Driving across rural Kansas in December I couldn’t help but be reminded of this fact:
- In the New Testament, nearly all of the illustrations Jesus used were agrarian.
- In modern times, nearly all modern formal education happens in the city.
It’s a conflict that most people training for vocational ministry either completely ignore or they think they can read a commentary which will explain what Jesus was referring to. (Most of these commentaries aren’t written by people who don’t know anything about that stuff either… they are written by people who live in the city but did research from other books about what to put in the commentary.)
And the implication is that most ministry models emulate a business structure and worship is built around a lecture when Jesus’ illustrations for believers were that ministry should run like a farm.
But I think most Americans are so removed from agrarian life that they miss what life in ministry could really be.
And so I’m left to wonder:
- How can people learn to shepherd a church flock if they don’t know anything about actual sheep?
- How can you “fish for men” if you don’t know how to fish?
- How can you “reap a harvest” if you’ve never planted a crop?
And let’s state the obvious… I’m not aware of any ministry preparation that places wanna-be pastors on farms or commercial fishing boats or herding sheep.
Instead, we send wanna-be pastors to the city where ministry preparation looks like any other course of study.
And we wonder why our churches look like businesses, why church workers are comfortable in offices, why they are white collar workers completely missing the blue collar majority of our population?
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.
But most of us couldn’t pick a sheep out of a line-up.