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Showing posts with the label New Pastors

Preparing for Ministry - College vs. Seminary

I felt a call to ministry when I was in junior high. There were a few weeks where I contemplated other vocations, but this call was unshakable for me. I knew I wanted to be in ministry, and I picked a school accordingly. In my non-denominational tradition a bachelor’s degree in ministry or Biblical literature is sufficient for ordination. This is NOT the case in most denominations. I did continue my education at Fuller Theological Seminary and regretted having a bachelor’s degree in the same field. I would have received a more well rounded education if my undergraduate degree had been in something else like communication, English, history, or political science. This is one thing I would do if I had it to do all over again. If you’re in high school and want to enter ministry  seriously consider what your educational goals are. Do you plan on attending seminary? (If you’re in most denominations you’ll have to attend seminary to be ordained.) If so, don’t rack up student loan debt by atte

Three Books For New & Aspiring Pastors

When someone is considering stepping up into spiritual leadership at our church we have them read three books. These books are required for interns considering ministry or ordination and for those becoming elders. If you're thinking about ministry as a vocation then I would strongly encourage you to read each one. Ideally read them with someone in ministry to hone your sense of call and your understanding of the vocation of ministry. Under the Unpredictable Plant  by Eugene Peterson is what you need to know about the leader's soul! Peterson uses the prophet Jonah as a model of ministry: flawed and used by God. He highlights the importance of God's word and prayer. Peterson lays out the importance of obedience to God in all things. Finally, he reminds us that ministry is geographical who and where we serve matters because people matter to God! Blue Parakeet  by Scot McKnight is a great survey on how to understand and apply scripture - the church  leader’s primary tool!  McKn

Begin As You Mean To Go On

Long-term ministries have great potential for churches and pastors. I'm passionate about them and want to help pastors stay in it to win it, but every long-term ministry starts as a short-term ministry. The old guy was once the new guy! Charles Spurgeon said, "Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you." I think this is good advice!  My original plan for BGCC was 5 years and now I’m getting ready to celebrate 17! I used to ask others about where things were at the church, now everyone asks me. I used to collect stories about the history of the church, now I'm the one who shares them. One of my favorite roles at church is coaching young potential pastors. I love welcoming interns to our staff so they can check out ministry and decide if it’s for them. I love helping them discern their strengths and areas for growth as a pastor.  They often want to know what do I love about my job? They want to know if the things I do appe

God's Call - My Salvation

 “Why did God call you into ministry?” He asked me, looking for the right answer, not a story. I had previously thought this question was easy, but now my answers seemed inadequate.  “God called me into ministry.” I started hesitantly, “Because he wanted me to serve and lead his people. He equipped me to bless his church.” That sounded right, it’s what I had thought.  My friend had different ideas. He reminded me, “God calls us to himself. His first call to everyone is to salvation.” He continued, “Every other call in our lives is in service to this call. God called you into ministry for your own salvation.” He's right. It’s a bit humbling to think you’re God’s gift to the church, only to find out that God’s church is a gift to you. This paradigm shift changed everything - changes everything. It changed the way I view interruptions. Instead of thinking, “I have important business to bless the church. How dare you interrupt!” I realize (on my good days) that this interruption is her

It Starts with God's Call

Andy Stanley wrote that he never experienced a sense of call. I’m sure he’s not alone, but I’ve yet to meet another minister who didn’t have a sense of call. It's a sense of call the keeps me in the game. It’s what my wife and I go back to when things get tough. You can always find another job, but another call? A sense of call isn’t necessarily unique to ministry, in that I think God calls all of us to some vocation or another. As my children grow I see their passion for particular fields of academics converge with their giftedness. They work hard on what they care about and are starting to narrow down the field of possible occupations they might enjoy. We pray for them and talk things over with them. In all of this we are ultimately seeking God’s call for their life. The Quakers have a much more structured approach to this in their Faithfulness Groups. People come before this prayerful group of leaders who ask them questions to help discern their gifts, experiences, and passions.