Things They Didn’t Tell You at Your Seminary Graduation

—Or some aphorisms for the brand-new pastor.

if you don’t know what you’re doing, do it neatly.

If you do know what you’re doing, try to explain it to the official board.

Scold your people and empty your pews.

Impose false guilt and increase aggression.

If you decide not to become Billy Graham or Peter Marshall, be sure to tell your wife, so she can decide not to become Ruth Graham or Catherine Marshall, if she wants to.

Let your first request at the trustees’ meeting not be for an exterminator at the manse.

When you visit in the hospital, don’t sit on the bed or discuss your operation.

Leave your German shepherd at home when you go to the Sunday school picnic.

Take your German shepherd along when you go to the first ministerium meeting.

Always remember to take the offering before the sermon.

During a discussion period, if someone asks a question and you know the answer, say, “That’s a good question.”

If someone asks a question and you don’t know the answer, say, “Opinion on that subject is divided,” or, “It would take too much time to discuss that. Next question.”

Keep an old book and a new book going all the time, but don’t read them at the same time.

Don’t be late for weddings or funerals.

Fifty-one Sundays of the year, preach so that the youngest child in your congregation can understand you. The fifty-second Sunday, preach so that the Ph.D, the Th.D, the Ed.D, and the M.D. are bewildered, awestruck, or filled with wonderment.

If a businessman phones you at 10:30 on Wednesday morning and says, “Pastor, I hope I didn’t get you out of bed,” don’t become paranoid. Just answer, “No, you didn’t. But come on over anyway after you’re dressed and my wife will fix some breakfast for you.”

For every conversation you have with another person, have one with God.

If the head deacon’s daughter wants you to perform her second marriage and tells you the ground for ending the first was adultery, remember to ask who the guilty party was.

When people comment on your sermon as they’re going out the church door, don’t take them very seriously.

Ask for a job description before you accept the call to be a D.C.E., assistant pastor, or youth pastor.

If you can’t tell a joke, don’t.

If someone says you lack experience, agree. Then say, “But time will take care of that.” It will.

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There are limits to participation in community life. You don’t need to prove yourself by taking part in the annual rodeo.

Love the teen-agers in your congregation and they’ll love you. The same is true of young adults, middle-age adults, and elderly adults.

Most old people will love you even when you goof. Maybe more then.

Don’t press for action the first time you bring a matter up at a board meeting.

Never surprise the chairman of your board.

Remember that being a pastor is a lot like being the lead dog in a team of Alaskan huskies. You’re the only one who has a view and can see the horizon. So tell them what it’s like.


Slight Support For ‘Man of the Year’

In response to your editorial “Man of the Year at Wake Forest” (April 1), I would like to submit the following observations. You stated that members of the Men’s Residence Council selected Larry Flynt to receive the “Man of the Year” award and that the council was made up largely of those living in men’s dormitories. I would like to say that the majority of Christian men on campus are a part of this group and could be mistakenly labeled as supporters of this award. I am one of these and in no way support this perversion. The recipient of the award was decided upon by a very small percentage of the dormitory students at Wake Forest.…

Your editorial pointed to the problem as owing partially to the administration’s failure to recruit a Christian student body. How can an administration recruit a student body committed to Christian ideals when they themselves are not committed to Christian ideals?… The spirit of Wake Forest is one of secular intellectualism. It fails in its opportunity to be a leader in Christian intellectualism.… I, as many other Christians, thank Christianity Today for the attention they have given this situation.


Winston Salem,

Now That I’ve Found You …

I don’t know where you’ve been all my life. I subscribe to about fifty journals, but I haven’t been getting Christianity Today until just recently. The book reviews in the current issue (April 15), not only those on sex but more particularly those on pages twelve through twenty-five, I found delightful. Also the article on Uganda and some of the book reviews in the latter part of the journal. I seem to be a subscriber now, so I’ll see if you keep up the quality of this issue, for which I commend and thank you.

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The Menninger Foundation

Topeka, Kans.

An Excerpt From Armstrong

I was dismayed upon reading the edited version of my update articles on the Worldwide Church of God (April 1 and 15 issues) to discover that an exclusive quote prepared especially for this analysis by Garner Ted Armstrong had been excised in its entirety. I had asked Mr. Armstrong if he would care to comment on the reshaping of church policies and doctrines during recent years.… Since this material was deleted, I would greatly appreciate your publication of this excerpt:

The church equates none of its recent growth and development patterns with “compromise,” but rather with a broadening and maturing of its whole approach toward the Word of God and the practical application of that Word in the nuclear/space age.

Personally, I am deeply pleased and enthusiastic over the new maturity extant in the Worldwide Church of God—as exemplified by the openness of our local churches; the cultural, charitable, humanitarian, and non-sectarian educational activities of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation; and the expansion of Ambassador College. There is an ever-increasing desire on the part of the leadership, ministry, and membership alike to go before the world with that pride which is devoid of ego, that humility which is absent of shame, and that determination which is tempered with wisdom.…


New Wilmington, Pa.

In Appreciation

I want to express my appreciation of W. Ward Gasque’s review of books on eschatology (April 15). For a quite different evaluation of The Jesus Hope by Stephen Travis, as well as an attack on InterVarsity, see J. F. Walvoord’s review of the book in the April-June, 1977, issue of Bibliotheca Sacra.


Orange, Calif.

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