Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coping with Change

There is one regret that i have after being involved in fulltime ministry here in the context of Malaysia that I'm in (Sarawak to be exact) and that is I should have gotten some other form of educational qualifications. Most pastors here are simply educated in one field only (theological education). Some study at most up to a bachelors level, while the bulk are simply having certificates and a diploma in theological studies. These I would say are the minimum if you want to be a fulltime pastor. Most pastors are trained to adapt to a rural setting of ministry. So most are good with their hands.

But at the juncture of the times, modernity has hit the shores of Borneo, and there is an increasing form of development that is happening. Because of this sweeping shift, it is difficult for pastors to adapt with the progress that is happening around. I'm not sure if there are others who share my views on this but I do see this as a concern, especially for fulltime pastors who have no other educational background.

With all the shifting, a lot of pastors are finding it hard to cope ministering in the urban areas because you do need other skills which the rural minded training cannot provide. Pastors are feeling the effects of being intimidated by their educated 'board' of leaders, which in turn tend to influence the direction of the church (at points in an unhealthy manner to some degree). Another factor I might add to is the financial struggle that pastors face. And being trained in the capacity of a rural setting, it is at times impossible to combat this problem.

This is why I see it is extremely important that future pastors get themselves trained as much as possible in other fields of education as well as their theological training. This would help immensely in their connectedness with their congregation in some level of interaction and respect. I don't mean in a sense that we need another form of degree to get proper respect, but what i am simply arguing here is 'the times they are a changing'. It would also help future generation pastors to acquire some needed financial aid having other skills to adapt to the urban setting.

I wish something would be done about this, but many don't really see this as a needed shift to adapt to. I guess many still love the old wineskins and don't see the need for change. It is considered a sin if a pastor does choose to work in another field, or after he has been trained in a theological setting he chooses to study something else other than theology is considered in, still a large circle of folks as apostasy or a sign that someone is acting like Jonah. Well, i do hope in a few more year these social stigmas would fade and be no more.

So as I type this post, I do intend to pursue another course of educational knowledge simply for the fact that change is needed. I'm not sure how this is in the west but as far as I can tell, i don't think this is so much a western issue as it is in my context.


Kurt Willems said...

The lack of education is usually in three situations in my context: 1 A businessman turned pastor has no theological training but reads popular books and has lots of charisma. 2 Rural pastors in small churches that dont see education as a requirement to preach full of the holy ghost. 3 Pastors who are genuinely called but minister in impoverished areas who do not have finances to afford the needed education.

Also, i think it is odd that if a pastor chooses to study something besides theology is looked at as a Jonah. This is not something i have seen here too often.

Tremonti said...

The three context that you mentioned are a mirror reflection here as well! This is interesting.

And what you mentioned as odd, well welcome to my world. In this matter if someone started with theological education he must stick there otherwise he/ she is evading the call. So if you are in fulltime ministry there is no way out. A stigma if you do i should say. But i do hope things change.

Hopeful Theo

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I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations