We start the new week with yet another segment in our continuing series on what one can do with a history degree. Today's advice comes from Dr. Layne Lebo, the minister at the Mechanicsburg (PA) Brethren in Christ Church. (Affectionately known to Messiah College students and the larger community as "McBic."). As you will see below, Layne encourages future pastors to major in history or a related discipline rather than biblical studies or religion.
Here is Layne's wisdom on the subject:
As a 1988 Messiah College graduate with a degree in history, I've considered the question, "What can you do with a history major?," quite often.
During my freshman year at Messiah I sensed a call to pastoral ministry. I switched my major to Bible, but maintained my history major. I'm glad I did.
By studying history I became a more effective thinker, writer, and communicator. It gave me a broad perspective on life that I've found very helpful to my current vocation.
As a pastor, I find that many people crave "black and white" answers to life's difficult questions. Yet history teaches us that life is marked by mystery, and that there is a lot more ""gray" in life than "black and white."
I found that seminary did a great job of teaching me the Bible, theology, and philosophy, as well as some practical pastoral ministry skills. My undergraduate degree in history gave me a great foundation for writing, thinking, communicating (and sermon producing). In fact, in interacting with students considering seminary, I encourage them, if they plan to attend seminary, to consider taking a general degree in a discipline like history or English literature.
My history major gave me a great foundation for my work as a clergyman. It stirred in me a love for the past and a love of learning that continues to strengthen my ministry to this day.