I came to the end of the fall semester with a beginning knowledge of Biblical Greek (enough to translate it), a deeper understanding of the history around and after the Reformation, a love for Bonhoeffer, and an appreciation for ancient Christian writers on the Lord’s Prayer. These four classes were a great experience, but I felt like something was missing.
Aside from CPE and a few exercises in courses that asked us to respond to congregational scenarios, I still had not had any coursework that was dedicated to practical theology or pastoral work. Each class I had taken absolutely had practical connections and was preparing me for ministry, but I felt like something was missing this past fall semester. Then, I realized that this was my fault.
You see my first year of seminary I made sure to read at least 2 books on pastoral work to supplement my coursework. I found myself easily making connections between the books I chose to read and the classes I was taking. Everything I was studying blended together and made sense for how I would pastor a congregation. But for some reason, I did not read any books on being a pastor my fall semester.
The truth is, that in any school setting we learn the most from what we do outside of the classroom. I think this is because what we do outside of class feeds back into what we are studying, giving us something to reflect on and making the coursework come alive. So, I have realized that I cannot ever again spend a semester not reading books about pastoral work.
I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. Psalm 101:2