My dad is one of the most educated people I know.
Sure, it took him a really long time to get his doctorate. Probably around 20 years.
But that was my fault. See, it’s really hard to write a thesis when you have a wife and a little baby to care for, and a boatload of student loans to pay off. And a job. Especially when it’s a very intense, time-consuming job like being a pastor.
But he’s an official doctor these days, and his doctorate has kind of a funny abbreviation, considering dad is a pastor: D-min. (Say it aloud.) Doctor of Ministry. It’s an applied theology degree, basically. Dad’s thesis (which I honestly haven’t ever read all the way through) is about resolving conflicts using Luther’s catechism.
Characteristically, dad didn’t stop with the education when he got his doctorate around a decade ago. He’s cool that way.
This week my dad is in Farmington finishing up a class on interim ministry. For months he’s been writing papers and turning in homework just like any other college student, even though he’s in his 50s and has a real full-time job. In fact it’s a bit more than a full-time job just now, because his church is down a pastor.
There is an interim pastor who helps out a ton, but it’s still not quite the same. Part of an interim pastor’s job is helping a congregation figure out what they should look for in its next pastor, which takes a lot of time but is absolutely necessary. And obviously, that’s time away from "normal" ministry.
My dad has learned a lot about the interim process through his classes, which I think has made him more sympathetic toward his own interim guy, who is bravely filling in the gap (probably along with others; pastors often fill in for each other during vacations, even if it’s someone not of the same denomination) while dad is out of town.
When the class is over, dad will be officially known as an "intentional interim pastor."
As opposed to possibly becoming an interim pastor completely by accident.
"I was just walking down the street, officer, and suddenly I became an interim pastor! Help! I’m having unbearable urges to help assemble a Call Committee!"