This book aims to help young pastors bridge the gap between seminary training and ministry in a local church, offering real-world wisdom from the experience of veteran pastors.
About the Author
JeffRobinson Sr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a senior editor for the Gospel Coalition and serves as the lead pastor for Christ Community Church of Louisville. He also serves as adjunct professor of church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the coauthor ofTo the Ends of the Earth: Calvin's Missional Vision and Legacy.
Collin Hansen (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves as the editorial director for the Gospel Coalition. He previously worked as an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine and coedits the Cultural Renewal series with Tim Keller. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter at @collinhansen.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues.
Daniel L. Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Matthew Z. Capps(MDiv, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; D.Min. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor at Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, North Carolina. Matt has written various articles for websites and blogs, such as the Gospel Coalition, the Gospel Project, and For the Church. Matt and his wife, Laura, have three children.
Jeff Higbie(MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is pastor of Faith Evangelical Church in Underwood, North Dakota. He is the chairman of the EFCA Northern Plains District Board of Ministerial Standing and serves as president of the Underwood Ministerial Association.
John Onwuchekwa(MA, Dallas Theological Seminary) serves as pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Harry L. Reeder III earned an MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary and a DMin from Reformed Theological Seminary. He is senior pastor of the 4,000-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. He is also the author of From Embers to a Flame.
Jay Thomas (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as the lead pastor of Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was previously the college pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. Jay and his wife, Rebecca, have four children.
Mark Vroegop(MDiv, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is the lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a conference speaker, a council member with the Gospel Coalition, a trustee of Cedarville University, and the author ofDark Clouds, Deep Mercy. Mark blogs at markvroegop.com.
Table of Contents
Foreword R. Albert Mohler Jr. 11
1 Knowledge and Credentials Aren't Enough Jeff Robinson Sr. 15
2 What to Do When My Church Is Dying Mark Vroegop 23
3 How to Shepherd My Wife Daniel L. Akin 31
4 How to Pastor People Who Are Different from Me Jeff Higbie 39
5 How to Follow My Lead Pastor When We Disagree Matt Capps 47
6 How to Lead My Leaders Juan Sanchez 57
7 How to Raise My Kids to Love the Church Matt McCullough 67
8 How to Shepherd My Congregation through Seasons of Suffering John Onwuchekwa 75
9 When to Accept a Call or Leave My Church Harry L. Reeder 85
10 How to Handle Conflict Jay Thomas 93
11 The Need to Fight for My Relationship with God Vermon Pierre 101
12 The Time It Takes to Become a Shepherd Dale Van Dyke 107
13 The Temptation to Make a Name for Myself Scott Sauls 117
14 The Joy I Can Know over a Long Tenure Phil A. Newton 129
15 What to Do When No Church Hires Me Collin Hansen 139
General Index 149
Scripture Index 153
What People are Saying About This
“Many come to seminary thinking that it will teach them everything they need to know for ministry, but seminary is the foundation, not the entire building. Some things are learned only through on-the-job training; which is to say, some things are learned only in life and in ministry. Hansen and Robinson have brought together a number of essays that convey the struggles and joys of pastoral ministry. They remind us that all successful pastoral ministry is a miracle, that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Here we find words of wisdom that will help prepare future and present pastors for the road ahead.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“What would it be like if you could sit down with a dozen or so veteran pastors who have learned from their own successes and failures? What would you ask them, as an aspiring pastor or other church officer? This book is very helpful for all who realize that seminary can’t teach them everything.”
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; Host, White Horse Inn; author, Core Christianity
“In the few years of instruction it offers, a seminary cannot do everything. Often what is missing is getting oriented to the relational things that come with ministry, something a classroom does not teach us. Here is a book that tackles those other, mostly relational things. It does so with sensitivity and wisdom. I commend this book for the heart it can give to your ministry.”
Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement, The Hendricks Center, Dallas Theological Seminary
“We are blessed in our modern day to have some wonderful seminaries. And yet even the strongest seminaries fall short of equipping men with the practical tools every pastor needs in ministry. That is one of the many reasons this book is a brilliant, needed resource. 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me is a gift not just for every seminary-trained pastor, but also for every man laboring in the trenches of pastoral ministry. An all-star cast of pastors has been assembled to fill this long-exposed gap in the training of pastors.”
Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church; Founder, Practical Shepherding; Senior Fellow, Mathena Center for Church Revitalization, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“I’ve come to realize that no matter how much seminary teaches us, there remain some massive lessons that no number of degrees can impart. Since the first step to learning is finding out what we do not know, open this book and begin a ministry-long educational journey in fifteen of the most important subjects of your life.”
David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; author, Jesus on Every Page; Reset; and Exploring the Bible
“Going to seminary is about more than picking up a few skills and getting an education. It is about getting a life. This book is about the contours of such a life, a life of ministry replete with swerves and curves, but sustained all the while by the grace of a God who calls and keeps. Every seminary student should read this book.”
Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture
“I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to receive seminary training. Learning from men who have spent years thinking about biblical and theological matters can be invaluable. Tools and disciplines that I took away from my years of formal education have served me well. But no amount of seminary training can completely prepare a man for pastoral ministry. This book, by faithful men who have both years and scars in gospel ministry, is full of wisdom. Every pastor and aspiring pastor should read and benefit from their experience.”
Thomas Ascol, Executive Director, Founders Ministries; Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Every seminarian would benefit from reading 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me , edited by Collin Hanson and Jeff Robinson, Sr. The different authors cover a broad range of topics including shepherding a dying church, shepherding your wife, handling conflict, and receiving no call. The book does not aim to be a how-to or the seven steps to perfectly handle each situation but to draw our attention to the heart issues involved. God uses circumstances and people to grow us - in character, perseverance, forgiveness, and humility - ultimately that our capacity to love might grow. Each challenging situation ultimately has to do with love, whether growing in love for God Himself, our flock, or our families or rejecting the path of self-love. One great benefit of this book is that it will dull the shock when the inevitable happens. When seminarians envision their future ministry, rarely do they daydream about the conflict, suffering, and temptations to sin that run rampant in a sin-ruined world. While I have been in the ministry for over ten years now, I am still easily shocked and discouraged by ordinary spiritual battles. This book encourages me that "no temptation has overtaken [me] that is not common to man." God has enabled many men before me to faithfully endure and shepherd the flock, and He is more than able to see me through each spiritual battle. He is truly working all things for my good as He leads me further along the path of self-denial and love. Each of the fifteen authors understand that seminary alone cannot prepare a pastor for the ministry, and for that matter, neither can a book. But after reading 15 Things Seminary Couldn't Teach Me, a young pastor can be encouraged that his struggles are not unique and that Jesus is able to refine him into a shepherd after His own heart. I was provided with a complimentary copy as part of the Crossway Blog Review Program to review.