January 15, 2016
A discussion began in an online group I am a part of concerning whether pastors who are “pipeliners” (these are folks who go straight into college from high school, then directly into seminary from college, then are ordained and begin serving at a congregation) have had enough “life experience” to be effective pastors. A couple of the questions brought up were: should folks be required to have a year or more in secular employment first and are these folks just too young at 26 or so to handle leading a parish.
It is a debate that many of my seminary classmates also had, often with feelings being hurt on both sides of the coin (especially, it seemed, as many of those who were much older second-career pastors had their minds made up that pipeliners definitely needed "life-experience," no matter what they had already experienced in their lives).
With all this said, as it came up again, I was reminded of just how much I learn from, and am thankful for, being very close friends with one of those pipeliners - our Godson’s mother, in fact. In seminary, she gave me confidence and courage to step into roles I never dreamed I would be in. She kept me on my toes, encouraged me to study hard, helped me learn about things like FaceBook and instant messaging, and helped me to think young and respect youth. I learned so very much from this intelligent, self-assured, deeply devoted pastor - and I still do. I am very proud of who she is as mother, wife, daughter and pastor.
It concerns me that this is simply a reckless debate that does nothing to build-up the body of Christ - because we ALL have gifts and talents and can learn from one another, if we will just open our minds and hearts!!