So let me tell you of a little journey, my journey in ministry.
A long time ago in a land no far away 🙂 – I was on staff with Youth For Christ (awesome ministry BTW). I was gifted a book called “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.” This book had a profound effect in my life and heart and would give a trajectory to my life that I would never had expected. I was so eager to tell my supervisor at YFC. I told him that this is the type of ministry God is calling my into. He was very straight forward with me regarding this by telling me that this philosophy of ministry is best suited for the local church and not a para-church ministry like YFC. So, I entered into local church ministry. I served at various churches applying the Purpose Driven principles and there was much fruit. I will go so far to say very long-lasting fruit to this day because I lot of the students that were in those ministries are still engaged in the local church.
Along the way, God placed in my path an opportunity to pursue further education beyond an undergraduate degree. I enrolled at Rockbridge Seminary, a new paradigm Purpose Driven Seminary. Even though they did not offer a Master of Divinity I started with faith that this further education would lead to that somehow, someway. About a year into my 2 year program, Rockbridge started to offer the Master of Divinity that I have been praying for. So I transferred into that program. My time at Rockbridge, I learn the application to theology and not just head knowledge of theology (like most seminaries teach). In 2011, I earned my Master of Divinity without going into debt $1 for this education.
in 2009, God opened the door for me to become the pastor of Grace Church. A church that is in a community that my wife and were praying about all the way back in 2002. Grace was introduced to the PDC by a previous pastor so it was a good for the both of us.
Grace is also a part of a denomination. A lot of people are anti-denomination and flock to non-denomination. But the Reformed Church in America, gave awesome friendship, fellowship, ministry mentoring, coaching, and accountability. This denomination is doing ministry right in support of their churches. I quickly found out that there was somewhat of a disconnect between the church ministry part of the denomination and the educational side. Where I found encouragement, mentoring, and fellowship on the ministry side as Grace was striving to revitalize. I found just as much discouragement, distance, even disdain because of me education and even who I was (yes I took this very personally). At times I was told that my Master of Divinity was not a real degree, that I was being “weeded” out of the RCA, and flat out that I was not good enough. Now, I have come to realize that these people love Jesus and are just trying to serve Jesus the best way they can, the same as me. Maybe they just didn’t know how to relate to someone like me, I dunno.
Because this was happening, I started to listen to them. I started to believe that my education and me personally was not good enough for the RCA. So I abandoned the PDC principles that Christ called me into so long ago, and pursued other philosophies. As a result, I feel that I have been floundering and unfocused in my leadership. Grace Church started to plateau and we were not reaching newer people on a regular basis.
Last week God really gripped my heart. I came to the realization that I cannot pastor Grace Church. I came to the end of myself. I have listened to the voices that really are not supportive of the ministry God has called me into and the ministry of Grace Church long enough! So I made a commitment to re-engage in the philosophy that Christ placed in my life. I had to come to the point that I was more concerned about what Christ thinks of me more than man. Now there is good that came out of the educational aspect of my journey. I see what others (even thought I feel they didn’t treat me with much Christ-like respect), are striving after. God has given me tremendous peace and opened doors for further education that I am very grateful for. I am excited about this journey to become Purpose Driven, again…