Fulfilling a New Life Mission

Just over two years ago I adopted a new mission in life. Having a sense of mission has always helped me focus my energy and plan my time. While pastoring, my mission was to “shepherd the flock God has entrusted to my care.” When I moved into my new role as a professor of pastoral training, my mission changed.

Simply stated, it is: Equip men for ministry, encourage pastors, and strengthen churches.

My primary responsibility is to equip a new generation of pastors. This is what I do in the college setting. Additionally, I have a heart to encourage pastors through personal conversations as well as speaking opportunities. And I desire to point church leaders and members to Scriptural principles that build them up as a body.

I am currently enjoying several opportunities to fulfill the third part of this mission – strengthening churches. Some of these opportunities involve preaching in a church that is without a pastor – “pulpit supply” as it is sometimes called. One opportunity is a weekend Bible conference focused on a passage of Scripture related to unity in the church. Another is a weekend of ministry in which my wife Faith will speak to a ladies gathering and I will preach in the church on Sunday.

For any who may be interested, and for those who pray for us, here is our upcoming itinerary. There are others in 2019 which I’ll share later.

Sunday Oct 21 Calvary Baptist, Mt. Pleasant IA Morning Services
Saturday & Sunday              Nov 3-4 Calvary Baptist, Chatfield MN Bible Conference
Sunday Nov 11 Calvary Baptist, Mt. Pleasant IA Morning Services
Sunday Nov 18 Calvary Baptist, Mt. Pleasant IA Morning Services
Saturday & Sunday                Dec 1-2 Sunrise Bible Church, North Branch MN Ladies Christmas Tea (Faith)

Morning Service

 

I clicked SEND!

This is an announcement. And it is one excuse I have for not writing blog posts for the past year or so.

Tuesday evening I wrote an email, attached several documents, and clicked SEND. That email represents a big milestone in my life. Here’s why.

Old Typewriter

Several years ago while I was pastoring, a church member encouraged me to develop one of my sermon series into a book. The idea was very appealing. My administrative assistant transcribed the audio of some of the sermons so I could edit them for publication. I heard that’s how John MacArthur did it, so surely it couldn’t be too hard.

That process didn’t work for me. When I read over my sermons, I realized the way I speak would not read well in a book. I marked up pages and pages of text, drawing circles and arrows and rewording sentences. I finally decided the best way for me to turn sermons into books was to use the research and ideas, but start from scratch and word it for reading rather than listening. And of course that takes a lot of time and effort. I started and stopped a few times, then finally gave up trying.

Since then, I have turned some sermons into articles that have been published here and elsewhere. But the idea of a book has stayed on my mind. I just didn’t have the motivation or blocks of time to make it happen.

A little over two years ago as I considered what was next for me after pastoring, I wished and prayed for a role that would allow me time for writing. God in His wisdom and goodness placed me in a teaching job. And teachers get summers off.

During the summer of 2017 I started writing the manuscript for a book. Preaching trips, vacation, and home projects filled those summer months as well, so I couldn’t devote the whole time to writing, but I got off to a good start. I worked on it here and there through the next school year. Then last summer I devoted significant time to pushing it toward completion.

Writing does not flow easily for me. There are occasions when my fingers can hardly keep up with my thoughts. But most of the time it is laborious and I agonize over each sentence. I’m a plodder by nature, so I just keep at it.

A week ago, I texted my wife, “I’m about to jump out of my chair!” I could physically feel the excitement as completion was in sight. Reading over the manuscript later, I realized I had left out an important section. So I had to go back and fill that in.

Tuesday night I completed and collected all the necessary elements:

Cover letter: Check!

Manuscript overview: Check!

Table of contents: Check!

Biographical information: Check!

Manuscript: CHECK!

Earlier in the process, I had sent a proposal to a publisher and was invited to submit the entire manuscript when complete. I entered my contact’s email address, wrote a note, attached the documents, and clicked SEND!

Now a new process begins – waiting while the publisher evaluates the manuscript and, if approved, going through the steps of preparing it for publication. It’s a new adventure and I’m loving it. And I will be thrilled if the fruit of my labor helps others.

One of these days I’ll tell you what I wrote about :).

 

 

Start ‘er Up!

This blog has been sitting idle for over a year. Writing a post feels like trying to start a car that hasn’t been driven for a while. I’m going to crank it and see if it still runs.

I have not been idle in brain or life. In my first year of teaching (2016-17) at Faith Baptist Bible College, I was in survival mode as I developed class content, learned how to function in the academic milieu, and met students and colleagues. On summer break, in addition to completing two major home projects, I preached almost weekly in our church before we called a new pastor and preached two weeks at family camps in Iowa and Nebraska. In between these responsibilities, I also started a major undertaking which I’m hoping to bring to completion soon. It involved a lot of writing, and that’s all I’ll say for now :). Teaching went much more smoothly from my perspective first semester of the 2017-18 school year. I love what I do – preparing men for pastoral ministry.

Looking ahead, I am very excited for opportunities to encourage pastors. These include a workshop at Faith’s Refresh Conference in Februarytwo workshops for the pastors’ track at the MAACS Educators Conference also in February; the Timothy Retreat at Iowa Regular Baptist Camp for young men considering ministry; speaking at the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches Annual Conference in March; and speaking at a pastors’ conference in June. What a privilege it is to connect with the men in these settings.

My mission in this stage of life is to equip men for ministry, encourage pastors, and strengthen churches. God continues to give opportunities to do these things, and I am grateful.

Hey, it runs! I might take it for a spin.