On This Journey Together

Most readers will know that I am a student at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. Several of my assignments over the next semester will involve blogposts, which I will share here. This week’s question is, “What are you expecting God to do through you and through me as we embark on this journey together?”

REASON FOR SEEKING EDUCATION

Anyone who has been at Sappony for the duration of my tenure is aware that I was far from fully qualified when called to the pastorate. At the time, I was still 18 months away from completing my bachelor’s degree. I have joked at the Associational Ministers’ conference that I am the least educated pastor in the Association. Sappony has been very supportive of my continuing education for the last six years, for which I am thankful. Working toward this degree has never really been about putting a certificate on a wall, but rather about being more fully equipped for the work that God has called me to.

BENEFITS FOR MYSELF

            It would be wrong to fail to mention that I have experienced tremendous personal growth as the result of my education. I have grown closer to Christ, which I’m told doesn’t always happen in seminary. I like to think that I have grown as a preacher and leader. I have developed new friendships with ministers around the U. S. and even in other parts of the world. I have and expect to continue benefitting from the education that I am receiving.

BENEFITS FOR THE CHURCH

            I like to think that the church continues to benefit from what I have learned so far, whether studying doctrine, church history, or even (hopefully) how to prepare and deliver better sermons. The last two years of my seminary education have been a tremendously formative time in my life, and I hope that it has reflected in my preaching and leadership of the church. I expect that my current class, “Congregational Spiritual Formation” will also benefit, not just me directly, but the congregation as well. Those who routinely listen to me preach know that I have long said that there is a lot more to the Christian life than saying a prayer and being baptized.

There is also a lot more to being a disciple than church attendance. While I have preached this a lot, I have not really been sure how to lead people to deepen their relationship with Christ. I expect that I will gain insight into helping Sappony to be a church of disciples who make disciples.

MY EXPECTATION

            I expect over the next sixteen weeks that God will work through Dr. Grimm and the texts to show me what I need to know to close the gap between knowing and doing the Word. I also expect that God will use me as a conduit of His great grace to be an encouragement to my family, friends, and the church. This is what I see happening over the next few months.