Preparing Better Pastors Part 1

Thom Rainer has posted an interesting article entitled “Eight Areas Where Many Ministers are Unprepared for Ministry”  and I thought that for the next several few days that I would interact with some of the things that he has to say.  The first area that he mentions is:

1. Relational intelligence. I wish every minister could somehow take some type of relational intelligence inventory. I wish they could be coached on how to relate to all types of people. Many ministers crash because they have never learned how to relate well to others.

Unfortunately, I think that most of us have learned this lesson the hard way.  When I first went into the ministry, I can vividly remember the first time that I discovered that everyone does not think about or respond to situations in the same way that I did.  It seems rather naive now, but I honestly believed that people would just naturally see things the way that I did.  As you might imagine, that first church did not go well and I barely escaped with my “rear-end intact” as my dad would say.  What went wrong?  I simply didn’t understand that there are different kinds of people and personalities in the church.

My eyes got opened to this when my wife and I attended a marriage retreat put on for pastors and their wives by our state convention.   During that retreat they gave us all a Briggs Myers personality assessment and taught us how the various personality types think, act and can interact with each other.  Not only was this session enlightening for my marriage but it also taught helped me to gain some insight into why people in the church acted and responded in the ways they did.

Over the years, I have watched a number of Pastors who have blown up churches and ruined their own ministries simply because they never learned how to deal with the multiplicity of personalities that make up a church.  Young Pastors who have just come out of the seminary are especially prone to this problem.  Let’s face it, seminary is often more like a monastery than a local church.  Naive young men sometimes come out of the seminary with a dangerous idealism and false idea about what real people are like.  We also forget to tell them that they have to learn to work with people if they want to succeed.  This is where some training in personality types and practical experience could be a great help.

 

 

 

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