In hind sight, this should have been included in my first post, but such is life. I am new to the blogosphere and have a huge learning curve ahead of me. I appreciate your grace.
My name is Ben and I am the 25 year old senior pastor of Vineyard Community Church in Waverly, IA. Wait a second… the 25 year old senior pastor? No, it is not a joke though it may be an oxymoron, it is simply my life – strange and seemingly upside down. I am sure we will cover my story more in depth as we go on, but for now I would like to answer a few questions even the most gracious of you are asking.
Q: You are 25, what on earth do you know about ministry?
A: I think the question you mean to ask is, ‘What makes you think you are qualified to pastor people twice your age?’ My answer to that is very simple – I’m not. But nowhere in scripture do I ever find God calling people who are equipped and qualified, I only find Him calling those who are willing and obedient. Moses wasn’t qualified to lead the people of Israel when he met God in the desert, but he was (reluctantly) willing to follow God’s call and was equipped as a leader in the process. The vast majority of Jesus’ disciples were uneducated fishermen, yet they were the most dynamic leaders the Church has ever seen. God equips the called, rarely does he call the equipped.
Q: But still, what do you know about the Bible? Why should I believe what you say?
A: Before I answer that question, I want to address the underlying assumption – namely that knowledge is the sole qualification for pastoral leadership. In the Western world, we operate from a medieval mindset, not a biblical one. Especially in America we uphold knowledge (facts and intellect) as supreme, not experience and character. But the truth of the matter is that spiritual maturity has more to do with obedience to Christ and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit and less to do with being able to parse the pluperfect tense of koine greek.
Still, I am ministering to people of Western culture, so I do need some sort of “credibility.” I spent 4 years in undergrad as a pre-seminary major. During this time I studied Hebrew (4 years), Greek (3 years), church history, world religion, Old Testament Studies, New Testament Studies, etc. Following my undergrad I spent 2 years in intensive self-study and one year in internship with the church I now pastor. My overseers deemed me competent enough in church doctrine and study to assume this post without having to seek further certification or credentials. I am a licensed and ordained minister in the Vineyard church.
Q: What allows you to speak with any authority into the lives of other pastors?
A: The majority of the posts on this blog will be my reflections upon the writing of Scripture or leaders in the Church. As a student of Church history, I have learned to draw heavily upon those who have gone before me, men and women much wiser and braver than I who have had terrific victories and equally terrific failings. I don’t believe that I need to make those same mistakes to learn from them and I don’t believe that you do either.
As for reflections upon Scripture… well, the Word is living and active and I have God’s Holy Spirit inside of me. I think reasonable exegesis will allow you to rest securely in the authority of God’s Word and not of man’s opinion. That said, I am a teacher and leader and I take full responsibility for the content of this site. If anything I say is in error, I trust that you will be quick to point it out humbly and graciously.
I think this concludes our opening mini-interview. Is there anything else you want to know? What questions do you have about church leadership and what content would you like to see addressed on this blog?