Is ministry like taking a test?

Recently, I visited my friend and colleague, Meg Hess. Her daughter, Keziah, has on the refrigerator a list of "Test Taking Tips" left over from elementary school. I love tips, and I thought these might actually apply to pastoral ministry more than you might expect.

Here they are:

Test Taking Tips

  1. Get a good night's sleep. Enough said.

  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Likewise.

  3. Read and follow directions. I remember taking a class from Bob Goeser at the Lutheran seminary in Berkeley. He said: "It's not the parts of Scripture I don't understand that are the problem. It's the parts I do, like ‘Love your neighbor.'"

  4. Your first answer is probably right. This one doesn't always apply - if your first response is anxious, it may not be right. However, if you have an instinct about someone you want to hire, especially a twinge that they might be a problem, you are probably right.

  5. Use time wisely. Enough said.

  6. Answer fully and accurately. Generally, greater openness is better than less.

  7. Stay calm and focused. Enough said.

  8. If unsure, take an educated guess. As my grandmother said, "Do your best; angels can't do better."

  9. Make sure all answers are readable. Be as clear as you can in your communication.

  10. Celebrate your effort. This one may be the most important.

What do you think? Do you have any tips to add?


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