The Ideal Preparation For The Ministry -- By: Warren Vanhetloo

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 05:1 (Spring 1962)
Article: The Ideal Preparation For The Ministry
Author: Warren Vanhetloo

The Ideal Preparation For The Ministry

Warren Vanhetloo

Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary

What is the ideal training for the ministry? What course should a young man follow? What special training should he include? What preparation should the churches expect of their pastors and missionaries? What facilities should they make available for the training of young people anxious to serve the Lord?

The first and most important preparation, of course, is spiritual. A conversion experience, a commitment to the Lord, growth in the grace and knowledge of the Savior, personal spiritual development — these things are a must for any Christian service. No course can in itself instill these qualities, and yet any course pursued should be conducive to the attaining of them.

When considering ideal preparation, we are aware that there are exceptions. Baptists historically have recognized that God calls into His service men who have no specialized training, nor opportunities for specialized training. God has marvelously used men who have had nothing more than a Bible Institute training. And God will continue to call and use many who do not have the ideal preparation; yet such is and should be the exception rather than the rule.

For those who have the endurance and the financial ability, the usual and most acceptable preparation has been that of a four year college and three year theological seminary. For almost all cases this is sufficient; apart from the exceptions just noted, this is the minimum. Local churches expect this much, and so do Conservative Baptist mission agencies.

For the young man looking forward to full time Christian service, the question arises, which type of college and which course in college? God has raised up in our generation many fine Bible colleges, and certainly if at all possible a young person should make every effort to attend a Bible-centered institution.

Logically his major should be in Bible. A few men come to seminary without proper background in English Bible, but they do not profit as they should from the seminary curriculum in so doing. No man can know his Bible too well in serving the Lord.

Language is an important preparation. A student should include English grammar, composition, literature, and some speech training, plus two foreign languages if at all possible. He certainly should have at least two years of Greek during his college work.

A well-rounded preparation would include introductory or survey courses in philosophy, logic, history, psychology, biology, sociology, economics, anthropology, etc., to enable him to minister acceptably in the world in which we live today.

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