Chris Question Friday: Biggest Regret

QUESTION: What is your biggest regret in ministry? – Samuel in Ann Arbor, MI

ANSWER: Not going to seminary. I had intended to go when I finished college, but by the time I reached my senior year at East Texas Baptist University I was already touring almost every weekend as a Christian comedian. I’d finish class on Friday, head directly to the airport to catch a flight, be on the road through the weekend, catch a red eye back on Monday morning and head directly back to class. When I graduated the touring cycle just exploded…I was rarely home…over 200 dates a year…no time for seminary…or anything else. After several years I walked out of comedy directly into church staff positions that did not allow me the time to go back to seminary. I kept saying I’ll do it tomorrow…as of today…tomorrow has never come.

I don’t believe that you necessarly have to go to seminary in order to be an effective church planter…but I do believe you need to go to seminary if you want to eventually become an effective shepherd. For me…I feel like I’m always playing “catch up” in gaining a deeper understanding of Scripture. As a pastor of young 20-somethings I see the incredible value of seminary training. Unchurched folks 25 and below aren’t really that turned on by “self help” topical messages anymore (at least around Lakeland)…they seem to want meatier stuff…book by book studies of the Bible. They are constantly asking me questions about Scripture that have me scrambling for answers. Consequently, instead of getting to read all of the cool books by Andy Stanley, Mark Batterson, Ed Stetzer or Donald Miller that everyone else gets to read…I’m pouring over MacArthur commentaries from cover to cover.

Right now Compass Point is having to make some structural/leadership changes in order to accommodate recent growth. In the days to come I will not be handling any administraion or day-to-day oversight…strictly preaching, mentoring young leadership and shepherding. This is also being done so in 2008 I can start going part-time to a seminary in Orlando. I can’t wait!!!

Chris Question Friday: Biggest Regret

4 thoughts on “Chris Question Friday: Biggest Regret

  1. Charlie Pharis says:

    Thanks again for your insights, Chris. Especially about the fact that “young 20-somethings” aren’t all that interested in our “self-help” messages anymore. Good challenge for us to get back to the Scriptures.

    Oh, and thanks for hitting me right between the eyes with the quote:…”as of today…tomorrow has never come.”

    Good stuff!

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  2. Chris,

    Thank you for this word! I’m tired of people bashing seminary. I find that typically people that bash it bash it because of a set of wrong expectations.

    They expect seminary to make them great leaders, cultural exegetes, etc. That’s not what seminary does. So don’t expect it!

    Seminary teaches you: theology; church history; study methods (i.e. hermeneutics); Biblical languages; etc. And it does that well.

    Here’s the thing… if you’re not a leader, don’t get pissed at seminary for not making you a leader!

    Would you get ticked at Wal-Mart for not selling cars? Of course not, but that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing with regards to seminary! They have a set of wrong expectations and then get ticked when they’re not fulfilled!

    If you want a car… go to a car lot! Don’t get pissed at Wal-Mart for not selling cars!

    If you want a theological education (which I believe is imperative for spiritual leaders) then go to seminary!

    Get what you can at seminary and then supplement with seminars. Believe me, there’s not a lot of crossover!

    Chris, I celebrate your move to go to seminary! Good luck!

    Paul

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  3. Thank you. In the midst of all the cries for us not to bash each other, I am tired of those same people trying to make other pastors with a seminary degree feel inadequate. I have worked hard to gain both a theological education and a practical outlook and approach to ministry. A class room is not set up for that; that is not its purpose.

    Congratulations on your decision to go to seminary.

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