Monday, November 24, 2008

The Dreadful State of Ministerial Training

I have focused much of my professional and personal life on supporting, counseling, coaching and consulting with Clergy. I have concluded that the preparation they generally receive before entering congregational life as a professional is woefully inadequate. Let me illustrate.

The primary context of clerical ministry is human relationships.

The primary issues of leadership and change always involve relationships and the need to motivate members to accept, lead and pay for change.

The problems that come to a pastor's office are heavily weighted toward a breakdown in human relationships and he/she is expected to resolve those problems and make the people better.

The thing that cause most ministers to fail is an inability to relate well with the members.

Despite these obvious facts, almost 100% of the training for ministry is about large group and mass communication and nothing about interpersonal communication. What are they thinking? Who designs such an inappropriate curriculum, someone who wants ministers to fail?

The result is disappointment, family conflict, burn out, frustration, blaming and shaming and churches unable to minister effectively. When will we ever learn?

Gary Sweeten

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