the highest paid denomination (at least in Canada) when it comes to ministers' salaries. There is a sense of pride that we take care of our own. But there is something to be said for those denominations where salaries are one-half of what the CRC pays, where 'salary' is called a 'stipend', where the stipend is paid at the beginning of the month as a church council's indication of good faith, rather than a salary paid at the end of the month as a reward for work done. Have we lost the sense of servanthood by paying our ministers extremely well? Is the minister's salary and related job security attracting those to the ministry who perhaps shouldn't be?

Okay. Call these questions a digression. It's all related to the kinds of men and women who are entering the CRC ministry in the 21st century, church plant, chaplaincy, regular parish.

Excellent comments, Keith (and Rod too.)!