God leads you to the field, and you're pastoring a church and instead of discussing soteriology, you're talking about fixing the sound equipment in the sanctuary. Conversations shift from John Calvin to Papa John's Pizza.
How can a pastor stay "in touch" with the academic community while pastoring a church?
Professional Societies allow the pastor's office to connect with the school's department chair. Evangelical societies require members to sign a statement of faith in the inerrancy of Scripture.
Here are four societies I'm a member of and enjoy reading their journals.
Evangelical Theological Society (largest evangelical society). Membership is $30 and you must have a Th.M. or Ph.D. to join. Membership includes a quarterly journey along with regional and national meetings. If you're to join one society, you should begin with ETS.
Evangelical Homiletics Society (a society for preaching). Membership is $50 and is open to anyone to join. Membership includes a bi-annual journal and multiple national meetings. Pastors should consider joining EHS - they promote biblical preaching.
Evangelical Missiological Society (a society to advance the Great Commission). Membership is $30 and is open to anyone. Membership includes an annual book, a bulletin published three times a year along with regional meetings and an annual conference. EMS promotes strategic thinking in missions, in which churches and pastors are included in the conversation.
Evangelical Philosophical Society (promotes evangelical philosophy in churches and academies). Membership is $37 and you must have at least a M.A. in philosophy or theology - a M.Div. does not qualify. Membership includes their renown bi-annual journal, Philosophia Christi along with regional and annual meetings. EPS helps answer some of our culture's major questions from an evangelical viewpoint. Questions such as, "Does God Exist?"