New Role, Same Mission

by Jeremiah S.

 

Hello everyone!

 

About two years ago, I launched into a seminary degree program thinking that a formal academic path might be the best way for me to serve our brothers and sisters living on the frontiers of the Kingdom. The past two years have convinced me that there are better ways for me to steward the talents God has given me, both as a member of his Church in Lafayette, Indiana now and (Lord willing) as an ambassador of his overseas within the next 5-10 years.

 

Earlier this summer, after consulting my internship supervisors, I stepped out of my formal role as a pastoral intern at Kossuth Street Baptist Church and stepped into the role that many of y’all fill so well: that of a faithful, Kingdom-focused, globally-minded church member. I am truly excited about this transition for reasons that I hope will be plain by the end of this letter.

 

What Won’t Change

  • I am still planning and preparing to head overseas.
  • I am still planning to be in Lafayette for the next five years or so.
  • I am still going to use my gifts to serve at Kossuth, probably mostly as a teacher in our smaller Sunday morning classes.
  • I still may take some more seminary classes in the future as my new availability permits.

 

What Will Change

  • I will no longer rely on your generous financial support to make ends meet. Any thanks I could express in a letter for the tremendous generosity so many have shown to me over the last two years would be utterly insufficient.
  • I have already started short-term employment and am looking for a new job here locally. Plan A at this point is to teach high school or middle school. I love to teach, I’m pretty good at it, and education is one of the professional backgrounds that is easiest to find opportunities for in sensitive locations overseas.

 

Why the Shift?

When I started this pastoral internship, I was motivated by a desire to set myself up for long-term Kingdom work overseas in a way that made the most of the way that God has made me. Nearly two years later, I am now stepping out of my role as a pastoral intern for the same reason. There are many paths to long-term service on the frontiers of the Kingdom. The path that would require continuing as a pastoral intern and seminary student is the path to service as a professor at a formal seminary or Bible college overseas. It is a good, urgent, and noble task, to be sure, but this kind of service requires workers who are suited to an academic lifestyle characterized by months of concentrated, specialized, solitary work with very little imposed external structure.

 

I know people who have that gifting, and the past two years have confirmed that I am not one of them. Rather, I am at my most productive when working with people in an environment that imposes enough constraints on me for my natural flexibility not to slump into utter chaos. I am a generalist who adds value through breadth of working knowledge, rather than depth of specialized expertise. This internship has been a great success in that it has fulfilled its purpose of sharpening my focus for future Kingdom work! For all the gifts God has given me as a learner and a teacher, I am ill-suited to be an academic.

 

Thankfully, many other avenues exist for me to use those teaching gifts overseas. I’m considering multiple possibilities, including Bible translation, bi-vocational church planting, and theological education by extension, to name a few. God knows where He plans to steer me in the years to come. For now, I can confidently say that the next step is seeking marketplace employment here in Lafayette, Indiana and continuing to learn, serve, and grow as a member of Kossuth Street Baptist Church. I am eagerly looking forward to living a more structure lifestyle, building a more globally-mobile resume, and gaining a financial footing solid enough to support a move overseas within the next 5-10 years.

 

In the last two years, I have learned a lot about our God, his Church, our Bible, and myself. I am grateful for all of those lessons, and none of them would have been possible without you. Thank you all!

 

Your co-laborer in the Good News,

 

Jeremiah