What makes a good minister? I don't know, but I have some ideas. These are not the only virtues required to be a good minister, but Im sure it counts for something.
Today I marked a trial service. On the panel was a minister with 40 odd years experience, a local preacher with over 50 years experience, a theology professor, a well recognized local preacher and me. As we gave feedback to the minister in training, our comments were shrugged off as "old-fashioned", "out of date" and "not where modern people are". And so I thought: A sign of a good minister, no, let's go further, a good human being is to adopt a teachable attitude.
I had to learn this the hard way. Coming into the ministry I wanted to change the world and wanted to get the "training" out of the way as soon as possible so that I could get on with business. Then I worked in Ventersdorp, Soweto and the streets of Johannesburg and slowly discovered that the world didn't fit into my pocket. I met Tim Attwell, who although is a library on legs, is always willing to listen and able to express appreciation for perspectives other than his own. I remember sitting next to my friend Rory Dalgliesh at the Synod which recommended us to be ordained. Rory knew my journey. I turned to him and said "I don't know if I am ready to be ordained." I'll never forget his words. He said "Wes, at the start of your journey when you wanted to save the world you weren't, but now you are".
I know I am not always teachable, and I pray that people will point out when I build my kingdom based on my own arrogance. But I felt cheated today. I might as well have stayed in bed, because this was not a learning experience for this person. It was just another hurdle on the road to ordination.
To be a good minister, one needs to be teachable. If you aren't, you can't listen. If you can't listen, you can't serve.