3GT Episode 31: Brothers, Some of Us are Professionals!

The parishonier questions why the church does not train some of its people to be high-powered executives. Kyle does a Kyle and turns the question back: Is it the job of the church to train people to do jobs? The prof offers a few ideas on gifting and mentoring. The theology of calling is discussed. We learn one of us has a rocket scientist for a brother. Kyle then goes Augustine on us, and did he really say do what you want? It’s another free wheeling conversation on 3GT!

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Books cited

Robert Clinton, The Making of a Leader: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development

Sinclair Ferguson, Discovering God’s Will

Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

Terry Wallace, Stuck!: Navigating Life and Leadership Transitions

5 Comments

  1. Janelle March 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    Is this how I get the psalm CDs? 🙂

  2. David Carr March 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    This was a helpful episode. I am facing the need for a vocational transition and the discussion about calling was helpful. When you discuss helpful resources, like the books by Clinton, Walling, Ferguson & Guinness, it would be great if you would include at least the author and title of them in the introductory text on the website.

  3. Keith Wing March 31, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    I appreciate these podcasts and am often listening to them while, curiously for this topic, I am traveling for my work and vocation. I find these types of things help me fill up time in airports, while driving, etc. This one was particular difficult, however, to listen to as Pastor Borg, after often and previously having citing the differences of living, adapting and serving in a rural/agrarian community, seemed to seek to put distance between pastoral shepherding and vocational training/counseling of people in different lines of work. A pastor need not be married to clearly apply the principles of God’s word to marriage. A pastor need not be a nuclear physicist to clearly apply the principles scripture and truths of life to that work. Living a principled and faithful life IS our work. We don’t read about the particular knowledge of Joseph or Mordecai who served in monumental roles, but we do read about the ways in which they faithfully and diligently carried out their duties. The good news is that the three of you eventually pieced together some of the relevant and valuable ways in which the church, and pastors in particular (BTW, you missed the value of the plurality of elders a bit here, though Pastor York did mention the networking aspect) as you worked your way through this topic. You mentioned some very good reference materials and all finally agreed that, yes, helping apply principles is one way to help equip the saints for the work of the church. There are actually many great books on this topic – I think I have about 30 on my shelf. The work of the church is the work which is done by all those in the church – even to the ends of the earth. Think of vocations as “gospel delivery routes.” I thought of the hundreds of vocations that are mentioned specifically in the scriptures and the roles they played in the church, in government, in society and in the church. I wondered at why Paul and Moses and other writers took pains to mention the trade or skill of the person when mentioning something they did. I wondered about the “having a good reputation among men” requirement for ruling elders. I wondered about the references to the vocations of those who were called out of their vocations to the service of the King and the church – was that really a vocational change or? I wondered about the ways in which the scriptures described the way to know how men and women were being faithful by describing how they went about their work. I wondered about how the gospel was often delivered to the place of work (think Ethiopian eunich, Centurian, jailer, thief, etc.) by someone who had no particular knowledge of that work, but spoke truth into the life made ready by the Spirit. The question of Christian leadership, which launched this particular topic, wasn’t much addressed and a pastor or elder, who is a leader, ought to be very well able to teach and speak into the lives of leaders. The question seemed to be more about how to live and lead and serve in particularly Christian ways when carrying out our work. Whether they lead banks, armies, governments, coffee shops, etc. It actually seemed to be a pretty big softball thrown up, but you decided to bunt. I want to encourage you guys to come back around on this topic at some point if you have the chance. This is still great work you do and thanks for the opportunity to comment.

    • Kyle Borg March 31, 2017 at 11:15 am #

      Thanks for your comment on the recent episode of 3GT. I’m slightly suspicious that we may be speaking past one another, and in an effort not to do that I’m wondering if I can ask and say:

      1. I’m struggling to see the relationship between what I have said/written on the rural ministry and what I said in the episode. Could you elaborate more on this particular difficulty?

      2. Perhaps some of the perceived disagreement is related to a miscommunication or a different emphasis. I understood it primarily in relation to my calling as a pastor (i.e. “Pastor, why aren’t you training professionals”). The way in which it was worded, I think the question could go in that direction: “…as pastors how do you.” Whether that was the appropriate way to answer the question it was the perspective from which I approached it.

      Thus, my point throughout the episode was *not* to say that there aren’t guiding biblical precepts and principles that inform and control the way a Christian is to be faithful in their vocation. There are! For instance, there are precepts and principles relative to leadership, stewardship, responsibility, etc which can applied from the farmer to the CEO. My point was, in my calling as a pastor—which is primarily restricted to the ministry of Word and sacrament—it’s not my calling to instruct a farmer on the particulars of being a farmer or a CEO on the particulars of being a CEO.

      That’s not meant to be dismissive of the vocations of Christians. Actually, quite the opposite! It’s a recognition that I don’t know everything. Sometimes pastors are seen as—and some make themselves—fountains of advice and life coaches. But there is a great danger to speak in an ignorant and uninformed way prescribing for Christians the dos and don’ts of their particular vocations. For instance, if that’s what my elders and me were called to, we’d need to be able to speak to the daily particulars of: physics, structural engineering, education, farming, carpentry, real estate, nursing, computer programing, speech pathology, insurance, emergency management, automotive mechanics, aerospace engineering, counseling/psychology, property management, mortuary science, the IRS, business management, state politics, personal and public accounting, plumbing, special ed, and homemaking—all of which are represented in our small congregation. Yes, there are biblical precepts and principles that apply in all of those vocational fields, but surely a pastor and elders cannot be expected to speak to the details of each? After all, Paul didn’t tell the Philippian jailer: “Hey, here’s how you need to be a jailer,” but: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

      While I took the question fairly restrictively and narrowly, your comment seems to suggest that you took it more broadly—the emphasis was not on the pastoral ministry, but generally on the church. Again, the way it was worded, I think it could go in that direction: “…how does the church…” That’s just not the angle from which I approached my answer.

      Maybe that helps to clarify and mitigate some of the “wondering” you have done since listening to the episode. We’ll likely return to this subject. Again, thanks for your comment.

      Blessings,
      Kyle

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