My supervisor recently asked if we should focus on providing more theological education to our churches. I’m all for education, but I did a little research and came to some conclusions. First, I made a list of all our pastors for the past 20 years. Then I gave each one a subjective rating from 1 to 10. Ten meant he was an outstanding pastor, mature in godly character, able to communicate well, and strong in his relationship with the Lord.
I had 32 names on my list, each with a rating. Next I divided the pastors into 2 groups: those with a Bible school or seminary degree and those who only had some informal or self-training. Interestingly, those with a degree had an average rating of 5.6, but those without a degree averaged 8.3. I further noted 8 pastors with whom we had problems with (bad attitudes, immorality, irresponsible). Of the 8, 7 had degrees.
In addition, I’ve noticed that the enrollment at some of the theological education schools in Iloilo is far below what it has been in the past, even when offering free tuition. There just isn’t as many people interested in spiritual things as before. My conclusion is that theological education is not the best determiner of a quality pastor. Rather, pastors who are mighty in spirit and mature in character will do far better, regardless of his theological knowledge.
I think of Pastor Joey who leads one of our largest churches in a neighboring province, who also organizes retreats and fellowships for our other churches in the area. Never went to Bible school or seminary. Same for Pastor Joshua who leads our largest church on a neighboring island. His God-given love for people and humble spirit endears him to his church.
As I sat across from Bro. Ronald, listening to his amazing stories of God at work, I remember the Scripture that says “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” Please pray with me that God will give us more men who are humble in character, mighty in spirit, and passionate to see God’s kingdom grow.