Yesterday I commented on the need of the pastor to be informed on a whole range of issues outside of their specific expertise in Biblical studies. We cannot and should not seek to become experts in every field but there are things we can do to help pastors be prepared for this aspect of ministry. Here are some of the things it is worth getting a good grounding in.
- The skill of hearing different sides of an argument and evaluating them. This is a skill that lawyers are required to develop too. They must often represent cases and engage with expert evidence that will go well beyond their knowledge in a specific field.
- Basic logical reasoning skills. At Oak Hill Theological College, Mike Ovey used to run a session called Straight and Crooked Thinking on this. It was based on a book with the same title which is worth getting hold of as it introduces you to the key logical fallacies people commit.
- Data and statistics. It has struck me during the pandemic that it would have helped communication and debate if more people involved in communication, reporting and challenging understood statistics.
- The skill of speed reading. How can we quickly absorb information.
- Linked to this is the ability to read and engage with technical papers and studies. See this guest post we included in December.
- Good observation skills. Doctors are expected to start with this, so are manufacturing managers. How do you do at looking and listening. What do you pick up, what do you miss?