Thought-provoking excerpts from Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand, eds. Becoming a Pastor Theologian: New Possibilities for Church Leadership (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2016), pp. 2, 19, 41-42, 56, 90, 105, 110, 182.

“There’s probably not another profession that suffers from such a lack of clarity as to what the job itself is all about. The net result is that your average pastor has been reduced to little more than what Stanley Hauerwas calls ‘a quivering mass of availability.’ This may be why so many pastors resign their posts every year, or leave the ministry and never want to return, or make often-insane attempts to conceal their confusion and burnout with different forms of self-medication, from drinking to pornography to affairs to overeating to obsessing about money or power to complete emotional detachment from the lives of their people—or from God himself.”  Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand (2)

“… The sermon has to be a Bible study. It does not need to be a study of the Greek grammar, but it does need to engage the text of Scripture. Ecclesial biblical theology, in short, does not tolerate jaunty sermons that collapse into a pious version of self-help. Let me say it bluntly: Preachers who spend their sermon time telling cute anecdotes or reviewing the news or commenting on the World Series are guilty of pastoral malpractice. You are commissioned by the Lord Jesus to be a minister of the Word. So minister it.”  Peter J. Leitart (19)

“Pastors should be evangelicalism’s default public intellectuals, as distinguished from academic scholars… Most scholars are specialists who know a lot about a little, but are tongue tied when it comes to the big questions. Pastors address the big questions—of life and death, meaning and meaninglessness, the physical and the spiritual—on a regular basis, and have to do so in a way that communicates to non-academics.”  Kevin J. Vanhoozer (41-42)

“… a pastor theologian… reads theological scholarship and then serves as a translator of theology for the uninitiated.”  Gerald Hiestand (56)

(Speaking of Calvin) “It is clear that all of Geneva’s ministers were expected to be students of God’s Word who were growing in theological discernment, competent to exercise theological leadership within their parishes and over Christ’s church. This vision for pastoral leadership presupposed rigorous personal study as well as substantial, consistent participation in a theological community. Only a handful of Geneva’s ministers were ‘professional’ theologians who wrote books and instructed future pastors at the Academy. But in Calvin’s Geneva, every member of the pastoral company was a theological practitioner, called to be a pastor theologian.”  Scott M. Manetsch (90)

“Small groups and home Bible studies are sometimes considered a recent phenomenon. Ultimately, of course, they go back at least as far as the house churches of the New Testament. Yet small group Bible studies have more immediate antecedents among the Puritans. Then, as now, Christians practiced the communion of the saints by meeting in one another’s homes for prayer and Bible study.”  Philip Graham Ryken (105)

“Is it possible than even evangelical leaders, applying the methods and techniques of corporate America to grow churches and produce measurable results, unwittingly abuse the fundamental sanctity of each person? Because it is through persons that God reveals himself, and because the persons whom we serve are unrepeatable, irreducible and eternal, we must take a genuinely personal approach and not push men and women through a spiritual assembly line.”  Chris Castaldo (110)

“In the early church, the highest-caliber pastors of the day used their learning to win the hearts and minds of unbelievers and to answer the doubts of believers. We will do well to learn from their approach.”  Josh Chatraw (182)