What’s Next For Us

I read these words over and over: “We exist to prepare vocational Christian workers and ministry leaders for local churches throughout the world.” My heart resonated with the statement, and I wanted to be involved in this cause. Today, I am excited and thankful to share that the next season of my life and ministry will be devoted to this very thing!

40 days ago I announced to my church family that God was leading me to another place of ministry. The night before my announcement, I told my wife, “I feel like I’m about to step off a cliff.” I had reached a decision that God had another assignment for me, but I did not know where. I shared my decision with our church and said, “God has something else for me to do. I do not yet know what that will be. Faith (my wife) and I are seeking the Lord’s direction and will wait on Him to lead us. It will probably involve pastoring, teaching, or some combination of both. When God is leading, we must obey. I’ve walked with God long enough to know when He is moving me in a direction, and that is what is happening now. I know you will understand that I must follow His will for my life.”

My wife and I were prepared to wait months for God to direct us to a new place of ministry. It seems that sometimes we wait on God, and other times we are almost running to keep up with Him. The past three weeks have been the latter of those two.

Three weeks ago, Jim Tillotson, President of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, called me. We met the following week, and he invited me to the campus in Ankeny, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. My wife and I traveled there last week. President Tillotson and several members of the college and seminary faculty interviewed me, and I was offered a position, which I enthusiastically accepted.

My role at Faith will be Professor of Pastoral Training. Responsibilities will include teaching Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, and other related classes, as well as overseeing the Ministry Training program. I could not be more thrilled at this opportunity.

The statement at the beginning of this article is from the school’s official documents. Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary exists to prepare vocational Christian workers and ministry leaders for local churches throughout the world. During its 95-year existence, the school has established a reputation for maintaining solid, conservative theology; cultivating warm-hearted devotion to Christ; and graduating Christian servants who are in positions of ministry all over the world. There are approximately 6000 alumni of Faith living in all 50 United States and in 35 countries. It is one of the few Bible colleges to achieve both regional and national accreditation.

President Jim Tillotson is completing his first year of leadership there. He has brought fresh vision and energy, and I am excited to be part of his team. I look forward to serving along with the many godly men and women already there equipping a new generation of Christian workers and ministry leaders. To FBBC&TS students who are reading this, I look forward to meeting you in the Fall!

God is good. He has always provided me with a place of ministry that is way beyond my hopes and expectations. I will have much to learn in making the transition from pastoring to teaching, but I am glad for the new challenge and for the opportunity to equip and encourage pastors. Please pray for us as we move, settle, and begin!

What a Discouraged Pastor Should Do (Part 4)

Here’s a final look at some of Paul’s exhortations to Timothy when he faced discouragement. You can read Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you haven’t already. These are all taken from 2 Timothy.

  1. Continue in what you have learned. (3:10-17)

The basics don’t change just because ministry is hard. Keep going back to the Word for your own personal encouragement. It is able to give you assurance and equip you to do the work of ministry.

  1. Preach the Word. (4:1-4)

This is a succinct repeat of numbers 3, 8, and 10. The emphasis Paul places on it indicates how important it is. Keep preaching the Word. Do it when you feel like it and when you don’t (v. 2b). Preach in a way that challenges people where they live (v. 2c). Keep it up.

  1. Spend time encouraging someone else who is hurting. (4:9-22)

Paul himself was going through a time of extreme hardship. He asked Timothy to “come to me quickly” (v. 9) because others had abandoned him. As Paul speaks of being left to face the Roman trial by himself (v. 16), his personal hurt is evident. “All forsook me.” He hopes Timothy will pay him a visit.

When we’re discouraged, it can help us to spend time with hurting people in order to lift their spirits. It gets our focus off ourselves. It can break the downward spiral of self-pity and despondency. I don’t know if this was part of Paul’s reason for asking Timothy to come. He may have just wanted Timothy’s company. But Paul evidently did not think that Timothy’s discouraged state of mind would keep him from being an encouragement to Paul. And maybe he thought the trip and the time with Paul would be good for Timothy. Maybe a visit to another discouraged Christian or hurting pastor will be just what you need!

  1. Know that God will never desert you. He stands with you and strengthens you so the message will go out and the people who need it will hear. (4:17)

This is Paul’s ultimate confidence for himself. He felt deserted and hurt (verses 10, 14, 16). But He knew that the Lord had not abandoned him. These are beautiful words!

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me . . .  (v. 17)

Paul took heart in the truth that His Savior was with Him when everyone else left him. I think he wanted his young friend Timothy to know that the Lord was with him during his painful season of ministry as well. These are good words for any hurting or discouraged pastor to read, cling to, and take heart.

Paul, Timothy, and any discouraged minister of God can say, The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! (v. 18)