These questions were asked at Duke University and responded to by Ed Stetzer on the LifeWay Research blog. Enjoy!
II. Ministry (Clergy)
1. What role do clergy/ministerial leadership contribute to either the health or sickness of the church?
It depends on the pastor, I would think.
Most pastors tend to see their role as that of a caretaker. Most people want to be cared for. Thus, the church continues as a dispenser of religious goods and services with the clergy acting as spiritual shopkeeper--caring for needs while distributing religious services.
The end result is a disempowered laity and a co-dependent pastor.
But, there are also many bright spots where pastors have empowered, trained, and sent out men and women into mission and ministry.
2. How do seminaries form clergy/ministers to be effective and faithful church leaders?
Again, it depends on the school, I would think.
Most seminaries don't do what most incoming church-bound seminarians think they are going to do--prepare them to be pastors. Seminaries tend not to be particularly good at making leaders who lead churches.
Since seminaries tend to be staffed by scholars, who are generally not strong congregational leaders, they provide scholarship and not leadership. This is fine--but not what most church-bound leaders are expecting.
However, I am not one who thinks that graduate education should be a checklist of ministerial functions wrapped up in course numbers: "How to Preach" 2432, "How to Lead" 8544, etc.
I think that effective seminaries will partner with churches that provide hands-on modeling and mentoring to form church leaders, while the classroom is helping to foster and biblically-shaped and theologically-driven ministry outlook. However, in my own teaching experience, I have seen few that actually do this.
Tomorrow we will look at some great church planting books.