As I looked around the room at my students ages 30-60, the first thought that crossed my mind was “I’m probably the youngest person in the room…and I’m the professor.”
This fall I had the chance to teach Ministerial Ethics at SETECA. It was an awesome experience. I taught in the high school diploma program. Many pastors and leaders in Guatemala do not have high school degrees, so SETECA designed this program to better serve the needs of Guatemala. This doesn’t mean that all of the students don’t have degrees. Some of them are quite educated in other fields, but have chosen to enroll in this program out of personal preference.
The classes are open enrollment, so my class was full of leaders from all walks of life. Some of them were hoping to some day serve in ministry, and others were in the midst of the embattled hardships of ministry.
The class focused in on the ethical choices that ministers have to make, and what it means to make decisions ethically. Some of the topics that we dealt with were financial transparency, the use of technology, leadership structure and decisions, personal life choices, and what “professional” ministry looks like.
Guatemala is a country that is plagued with pastors serving unethically. Many of these pastors aren’t even aware that what they are doing is unethical. Some pastors are asking for tithe checks in their name, other pastors use their power to get foot massages from ladies in the church, even others lock the doors and ask every single person how much they make and if they gave 10% of that. Truly, the Guatemalan church is dealing with a lot of corruption in their leadership. Yet, much of it remains hidden because leaders have functioned like this for generations. This class gave me a very small opportunity to address some of these issues head on.
Now it is time to start gearing up for my classes in 2015 – “Postmodernism” and “Foundations of Church Growth.” It is a blast to be able to teach on the side of what God has called us to do in church-planting. To truly see reform in the Guatemalan church, both are essential. We need more well-trained leaders leading good churches.