I am currently taking a group of guys at Cross Point through a spiritual leadership mentoring process. For 8 months, we will be studying a variety of church leadership books, Bible study methods and theology. It’s kind of like turbo seminary.
In our group meeting this week, we had a lively discussion around a theology topic that not all of us agreed on. After several minutes of debate, the question came up of – why should we care? Is it important for a pastor to study theology, or should we just focus on leading people to Christ?
Yes and yes.
A pastor’s first priority should always be leading people to knowledge of the saving love and grace of Jesus Christ, and the only way that we can fully understand His love is by studying who He is. Matthew 22:37-28 says,
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
Jesus commands us to love the Lord with everything that we have. We cannot fully know who God is unless we pursue Him fully with our minds.
When I first started dating my wife, I tried to find out everything that she likes. I took mental notes of what she listened to on the radio, what kind of books she read, her favorite movies, her favorite color, types of food – everything! I was pursuing her with everything I had by learning everything about her. I love how Bill Murray demonstrates this in the movie Groundhog Day by figuring out that the only way he could win the girl was by using each repeated day learning something she likes. Lucky for us, God left us all of His “likes” in the Bible. That would have been extremely helpful for me with my girlfriend/wife!
Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15,
Study to show yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
God has left us His word and it’s up to us to know how to use it correctly. It may be time to dust off that Systematic Theology book. 🙂