In recent years, several commentators have noted the unique challenges faced by Evangelical ministers in contemporary America as they encounter a religious culture infatuated with robust individualism, celebrity preachers, and ministry empires. Too often, these cultural forces render Christian pastors isolated and discouraged, covetous and unaccountable to others. This lecture will explore the institutions and ministry models that the reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) created in order to promote the collegiality, accountability, and spiritual vitality of the company of ministers who worked in Geneva in the sixteenth century. Though Calvin’s religious and social context was vastly different than ours, the reformer’s vision for Christian ministry provides an important corrective for many of the challenges faced by ministers today.
Scott Manetsch (PhD, University of Arizona) is Professor of Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity school, where he has served since 2000. Ordained in the Reformed Church in America, he served as an associate pastor of education and discipleship for three years. During graduate school, he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship and spent two years doing archival research on French Reformation history at the University of Geneva. Since the publication of his dissertation under the title Theodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France, 1572-1598 (Brill, 2000), Dr. Manetsch has conducted intensive research on the theology and practice of pastoral ministry in Reformation Europe. Dr. Manetsch’s most recent publication is Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609 (Oxford, 2012).