Before the 1950’s, the room where a preacher did his work at the church was usually called the study. At that time, many began to take the business model and call this room, the pastor’s office. This included a shift in the perception of the pastor from shepherd of the flock to corporate CEO. I feel that this is a trend that has to change! At least for me, I feel that the more appropriate term for the room I use is the pastor’s study. It is here that I do the majority of my sermon and lesson preparation. It is here that I also do the majority of my reading. It is an oasis for study, not a nerve center for church operations. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the pastor (especially in today’s society) has to do some work as the CEO—but especially for us Presbyterians, the actual CEO’s are the members of session! For example, while I may maintain the Master Calendar, it is the session that determines what groups will ultimately use the building.
Why do I write this? Because I feel that it is high time we pastors reclaimed the pastor’s study! While planning and preparation for events, Sunday School, VBS, and the like are important (and something we must do) genuine study is what I feel is what is most important for us to remain true to our call. If we fail to put the time into study, our sermons will become weak and ineffective. Our teaching will become stale. Our ministry will become stagnant. True study, of the Scriptures and of other works to aid us in our ministry is the cornerstone of effective pastoral work.
It will take time to reeducate our congregations as to the importance of study, but I believe it will be an effort well spent! Now I need to finish this post, because I need to study!