Tuesday, March 25, 2008

EJ Interview with George O. Wood pt1

George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in America on the value of ministerial education:
The experience I had at Fuller made me believe that ministers need to get as deep an education as possible. When I was a younger minister, Robert Frost, one of my spiritual mentors, prayed for me and the other students. He said, “Lord, help them lay foundations that are strong enough to bear the weight You will later place on them.”

A formal theological education helps ministers build strong foundations for life and helps them avoid burnout. The reason people get burned out in the ministry is they do not have sufficient intellectual and spiritual resources to draw on to sustain them.

I walked into a pastor’s office when I was a younger minister. I looked at his library. It contained only books that were titled, Simple Sermon Outlines,and they had cobwebs on them. Some were unused. I thought to myself, This congregation is not getting fed, because he is not being fed. He will not last. This pastorate will not last.

Many ministers cannot afford to continue a formal education. Often their time and resources go toward supporting their families. But with the Internet, libraries, and the many resources available for learning, ministers have opportunity to continue their personal study and educational advancement.

Continual learning is critical. As a pastor, I spent about 20 hours a week in study and message preparation. I do not know how a pastor can feed people if he is not spending substantive time in study. The seminary experience gave me the tools, resources, and life disciplines to continue learning throughout my ministry.
This is really good stuff. Too bad so many in the AG (and other Pentecostal or Charismatic groups) tend downplay education. Many believe all that is needed is "the anointing" and the Holy Spirit - but it hard for the Spirit to do much with someone who doesn't know anything...



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