Friday Five of My Own!

Here's my Friday Five:

Name five things you are glad you learned in seminary/ministry training, hope to learn in seminary/ministry training, or wish you had learned in seminary/ministry training:

1. I wish I had learned more about creative preaching. We were given examples (to read or watch or videotape, and some of the other students were very creative), but not much on how to tap that creativity for ourselves, or much opportunity to explore and try it out (when every sermon you preach in class is for a grade, you're not likely to push any envelopes...)

2. I wish I had learned some basic church book-keeping and financial know-how. If this had been offered as an elective, I would have taken it. We had one class session in the Church Administration course on finance, and a lot of that was spent on how to fill out the seminary's denomination's yearly report. As it is, I can (just) read a balance sheet and treasurer's report. But to feel knowledgeable about a capital campaign or investments? That's a big NO, Mort...

3. I am glad I learned the denomination's hymnal. Even though I am in another denomination now, it was very helpful to spend the time going through it and learning what the notes meant (like " D" and "Cwm Rhondda"). One of the preaching professors had helped with the most recent revision of the hymnal, and the professor of church music had been a part of a hymnal supplement, and both of them spent time in their classes teaching us about it. I learned some theology, I learned a bit more about the denomination (and the politics thereof), and how to create a better worship service, too. Not to mention the credibility I now have with church musicians...

4. I am glad for the diversity of the seminary I attended. It was a United Methodist seminary, but we had students from almost every Christian denomination and some non-Christian. We had African Methodist Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal-Zion, we had Korean Methodists, and Unitarians, we had Quakers, we had American Baptists, MCC-ers, Disciples of Christ, Assemblies of God, Lutherans (ELCAs), Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Catholics, and some Jewish students. We were part of a consortium of seminaries in the area that included an Episcopal seminary, an ELCA seminary, a Catholic seminary and a Baptist seminary (historically African-American). We were required to take at least one course at another denomination's seminary before we graduated. Being a procrastinator, I waited until my last semester to do so, and I was very sorry I had waited!

5. This isn't so much about the seminary, but I wish I had been able to figure out a better way to balance seminary, work, and family, especially during my internship. There were so many demands on my time--it was a paid internship, so the church I was serving had a call on me for 20 hours a week; plus studying (minor things like Systematics and United Methodist History and Doctrine) and the commute to school. It didn't leave as much time for my family as I would have liked, and we all suffered from it.

How about you?


Sue said…
Amen to all of the above! I would add: I wish I had been told that the real power in any congregation lies with the Queen of the Kitchen. You know the one I mean. The One Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken. She has the keys to the good china, and everyone in the church is afraid of her.

Really. I didn't find out about "kitchenistas" until my first year of ministry. Eye-opening experience.
Rainbow Pastor said…
Oh, yes, the "kitchenistas"...

One of our professors was very good at just sitting there talking to the class, as if he were just rambling, but actually giving very good advice--like having breakfast a couple of times a week in the local diner/cafe; and never ever running to the grocery store, even in the middle of the night, wearing a t-shirt/jeans/whatever you would be embarrassed for a parishioner to see you in--because you were bound to run into one, even at 1 am at the Stop-n-Save... Other good advice: read the local paper, every day, even on Sunday; answer phone calls right away; keep a good relationship with your church secretary if you are lucky enough to have one); go to all the local events (the other denominations' flea markets and oyster dinners and Greek festivals and plays and Christmas pageants...); and change all the locks on the parsonage/rectory/manse when you move in.

Time-tested and true--but they're not part of the curriculum!

Oh, and dogs as "flower girls" at their owners' weddings DO NOT work, and don't let the owners talk you into it...

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