Friday, December 9, 2011

P is for Pastor

Today I completed my last test for what will undoubtedly be one of the hardest classes for me at seminary - Greek.

I am not a language person. I attempted four different languages in college, and only fulfilled the credit because I had a sympathetic professor who saw how I struggled and let me do a sociological study about American Sign Language and the Cleveland community. Needless to say, I approached Greek with an intense sense of trepidation, and soon found that Greek was far harder than anything I had ever tried to learn to begin with.

This entire semester has been a struggle. I purchased iPad apps to learn vocab. I hired a friend to tutor me, doing her laundry in lieu of payment. I made late night phone calls to people who love Greek and spent hours writing and re-writing paradigms. I have never worked so hard at something so abstract to me in my entire life. It all boiled down to this one test, and I look forward to knowing the test score to see exactly how well that work paid off.

There is a saying, "P is for Pastor." We need to pass the class so we can transition from talking about ministry to working in ministry. It's not to make light of our work here, educating ourselves to the best of our ability is our duty as church leaders, but it helps to keep that education in perspective.

A seminary education covers a wide breadth of knowledge. Not only do we learn practical stuff like how to preside over communion and what are appropriate words to say to someone who is in the hospital, but we also learn highly academic things like Biblical Greek and Systematic Theology. Covering such a wide gauntlet of options it is unlikely that each course is going to celebrate our strengths - sometimes they are going to show us our weakness.

But that is the beauty of being a part of the body of Christ. I will never be a person who could translate a passage from Luke in the blink of an eye. It will take me hours to do what could take a fellow classmate mere moments. That being said, I'm really good at helping a committee discern a workable budget, and I am definitely the person who develops a strong volunteer ministry. My natural skill sets may not be in translating the language of the saints, but I am blessed to be in a community with people where such talents are their skill sets. Together, as a community we do the work of God's kingdom.

Maybe the "P is for Pastor" doesn't have anything to do with passing. Maybe it has everything to do with recognizing we are part of a body greater than ourselves.

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