The Best Quotes from 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me

The Best Quotes from 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me April 1, 2018

Many of life’s most important lessons cannot be learned in a classroom. This is especially true of life in the ministry. While Seminary can give you tools for wrestling with the meaning of the biblical text, there’s little it can do to prepare you for the rigors of everyday life in the local church. In 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me, fifteen pastors share lessons they learned in the trenches. This little volume, edited by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson, contains important nuggets of wisdom on life, marriage, parenting, conflict, building trust, training leaders, and growing in humility.

Here are the best quotes from 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me.

“Sure, my theological knowledge positions me to make wise decisions and enables me to feed the flock with healthy grass, but the maturity needed to be a godly under-shepherd comes only through days, weeks, months, and years of labor in the vineyard of the Lord. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I am a man in the middle of his sanctification, just like the people who listen to me preach every Lord’s day.” (Jeff Robinson, 17)

“There was no single Sunday where everything changed, but every Sunday something changed. It was slow and sometimes invisible, but over time, the church became healthier as we learned together how to think and live biblically.” (Mark Vroegop, 25)

“Faithful ministry requires hard work–a major investment of time and sacrifice. But you must not sacrifice your marriage on the humanly contrived altar of an idol. The sanctification of a minister’s wife is built into his God-given job description. If a pastor is going to disciple anyone, it should start with his mate and his children.” (Danny Akin, 34)

“If conflict is not dealt with or handled appropriately, it will surface later with greater fury and may result in bitterness and division. In this sense, conflict can be an opportunity for us to turn to God, but also for God to work in our hearts and through one another for our good and his glory.” (Matt Capps, 48)

“Biblical leaders are men of godly character who display a sufficient competency in handling the Word of God and who express a loving care for the flock of God among them. As leadership candidates display biblical character, faithful, competency, and loving care over time, they will establish credibility with the congregation that makes them worthy of following.” (Juan Sanchez, 60)

“Never assume without evidence that someone is qualified for biblical leadership–you will live to regret it. And don’t imagine biblical leadership will spring up down the road simply because you put someone in a position. Instead, expect biblical leadership to manifest itself from the beginning as you identify and invite brothers to join church leadership.” (Juan Sanchez, 62)

“We need to view leadership with a long-term perspective. We are raising up and equipping leaders for the future, when we’re gone, so let’s equip them and empower them to lead now, while we have the ability to encourage and shape their leadership.” (Juan Sanchez, 63)

“Perhaps the most important thing we can do to demonstrate our love for the church is to crucify any trace of careerism. The local church doesn’t exist to provide us with jobs. It is nobody’s employer. It is so much bigger than any one of us and what we may accomplish. The local church must be the people you share life with and belong to before it is the place you go to work.” (Matt McCullough, 69)

“The goal is to convince our kids that we’re never happier than when we’re with them. If they expect that we’d always rather be with them, it will be easier for them to accept those times that we can’t be.” (Matt McCullough, 71)

“One of the important things I’ve learned is that suffering doesn’t necessarily give you better words: it only makes you more generous with your tears.” (John Onwuchekwa, 76)

“The way to shepherd a church through a season of suffering is by shepherding them before it arrives. If you prepare for a tornado the moment you see the funnel cloud, you’re too late. Tornadoes of suffering are coming, more often than you like and sooner than you think. Prepare yourself and your congregation now.” (John Onwuchekwa, 80)

“The fundamental issue in all conflict is the heart. Whether the conflict seems more objective, like a ministry decision, or more subjective, like personal offenses, it all stems from hearts not totally satisfied in and yielded to Christ. This is probably the most important truth to raise when dealing with conflict. Conflict arises out of hearts that have not fully embraced the glories of the gospel.” (Jay Thomas, 94)

“I believe if you stick to the three-pronged approach of addressing conflict, using the power and truth of the gospel to address it, and aiming the full goal of love, when you face an unusually potent level of conflict, the way forward will be more clear, and there will be a lot less collateral damage to your soul, the church, and the kingdom.” (Jay Thomas, 99)

“Trust isn’t a Chia Pet–sprinkle a little water and watch the miracle. The best thing we can do is patiently provide good soil in which trust may take root.” (Dale Van Dyke, 108)

“I am not my own but have been bought with a price, and that God’s ambition for my life, whether I understand them or not, are always superior to any I might have for my life. Indeed, it is God’s prerogative to do with my life, my family, and my ministry whatever he chooses.” (Scott Sauls, 120)

“If we had access to everything God knows and sees about us, then his ways would make perfect sense to us.” (Scott Sauls, 121)

“Genuinely good endeavors…become broken endeavors when we start depending on them to satisfy our thirst for love, esteem, applause, and approval in ways only Jesus can. We are famous in God’s eyes through Jesus. That should be enough.” (Scott Sauls, 122)

“The seminarian’s dream of smooth pastoral sailing is a mirage. Shepherding involves dealing with sheep. Sheep are messy. And the shepherd is not the sweetest-smelling fellow on the hillside either.” (Phil Newton, 132)

“The job search for pastors usually looks quite different from the way we identify elders. And I wonder if that’s often a mistake.” (Collin Hansen, 143)

“The local church won’t soon displace what only seminaries can teach us. But only the local church under the authority of God can make a man a minister.” (Collin Hansen, 145)

(You can see more of my favorite quotes from other books here.)

Related Posts:
The Best Quotes from God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life

48 Scattered Thoughts about Pastoral Ministry and Being a Pastor

For Further Reading:
Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by R. Kent Hughes

The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper

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