My wife was a great student through high school and beyond. She received scholarships and went to the University of Kansas for a few years before we got married. I, on the other hand, barely passed high school. I took a semester of drawing in a community college because it was about the only area where I had some skill and what others called a "natural ability," so I hoped for a future in illustrating or something to that effect.
Around this time I felt a call on my life to preach and I went off to Bible college. Twelve years later (in Bible college, out of Bible college...), barely passing each class, I still hadn't graduated. However, I was heavily involved in the churches I had been a part of, and there I had gained a wealth of knowledge. Six years later my education level and skills have only multiplied as I've been fulltime in the ministry of the local church where I am presently.
So you can see why I was bothered when an older lady approached me last night at church with an advertisement for some sort of trade school program available in our area. She said something like "the only way these kids are going to amount to anything if they don't go to school (a particular reference to homeschooling was made...don't get me started...) is to attend something like this trade school program.
I love this lady in the Lord, and I respect her like a grandmother. I truly am thankful for her service and her faithfulness over the years, but she is dead wrong on this. However well-meaning her intentions were, she was missing something. I couldn't pinpoint it at the moment, but the rest of the night my mind was flooded with thoughts about what she had said. Should I encourage young people to be less involved in our church (it's not like we have a bunch of kids hanging around the church all the time, I can tell you that!) and to concern themselves with getting more of an education in the world so they can do more work in the world and make more money in the world?
Most of the things I have learned in my life that are worth anything were learned in the church, and I'm not talking about spiritual things (although I would strongly contend that spiritual things are of much more value as they are eternal). Actually, I'm talking about practical skills that would enable me to get a job or start my own business in many number of fields in the secular world. If you doubt that, here is a list of skills I have gained through the ministry of the local church:
-Painting and minor maintenance
-Minor electrical work
-Framing and minor carpentry
-Lawn care (mowing, edging, fertilizing, mulching, plant and tree care)
-Small engine maintenance and repair
-Ceramic tile flooring/minor masonry work
-Secretarial (Just tested at over 60 words per minute with no mistakes)
-Basic audio/visual technical skills
-Art (illustrations, props, costume design and more)
-Organization and planning skills
-Basic accounting for business
-Commercial Drivers License with passenger endorsement
-Learned to "dress for success" (suit, tie, polished shoes...)
-Music (theory, performance, conducting, songleading)
-History, Science, English, Foreign language and Linguistics (In preparation for sermons, Sunday School lessons, etc)
-Child development and psychology
-Food service and catering
-and many more that I can't think of at the moment.
Of course, I wouldn't consider myself an expert in any of these areas...but that is because these are all secondary to what my actual job is which is teaching people the Bible. That being said, if needed, I have no doubt that I could learn rather quickly any of the above trades, in order to make a living, in a fairly short amount of time. Not one of them was learned at a university, community college, or trade school. They were learned the way anything is learned. You can learn anything if you have a reason to learn, and the willingness to work hard at learning.
Lord bless you, and may your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it. 1 Corinthians 16:15
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