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24 Ways Theology Undergirds Ministry

Theology is not abstract ramblings about how many angels can balance on the head of a needle. Theology is a pastor’s greatest ally and most useful tool.

I was interviewed recently by a young seminarian, Nicholas Noyola.

As I reflect on my seminary experience (over 20 years ago), I often remark on all the things seminary DIDN’T teach me. But now, after decades of experience, I have come to realize that it’s impossible to fully equip people for everything they are going to face in ministry. There’s so much that one must learn through real-life experience.

However, I’ve also come to appreciate the solid theological foundation that seminary provided me.

While in seminary, I remember thinking, “How’s this going to help me pastor my people?”

Little did I know.

Theology influences EVERYTHING I do and every decision I make as a leader.

Here are a few of the ways theology undergirds my ministry.

  1. Theology is what you say when the godliest Christian you know isn’t healed.
  2. Theology is what you say when that Christian tells you they’re getting divorced because God wants them to be happy.
  3. Theology is what you say to that couple who’s been trying to have a baby for years.
  4. Theology is what you say when that person tells you God can’t forgive them.
  5. Theology is how you respond when that person says they’ve begged God to take away their sinful desire, but it’s still there.
  6. Theology is what compels you to forgive someone when every fiber of your being wants to hate them.
  7. Theology is what causes you to let go of all this world offers and choose to live differently.
  8. Theology is what you say to the family who’s just lost a loved one to suicide.
  9. Theology is what keeps you when your feelings fail you.
  10. Theology is how you respond when someone tells you, “love is love.”
  11. Theology is how you respond when people backstab you, malign your character, question your motives, or walk out of your life.
  12. Theology is how you process pandemics, presidents, and politics.
  13. Theology is how you respond to that comment or post.
  14. Theology is what you say to a grieving family who just lost their child.
  15. Theology is how you respond when that attender tells you church membership is unnecessary.
  16. Theology is what determines your values and sets your priorities.
  17. Theology is how you treat people of other genders, races, and views.
  18. Theology determines what friends, spouse, and career you choose.
  19. Theology is when you give grace when you’d rather give grief.
  20. Theology is when you take the high road, the narrow path, and the uphill climb.
  21. Theology is what the Bible says, not what I think or feel.
  22. Theology is what compels you to stand when the whole world is against you.
  23. Theology is what keeps you going when it seems your ministry is insignificant.
  24. Theology is how you finish the race.

What would you add?

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