Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Must walk on water?

The following are the requirements for becoming a minister in a mainstream American denomination: knowledge of theology; church history; Hebrew and Christian scripture; world religions; social theory and ethics; human development, family life, and ministry with youth; denominational history; the theory, method, and practice of religious education; professional ethics; worship, preaching, and music aesthetics; pastoral counseling; leadership and organization; administration and management; a knowledge of multiculturalism; and finally, sexual health and sexual boundaries.

Noted author Lyle Schaller once commented that if a minister with the above credentials was also young, attractive, had well-behaved children, and a spouse of independent means, that minister would be perfect!


  1. Don't forget knowing how to balance the church budget, even when everyone in the congregation gave the proverbial widow's two mites -- that is, everyone gave the widow's two mites considered as a fixed amount (two small copper coins), not considered as a percentage of the widow's annual income (which was more than anyone else).

  2. A reader wrote, "The absurd requirements for becoming a minister only lead to church members perpetuating the belief that ministers can do it all, and the resulting 65-70 hour work weeks that pastors routinely put in. This is a formula for ministerial burnout and unhappy clergy families."

  3. Sylvia Anderson, a Lutheran, wrote, "No one person can have all the skills supposedly required for becoming a pastor. As a lay person, I believe the most important attribute a minister should possess is an openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in using the strengths and talents God has given him.

    My minister should have the capacity of recognizing the strengths and talents of those in his congregation and making use of those people. A minister is one member of the body of Christ, not the whole person.