That’s right, I am now on part 2 although I already wrote part 3. Why? I forgot that I had not written part 2 yet and had went right on with 3. When counting, it is always important to remember to follow 1 with 2 and that going from 1 to 3 is right out. This rule is especially true when using holy hand grenades.

In any case, this shalt be the second installment of “Why I Love My Church…“

On Wednesday, July 5th I was invited by the elders at my church to their meeting. While I am the Deacon of the Website for the church, they wanted to get an update on my progress and plans for the website. But this is not why I love my church (though I could make it one if I need another one).

The reason I love my church is because after spending an hour with me getting an ear full of ideas and plans for the website, they proceeded to spend another hour asking about my life and desire to minister. If the Lord wills, I will graduate in May of next year with a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary. The elders are meeting with each person who is in their final year of their degree. They want to find out: how you came to know Jesus, how you came to desire to be an elder, and what your future plans are.

Not only did they want to know about me, but they want to know how they could help me in this final year to prepare for ministry. So many churches send their aspiring elders off to seminary to get trained for the ministry. While the seminary has a key role in the theological training of future pastors, it cannot (and should not) be the only voice speaking into the future minister’s life. Rather, Paul told Timothy to watch his life and doctrine. Doctrine is something that is easily measurable with an essay or multiple-choice exam. Life, however, requires a little more energy and vulnerability that not many churches are willing to exert…nor future pastors.

This is meeting with aspiring elders is something new at 3ABC, but it is a start. I was so encouraged by our meeting. There was nothing formal about it. Indeed, it was just talking and bouncing questions off each other and clarifying my call and ways that I would like them to speak truth in my life. The beauty of this is that there must be a balance between formal and informal interaction.

Oh that more churches would take the call to rebuke, encourage, and help the aspiring elders in their church! May the Church be strengthened by intentional elders who lead and pry into the lives of men who can fake spirituality on the academic level, but can fool no one who knows them.