Deepak Reju listed seventeen things seminary neglected to teach him. I think his list is a reminder that seminaries are not sufficient to prepare us for the core of pastoral work. Our training must be based in the local church where all these messy and "unscholarly" issues are dealt with one a regular basis. Here is his list:
- How to tell a man his wife just died.
- How to tell a couple they should not get married.
- How to tell a staff member he is fired.
- How to tell my wife that I am depressed.
- How to tell someone that he or she is foolish.
- How to encourage someone who has given up on life.
- How to plead with a man to stay with his wife.
- How to give comfort to a woman whose husband just left her.
- How to give comfort to a mother who just suffered a miscarriage.
- How to navigate the IRS tax code for pastors.
- How to chair an elders’ meeting.
- How to organize and manage a church budget.
- How to balance church responsibilities with family life.
- How to do a wedding and a funeral.
- How to administer the Lord’s Supper.
- How to best use technology for the sake of the kingdom.
- How to shield my kids from the pressures of being a PK.
He ended by asking if there is anything that others might add to the list. The replies may be found in the comments here along with the usual push-backs that come with the slightest criticism of seminary. What might you add to this list?