Why Apologetics is Essential to Being a Pastor

By Stephen Bedard

I sometimes encounter resistance by pastors about the value of apologetics. I have also heard from laypeople who have had negative experiences talking to their pastors about apologetics.

I would like to argue that not only is apologetics compatible with pastoral ministry, it is essential to pastoral ministry.

That may sound like a bold statement but stick with me. The most common title for clergy is that of pastor (at least within protestant traditions). What is a pastor? The basic meaning of a pastor is not one who performs religious services but that of a shepherd. As a profession, ministers have adopted the shepherd as the primary image for what we do.

What does a shepherd do? I would think that a large portion of a shepherd’s work is taking care of the sheep’s needs. The shepherd needs to make sure that there is enough food and water for the sheep to not just survive but to thrive.

In pastoral ministry, that would equate to the roles of Bible teaching, worship leading, prayer, visitation and so on. We can see how the shepherd/pastor is a good image for the work of a church minister.

But what else does a shepherd do? Just as important as taking care of the sheep’s needs is protection from predators. I had a sheep farmer in my previous church. He told me that he often found himself in the barn with a rifle protecting the sheep from coyotes. David, before going against Goliath, presented this experience to King Saul…

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Why Apologetics is Essential to Being a Pastor