Called To Ministry: Dr. Duane W. H. Arnold PhD

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26 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    This is really good…and the last paragraph is pure gold…

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Thank you, Michael. I wrote it with a number of our friends in mind…

  3. Michael says:

    One of my close friends in the ministry realized recently that his call wasn’t to “official” ministry but to his business vocation.

    He’s very good in ministry, but he’s great in business.

    It took some honest soul searching, but I believe he made the right call.

    Vocations are a vital part of the kingdom…

  4. Josh the Baptist says:

    This.is.great.

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    #4 Josh

    As they say in the commercial, “This one’s for you”…

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    Much needed, and appreciated.

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    #3 Michael

    Yes, God calls to many vocations, not just ordained ministry. My dearest friend, Ursula, had a superb education, was head of surgical nursing at a prestigious hospital. She felt a “call”. Being in the Episcopal Church, everyone thought she should head for ordained ministry, but she knew that was not her vocation (and she was unsure of women in ministry). Her calling was to pray. She joined an enclosed community of Anglican Benedictines. Sr. Mary Owen (her new name given at profession) prays eight hours a day for the Church and the world (including, I should say, for PP). It is her vocation, and we are enriched because she said “yes” to her call.

  8. pstrmike says:

    Great article, Dr. Duane. It brings a much-needed awareness of the reality of pastoral calling and life for most. We live in a multi-media world that is strongly swayed by bigness and the grandeur of church life. It is what attracts people in both pews and pulpits alike. I have given thought to the balance of having a large platform (either a big church or large social media audience) and remaining grounded in doing the work of pastoring people in such a way that we know their names, and they know ours.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    #8 pstrmike

    Yes, it’s not as glamorous as some people might like to think. By the way, in the US (excluding RCs) 59% of churches have 7-99 people, 35% have 100-499 people. Together these make up 94% of all American churches… Yet, we are always being told that somehow we’re supposed to model ourselves on the top 6%! It’s really crazy. I think the effort needs to be made to help the really good people that are trying to make a difference in people’s lives in the vast majority of churches. Unfortunately, the “celebrity culture” is now very much a part of the ecclesiastical world.

  10. Michael says:

    Duane @ 7,

    Tell her it’s very much appreciated…very much.

    Somehow we have to get rid of this notion that “ministry” is the arena for professional clergy only.

  11. Bob Sweat says:

    One of the best articles I have ever read on PP! Thank you Duane!

  12. Duane Arnold says:

    #11 Michael

    I will let her know in my next letter (yes, “letter”… no digital communication!). And, yes, we need more options in terms of “ministry”.

    #12 Bob
    Thank you, you’re very kind.

  13. Kevin H says:

    Wonderful article, Duane.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    Thanks, Kevin.

    You know, I wonder how many folk here have ever considered going into ordained ministry?

  15. Xenia says:

    What is the difference between an ordained minister and a professional one?

    (I understand that not all ordained men are serving in the role of minister.)

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    #16 Xenia

    I’m not sure that I get the question… ordination takes place at the behest of a church or denomination. When I used the word “professional” in the article I was simply referring to those who had undergone professional training/education – such as doctors, lawyers, clergy, teachers, etc.

    Is this what you meant?

  17. Xenia says:

    Hi Duane, my question was referencing what Michael wrote:

    “Somehow we have to get rid of this notion that “ministry” is the arena for professional clergy only”

    I think he’s talking about the ways we can all minister to others by means of vocation but I have heard (not from anyone here) that there should never be a class of people called “professional ministers.”

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    #18 Xenia

    Yes, without speaking for Michael, I think he was trying to get at the issue that many people consider “ministry” to be the preserve of ordained clergy when, in fact, we are all called to ministries of various sorts.

    And yes, there are some very small portions of the Christian world in which the idea of a set apart ordained ministry is not practiced. More and more, however, owing to lack of clergy in some denominations such as the UMC, we are seeing “lay elders” (or in the Anglican world) “lay readers” providing leadership for communities that do not have clergy owing to geographical distance or lack of finances.

  19. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t think it is Michael’s point, but there are some ordained, paid ministers who object to using the word “professional”. Seems like John Piper wrote a book about it.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    #20 Josh

    Yes, I vaguely remember the book. I think Piper was addressing “professionalism” in terms of a “managerial” approach to ministry, i.e. basically taking our lead from the business community in terms of leadership style.

    BTW, classically, “professional” was limited to clergy, physicians and lawyers, because we all had to take oaths… or “profess”…

  21. Xenia says:

    I think my old CC pastor would have objected to being labeled a professional pastor. I think he would have viewed “professional” as describing someone who just chose pastoring as a career, like being a dentist. I think he would have seen the word “professional” as being too worldly. I think he would say his pastorate was a calling from God, a tap on the shoulder by the Holy Spirit and not a career choice.

    I think my current pastor would say the same thing.

    (I think this is what they would say. I am probably putting words in their mouths.)

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    #22 Xenia

    I would agree. “Professional” now bears the connotation of “careerism” or of “business management”, whereas I (and I suspect both pastors mentioned) view it as a “calling”, as in the title of the article.

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    I looked up Piper’s book. “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals”. From the introduction it appears that he is arguing against the CEO model of pastoral leadership.

  24. Duane Arnold says:

    #23 Josh

    Yes, I found it when I got home last night. He makes a good argument for his position which, by the way, I agree with. The business managerial model does not transfer well. It may prove to be the undoing of many mega-churches as time goes along as many use precisely that paradigm.

  25. Josh the Baptist says:

    I agree.

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