Calvin Miller is a best-selling author with nearly four million books in print. He is one of the most poetic and gifted writers in the evangelical world. He is also a long-time pastor. Miller speaks all over the world and is professor of preaching and pastoral ministry at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. His latest books include Letters to a Young Pastor and Letters to Heaven.
He was kind enough to answer questions for today’s Friday Five:
In your recent book, Letters to a Young Pastor you wrote a series of candid letters to young pastors. You really attacked the cult of celebrity that you feel pervades the
evangelical movement. Why do you feel this is such a big issue?
I hope I didn’t come across as “really attacking” anyone. But as a teacher of young ministers for more than twenty years now, I just donʼt feel the sensitivity in many successful, “large church” Pastors that I want to feel. It is terrifying for many young ministers to try and find a place to begin their ministry and the large church staffs are so busy and self concerned with their “own programs they often let the young pastors die unemployed without feeling the burden to help them find a place to begin “serving.
You really advocate pastors concern themselves more with the trench work of local pastoring. Is this harder to do today?
I think it has gotten increasingly harder in the last two to three decades. Statistics (on those who are going into the ministry) now reflect that. only about 20% of seminary students feel that pastoral ministry is their calling. This is sad indeed. And, as I say in the book, those who do feel called into the ministry, only about 20% remain in the ministry after graduation. This is terrible and I pray daily that churches will mend their ways on how they treat their young pastors, because pastoral abuse is the number one reason young pastors drop out of the ministry.
Your latest book is Letters to Heaven. It’s a unique look at some of the influences who have shaped your life who have passed on to Heaven. Who had the most significant impact on your life? “
Chapter one is about “Mamaʼs God!” in this chapter I credit Jesus and Mama as both being of vast importance in my call. Of course, Mama would say that Jesus was most important in my call and preparation. On the other hand, I think Jesus might say,
“Calvin, my son, Donʼt sell your Mama short. She mattered a great deal!”
You’re influences are diverse, from Johnny Cash to Todd Beamer to personal friends who are known only to you. We really are a product of the people who have shaped us, aren’t we?
We are indeed. Iʼve always believed in the old adage, “I takes a village to raise a child!” There are many in my village. All of them were important. You’ve been a writer and a preacher for several decades now. What would you attribute to your longevity? Well without sounding to Bob Schullerish, I have always believed that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And if that too “Bumper-Stickerish” I also believe, that the task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.