Friends and family, it has been too long since the last time we touched base, but there is good reason for this. The last two months have been full of Andrea and I getting acclimated with Louisville itself, Andrea meshing out what it looks like to be home all day with two wonderfully rambunctious children, and then me getting thrown into the furnace of the Pastors College. All of this, needless to say has served to show us our need to rest in all that Christ has done for us, and also the way that the body of Christ is meant to be a place in which we confess our sins and point each other over and over again back to the truths of the gospel. What I would like to do in this post is simply give some commentary as to what my days and weeks look like here at the Pastors College. But, before I do that, I have to tell you that the Pastors and the members here at this church have been an example of servants and a model to look to for future Pastoral Ministry, and servant hood. The theme that resounds over and over again is, the Gospel, the good news about all that God has done for us in Christ to rescue us from Gods wrath and redeem us through His blood, adopting us into His family and how this message informs everything we do as children of God from parenting to our vocation, all for His name sake.
A Bird’s Eye View of the Pastors College
I personally want to thank those who are committed to praying and providing financial resources enabling me to even be a part of this amazing Pastoral training. In the end this is the reason why we are here, it’s for the glory of God and the good of the people that Joshua and I will be serving in the church plant. From the very beginning of the Pastors College on August 29th, Gary Ricucci (Director of Student Care) sought to set the tone for the rest of the year. He and our Dean (Jeff Purswell) spent most of the time emphasizing the importance of our marriages and how this year we as men will be challenged to faithfully love our wives and shepherd our children in the midst of a packed academic schedule. Needless to say I was caught off guard, I was expecting to hear about all the stuff we would be learning (although this is very important) and the world class scholars we would be able to spend time with, instead our Pastors, who are over the Pastors College, turned the tables back on us and focused in on our hearts and the importance of our home life. It all makes sense, because this is one of the primary requirements for eldership, “an elder must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for Gods church”? (1 Timothy 3:1-7) I want you who read this to know that Sovereign Grace Churches and more specifically the Pastors College is dedicated in equipping Pastors for the long haul, and creating context for our wives also to grow and prepare for what the future may look like. The longer I am here and the more I am exposed to the Bible and the lives of our Pastors, the greater the conviction grows in my heart that this world needs more faithful shepherds who love their families well, disciples believers and evangelizes the lost within the local church, all being done from the proper interpretation of God’s Word.
The way the academic schedule works out is every week starting on Tuesdays we begin our study of certain biblical topics or certain methods of studying the bible, and three days a week we study Greek. So far we have covered:
- Week 1-Systematic Theology 1
- Week 2-Old Testament 1
- Week 3-Hermeneutics
- Week 4-Systematic Theology 2
- Week 5-Evangelism
- Week 6-Biblical Theology
We start the day at 9:30 and most of the day is filled with lectures until 5pm except for Fridays. We end on Fridays at 12:30 and most of the guys (including me) stay at the college and study for their exam or write their paper, so that they can spend the weekend with their families. I have been so humbled by seeing how little of the bible I know, and how often I have misquoted it, something I seek to change by being trained to faithfully handle God’s Word. One of the most exciting classes so far has been the evangelism class taught by Jim Donohue, he truly is an evangelist, not only is he an evangelist, he is an Ephesians 4:11 evangelist set apart to train and equip his local church in evangelism. We had the privilege of going to the university of Louisville and sharing the gospel with students, as Jim modeled for us what it looked like to train others in how to share their faith with courage by reminding us of how God saved us from our sins through the message of the gospel, and the implications of this is we must take the gospel to those far away from Christ. Please pray for the four men we shared with, (Derrick, Noah, Hadden, and George).
I have shared before that the Pastors College is not only an academic setting where we spend time in a classroom setting, it also is set up to create a context where in a smaller group we can experience biblical fellowship, share each other’s burdens and apply mutual care for one another as we seek to apply the gospel to all of life. Having this example will serve us well in the future Church Plant in building a community around the gospel inevitably leading us to serve our neighbors we live among. Alongside of these times in our fellowship groups, we also get to eat dinner and fellowship with our Pastors in their homes and observe their marriages. There are always opportunities for Q&A as they share their experiences and advice with us, this is such a blessing to be allowed into their lives; they are modeling for us what it means for elders to practice hospitality. Soon we will have the chance to sit in on an Elders meeting and observe the way that our Elders function with their individual gifts as they seek to shepherd this church together. It will be a beautiful thing to watch as they seek to delegate responsibilities to each other based upon their God given gifts (Ephesians 4). Sometime during the year each one of us will have a chance take a trip to another Sovereign Grace Church in order to preach on a Sunday morning, this is scary but also exciting, all of this is preparation for the future.
The Church Plant
Josh and I, with our wives, have narrowed the locations down to three areas, Charlottesville VA, Virginia Beach VA, and the coast of North Carolina. We hope to have nailed down the city within a month, Mickey Connolly one of the Pastors of CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte will be one of our instructors in a couple of weeks, he is also the regional leader over the mid-south. We hope to cover a lot of ground when he is here, as we share our heart and hear his on these certain cities. But, suffice it to say that my family and Josh’s family are being served well as our hearts are being knit together in love, and our biblical convictions are being firmed up as we prepare to serve those faithfully that our Great Shepherd sends us to.
How You Can Help
I can’t proceed without first thanking those who are praying and giving of their resources monthly and those who have given in the past, without your prayers and partnership in donating this would not be possible. Andrea and I can’t thank you too much, you know who you are. We can only hope that one day we all are able to see the fruit of a gospel centered church being planted in a city that God has led us to. And let me encourage you to remember Acts 18:9-11, Christ spoke to Paul in a dream revealing to him that Christ had many people in the city of Corinth, and for him to go and preach there. The amazing thing is, is that those people didn’t know they belonged to Christ, it took Paul going to them and preaching the gospel to them so that they would believe on the one who chose them before the world began. This is what excites me friends and family; we get to be instruments in the building of Christ body on the earth. You have been an integral part in this building. As we move into the winter months here in Louisville, our family is still in need of financial assistance in providing the necessary means of living, and for the future Church Plant. Would you please consider partnering with us in this mission? Any amount would help. You can donate one time or you can choose to partner with us monthly with any amount you decide. Please consider praying for us no doubt, but also if the Lord could be leading you to come alongside us financially as well. Andrea will have a detailed post about how her experience at home has been, and how Salem and Titus and the baby in the belly are doing!
- That marriage, family and ministry would stay in their proper priorities.
- Sickness has hit our home for over a month now, pray for faith and patience, but also healing.
- That faithfulness would be more important than grade point average.
- That Andrea’s heart and mine would make connections with what we are learning.
- That the Earl’s and Beane’s would grow in relationship and clarity about roles and responsibilities in ministry.
- That we would remember that behavior change in our children isn’t what we’re after, but heart change through the gospel.
- Time management, and stewarding Gods time that he has given us for His glory and not wasting it.