I intended by earlier post about books to be followed by one
which listed five books that every Baptist Minister should read. But I can’t decide
what should be on the list not least because no book is so important that every
minister should read it.
There is a certain baseline of knowledge that every minister
should have but beyond that we need ministers with a variety of gifts, skills
and knowledge. Ministers whose interest is in areas like the interface of
science and religion, justice in society, medical ethics and so much more;
ministers whose gifts are not primarily intellectual but practical, seeking to
serve for the kingdom of God; ministers who can be a spiritual presence in
So what sort of baseline knowledge is essential?
- A good grasp of Scripture: the story of Israel,
overview of the gospels and Paul’s missionary journeys. Understanding of the
nature of different types of text. Ability to use and understand commentaries.
- An understanding of the key Christian doctrines, the context
in which they were formed and the major controversies that have arisen.
- Overview of Church history, not just in Western
Europe but in the spread of Christianity across the globe.
- Denominational appreciation. How Baptist Churches came to
be, what makes Baptists distinct as well as those aspects which they share with
- Ministry today. Some knowledge of the key questions about
the nature of ministry: who or what is a minister?
- Mission today.
An appreciation of the landscape of society and the cultural changes that are
taking place. An ability to make connections between faith, the issues in
people’s lives and the major global challenges.