Pastors Share How to Shepherd Intellectuals

By Elsie HuNovember 21st, 2016

"I'm just a preacher with a high school degree while he graduated from a prestigious university. I always feel a bit inferior when nurturing him... Sometimes I've no idea how to shepherd him..." Sister Wang, a preacher living in Beijing, tells CCD.

With the rapid social and economic development and the progress in technologies as well as the information network, people embrace a wider world and increase in knowledge. More knowledgeable and excellent intellectuals appear. In this era that requires a high demand for knowledge, how should Sister Wang share her own experience when she can't even answer the various questions raised by some intellectuals in a Bible study?

Pastor F from Henan holds that knowledge should be put aside in such a situation. "Life doesn't grow on the accumulation of knowledge." In the church, believers who have lots of knowledge and enthusiasm can't be used when their lives don't reach maturity. She says that members of her church are allowed to involve in ministries after two years' observation after receiving baptism.

She adds that well-educated catechumens can be nurtured in two aspects: 

First of all, encourage them to study the Bible and know it profoundly. Sunday service is not enough because they can't express their thoughts well and the church knows almost nothing about them. Churches will know their inner thoughts when they are involved in studies, face-to-face sermons or communication. They are also able to ask questions after studies. In this way, churches will grasp where they lack in spiritual growth.

Moreover, be tactful to help them. Never rebuke or criticize young people of high self-esteem, especially with the presence of a third person. Help them with the purpose to develop them. It's okay to teach them what they don't understand in the Bible or life. However, when it comes to personal life's problems, have private conversations based on the circumstances of each individual. Some can accept advises while some can be only reminded by euphemisms. Today people are so wise that they will realize what you mean by some hints. It's unnecessary for pastors to repeat one point.

Pastor F says that she learns a lesson from the past experience of teaching intellectuals. Be cautious and teach them step by step rather than set big goals. They are young, knowledgeable and well educated, learning new things quickly. When they understand or are interested in the Bible, they grow faster than normal people. What's more, their stay in churches is a great help to churches and attracts other young people or intellectuals.

"(Pastors) feel pressure and challenges in nurturing them," she confesses, "(Pastors) should read books, not just spiritual books, but also books in every field. Equip with knowledge. We're the workers in this age, who should move with the times. See, I'm so aged but learning to make PPT. "

Rev. Liu from Shandong states his own idea on how to shepherd believers who are better educated or in higher-status than himself. He claims that churches should not be away from the world too much but keep pace with the times. Preachers should read other books despite the Bible contains comprehensive knowledge. The Scripture says, "For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light." Choose to read good books and enrich your knowledge. 

He adds that preachers should have faith on nurturing, free from the thought that they are inferior because believers come from XX universities. As the workers of God, preachers deliver God's word. Believers with higher degrees may not understand deeper or clearer about the Bible than preachers. Regardless of educational backgrounds or statuses, seekers who just come to church should learn the Bible from scratch. Preachers should declare God's word with full confidence instead of with timidity.

Citing Romans 8:28, Rev. Liu says, "We can learn a lot from the believers when we teach them the Bible." For example, preachers who are excellent Bible teachers but with social knowledge on a very basic level are stressful when they shepherd knowledgeable people. They may want to study more when teaching others.

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