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Why a Pastor Should Have a ‘Study,’ and Not an ‘Office’

Live into your role as theological leader of your church.

Why a Pastor Should Have a ‘Study,’ and Not an ‘Office’

Editor's Note: As part of Preaching Today's partnership with the Center for Pastor Theologians, and their upcoming conference on Nov. 2-4, we are proud to feature this article by Gerald Hiestand. Gerald is the co-founder of the Center for Pastor Theologians. This is also a great introduction to a series Preaching Today will be doing in early 2016 on the idea of the Pastor Theologian. In this article Gerald argues that what you call your office/study reflects profound differences in how you view your pastoral role. Read it and be challenged!

“Let’s meet in my study.” That’s what I tell folks when I’m arranging a meeting at church. Never, “Let’s meet in my office.” Never. By all that I hold dear, never office. A minor thing, it might seem, the moniker used to designate one’s place of work. But the distinction is important for my own self-understanding. And it’s important for the folks at my church as well. But to grasp why ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 6 comments

Rick Barnes

October 27, 2015  10:21am

I agree with the article...maybe even a little more than was intended. I certainly don't think he means that meetings and "ministry" outside the study are unnecessary, but I have heard so many, many sermons in which the speaker said absolutely wonder so many churches are seen as irrelevant and are closing their doors. Preaching takes hard work, and if the Pastor doesn't put in the time to touch the hearts of the congregation with the Word of God...which only comes from prayer and study (and I might add a giftedness to do this work), his ministry will fail.

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Rob Stroud

October 26, 2015  5:58pm

This is an important subject, and the distinction between office and study provides a vivid metaphor. I was reminded of a cartoon I saw many years ago (in a ministry oriented publication). A lady is bursting into a pastor's "study," only to find him on his knees in prayer. She says, "Oh good, you're not doing anything important..." Prayer and study are vital to a pastor's life and ministry through every season of life. Rob Stroud Chaplain, USAF (Retired)

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Gary Sinclair

October 26, 2015  3:24pm

I agree with the concept that our teaching and preaching should be rooted in scholarship, reflection and thought but find the idea of every teaching pastor having a study versus an office a bit idealistic and in some ways unnecessary. It seems to me that a pastor understanding and embracing the significance of study and time for in-depth thought will not occur simply because a pastor has the right kind of space. In many churches that kind of space would be a luxury anyway. Perhaps challenging all of us to find time with God, preparing over longer periods of time, letting our messages percolate within more throughout the day, within our experiences and as part of our home might accomplish as much as suggesting more time in the presence of Spurgeon or whoever else might be on our shelf.

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Pastor Marty

October 26, 2015  2:54pm

I think that balance is the issue. The writer seems to indicate that they are mutually exclusive. I don't see it that way at all. I think that the pastor should have both, the office and the study, as an inseparable component of their lives. Of course, Bible study (I don't really spend much time in books ABOUT the Bible as I spend IN the Bible) is the preeminent part that we have to have to be the type of pastor that our people need. We must grow so that they will grow. However, our people also don't need to have a pastor who is cloistered away like a monk away from the people. They need to know that they have access to their pastor. Perhaps it should be mentioned to the people the best time that they can contact the pastor and how. I think that people wouldn't want to disturb our study time, but there are times when they need to be able to contact us through our office times. For me, the morning is my study time and my ministry time is in the afternoon. That works out best for me.

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October 24, 2015  10:04pm

Really enjoyed the article. Well that is, when I got to "The lifeblood of the pastor." Up until that point, I was simply confused at the direction you were going. It almost felt like the beginning two sections were irrelevant though I saw how they tied in at the end. I personally think it would have read better with the sections going in the order 3, 1, 2. Nobody really wants to read some intensely meaty opening paragraphs if they aren't sure it's worth the effort or what direction it's going.

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