Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


This is true in lots of areas in life.

  • Physically, a muscle you stop using with atrophy away. Stop playing a particular sport and your edge will be gone in no time.
  • Relationally, a friendship you stop attending to will slowly diminish.
  • Practically, almost any skill set you stop using will become a thing you’ll describe using the phrase “when I was _______ I used to be able to do ____________. Those were the days.”
  • Spiritually, stop practicing a discipline and the original growth you were experiencing in your soul will no longer be there. Perhaps it will hang around for a little while, but eventually other influences will win the day and your spiritual life will reflect the back seat it’s been given.
  • etc…
It is definitely true of me Academically.
For me, one of my primary frustrations with my pursuit of a masters degree (and even my reflection back on the last 30+ years of academic education) has been that there is a clear chasm between information given and information that informs and changes the way I live day-to-day. All over the place there is information tossed at me that has no real implication for me.
When I started at UC. Davis, I was a civil engineering major. This meant that I took the highest level of calculus the university offered my freshmen year. 3 quarters (an entire school year) was consumed by my brain overload on math. It’s been 15 years since I’ve touch any of it. And it’s gone. All of it. Gone. I can’t tell you squat about calculus, cuz I’ve NEVER needed or used it as a pastor.
I loved going to seminary in Seattle for the time I did because it was all about the bottom line and populated with people in full-time ministry taking the classes. I took like 8 classes before the seminary merged with another seminary for financial reasons and then changed their theology and methodology, causing me to have to go searching for another seminary. But, before things got wacky though, here’s how it worked:
  • I had to read 8 or so assigned books. Write a 2 page report on each book outlining it’s basic content, what I agreed and disagreed with, and then the practical implication of this book on my ministry context.
  • 40 hours of class in a one week intensive where I listened to professor/practitioners share about what they knew and had learned.
  • A project that was directly applicable to my ministry context: Preaching class: write 4 messages for my student audience. Romans: outline the book in a teaching format for my ministry. Leadership: rewrite the entire student leadership structure of my ministry based on my learnings. Etc. Every class had a project that was customized to a ministry setting.
But those days are pretty far behind me. If I want to make my current classes practical, much of the time I have to do that on my own, cuz it’s not required in the academic requirements portion.
So, in the next 30 days of “no greek” before my second class starts, I have to do greek. Because if I don’t, it’ll be all gone. And I absolutely hate $1200 hoops, which is essentially what every seminary class I take is if it doesn’t flush out into practical implications. I really need these language studies to have daily implications for me. I have sacrificed too much for them not to. So far though, most of what I know is floating around in my head, rapidly heading for the drain if I don’t figure out a way to clog it up and use it regularly.

Leave a Reply