I just finished attending The Gospel Coalition conference and have been more convinced than ever that church-based training for future elders MUST take place in the local church. Too long have we leaned on or altogether abdicated the responsibility of raising up men to lead the Church, from within the context of the church. With the desire to have men rightly trained (and rightly so), the Church has minimized the importance of the facility and gifts the Church has for the aspiring pastor.
The conference was beautifully linked by having the text of 2Timothy exposited. This is the premier text (alongside 1Timothy) to go to in order to understand Paul’s vision of raising up men. I would argue that (even the men we look up to in evangelicalism) have depended on structures for their discipleship than the raw, earthiness of life on life mentoring. The apprenticeship model too often is equated with the classroom rather than the tool shed. Ministry becomes theoretical, arbitrary, and esoteric rather than shepherding the people of God.
I have re-committed myself to think through curriculum that would be transferrable to any church. It would not have to have Hebrew and Greek scholars. Rather, I am working on a church-based education model that would allow men of varied giftings to impart those gifts to younger men.
With that said, I would like to petition your suggestions for what would be essential characteristics for a pastor in our day and age (and yes, I am aware of Paul’s list of qualifications). What would be some practical characteristics for a pastor of any culture?