Backs to the Pulpit

One of the things I hate the most is when the people close to me tell others that I am going to college to be a “preacher.” The reality is, even though I often preach, that I am clear that I want to teach religion as a professor, not as a full-time pastor. However, this does not mean that I am not committed to vocational ministry.

I visited Duke University this weekend and met some very interesting people with whom I am excited to continue my education. While I was there, one conversation stuck out. As I was speaking to a prospective M.Div student, he asked me what I wanted to do with my Master of Theological Studies degree. I responded like I always do: “I want to teach.” He followed with, “So your want to steer clear from the ministry/church side of things, right?”

I am very intrigued by this last statement. It infers that what I have committed myself to is not the work of the church, nor does the vocation of teaching theology fall under the label “ministry.”

To all those who think I have turned my back to the pulpit, maybe you are right. However, to say that teaching and preparing people of all ages is not part of the Christian Ministry insults me. It is also extremely untrue. My pulpit will not be raised on a platform in front of pews and ties necks. Rather, I will be standing amidst students with curious minds (hopefully) who understand that what happens in the classroom is just as much a part of Christian discipleship as what goes on behind the pulpit.

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