Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Seminary, But they Should

Seminarians, take note:

1- Always make sure your fly is closed before you stand before a crowd.
2- Never leave the lapel mic on when you go to the bathroom. Never leave it on…
3- Don’t meet alone with any woman who isn’t old enough to be your grandma.
4- Don’t send pictures of yourself at the beach to the youth in your church on Facebook.
5- Never grow a beard, goatee, or especially a soul patch. They each, in ascending order, make you look more silly.
6- When you baptize people, tell them beforehand not to wear sheer white tops.
7- Never read from, or even own, a copy of ‘The Living Bible’.
8- If you’re given a Rick Warren or Joel Osteen book, be gracious, but throw it away. It’s trash.
9- Always eat anything on your plate – or be good at covering the inedibles with a paper towel.
10- Never take part in ‘blessing’ animals, cars, dogs, horses, houses, or other items or objects.
11- Pat children on the head, not on the bottom. You aren’t in the NFL and neither are they.
12- Breath mints. Never leave home without them.
13- Don’t take seriously any insult yelled at you by an Elder or Deacon.
14- Ignore everyone who says ‘I think we should have a sermon from….’
15- Never conduct a wedding for anyone you don’t see sitting in a pew regularly.
16- Never send a bill to a family for ‘services rendered’ when you pray at their family reunion.

If you remember these 16 commandments you’ll be much happier. Ignore them and you’ll quit within 2 years of beginning your ministry.


17- If you endorse a politician from the pulpit, you should resign right afterwards. Or better, right before.
18- Never use ‘sermon books’. If you can’t preach from the Bible, shut up.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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4 Responses to Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Seminary, But they Should

  1. Sorry if I overstate my welcome and post too much, but I can’t resist:
    This is how I would rephrase number 3 ( Don’t meet alone with any woman who isn’t old enough to be your grandma.)
    “Don’t be alone with any woman who is too young for medicare but not too old for man to care.”
    (I actually said that to a young minister in Maryland…)


  2. Jason says:

    The West-alogue.


  3. gracetracer says:

    Jim is right, of course. These common-sense and courtesy issues should not have to be relearned by every new pastor, especially not the hard way. (I wonder how such rules differ for females in ministry? My sister is a Congregational pastor. I should ask her.

    I have comments on only two words of the “Westalogue.”

    Number Three. This one raises some serious issues as every pastor needs to be able to minister to everyone in the congregation. If a woman has booked time with me, one-on-one, to discuss a sensitive issue, my rule has been. We meet only once, in my office in the church building, with my door open and with my admin at his/her desk just outside. If the issue requires follow-through and possibly extensive time/therapy/whatever to resolve it, I refer the woman to a competent professional directly after if not during that one meeting. This has worked out quite well.

    Number Six. In my tradition no one has ever gotten upset about a drop or two of water spilled off the infant’s head and onto the baptismal gown. Although I would do so, I have never been asked to dunk an infant. Even in that case I doubt Jim’s implied issue would arise. Different traditions; slightly different issues.


    • Jim says:

      but of course that’s not baptism. only believers can be baptized. babies, they’re just made wet. 😉


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