Question: What does it take for a pastor to be intellectually vibrant and well-read in the pastorate?
I believe nothing is more valuable in achieving this goal than that one would commit himself to be an expository preacher. That approach to preaching will keep one in the word week by week. I have found it to be a wonderful way to nourish my own soul as I allow God to teach me from his Word in preparation for me teaching others. In addition, I would encourage a wide program of reading in a variety of areas. On an annual basis I would try to read something in the areas of New Testament, Old Testament, Church History, Apologetics, Ethics, Theology and Missions. I have particularly been blessed and strengthened by biographies of great Christians, especially those who have served our Lord on the mission field.
I would also add that nothing is more valuable in this context than having a band of brothers who can both encourage us and hold us accountable as we seek to walk faithfully with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am also a big fan of listening to good Christian music. In that context, I am not talking about styles. Each of us has our own particular taste in terms of music. I am talking more in terms of good solid content that helps nourish my soul spiritually and theologically.
I believe that God calls us to be life long learners. Seminary can only acquaint you with the playing field and the necessary tools. If one stagnates after leaving Seminary, then they will dry up in the ministry. Hopefully, seminary pushes you in the right direction, and you keep running that race keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus until you cross the finish line (Heb.12:1-2).