Donald Miller on Educated Church Leadership

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

This is a great blog from Donald Miller. He challenges the assumptions that you need to be an academic to lead the church.  As a partially-trained academic theologian, this was a very interesting read to me.

The first disciples were not teachers, they were fishermen, tax collectors and at least one was a Zealot. We don’t know the occupation of the others, but Jesus did not charge educators with the great commission, he chose laborers. And those laborers took the gospel and created Christian communities that worked, that did things and met in homes and were active. They made speeches, for sure, but so do businessmen and politicians and leaders in any number of other professions. Educators make speeches and do little else, except study for their next lecture. I wonder what the first disciples would think if they could see our system of schools, our million lectures, our billion sub lectures, our curriculums and our lesson plans. I think they’d be impressed, to be honest, but I also think they’d recognize a downside.

Generally speaking, I agree. ;At the same time I do acknowledge his point that none of the disciples were academics, I remember that the apostle Paul was, and it was Paul who most would argue had the most widespread impact. Paul did lots, too, not just lecture as Miller’s pointing out, but he was a very well-trained academic mind. Since he does finish by saying that he isn’t discrediting academics, just saying that it isn’t the only thing that matters, I can still support most of what he’s saying.

I’d agree that there is more to leading than just teaching. Teaching is important, and we wouldn’t get that far without it. But we can also get lost in it. Knowledge without love is meaningless, and sometimes the church throughout history and today has forgotten about love as it argued over finer points of theology and killed those who disagreed. I would also agree that there is much more to being a Christian than agreeing with the specific doctrines as defined by the denomination/church you are a part of. Sometimes us theologians forget that, and end up missing what should be the point of our theology.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.