Category Archives: Pastoral Ministry
Check out our Spring 2013 edition of Western Magazine online!
Click here to request a print copy.
An Occasional Lecture Series by Western Seminary International Students
One Mile Wide and One Inch Deep:
How can the Ugandan Church translate ‘numbers’ into real cultural influence?
Given by Julius Twongyeirwe, graduating Doctor of Missiology student
Tuesday April 2, 2013
Western Seminary Chapel
Ugandan worship to precede and a dessert reception to follow the lecture
Uganda is thought to be a Christianized nation with 85% of the people identifying themselves as Christians. Yet in spite of this, it is also ranked as the one of the most corrupt countries in the world. How can this paradox be rectified? The true Church of Uganda is called to be a voice in the culture, but this is hard when many already believe they are Christian and yet the truth of what that should mean in their lives does not penetrate more than this surface cultural identification. Come hear as Julius relates this current condition and how the gospel can truly transform hearts in the churches of not only Uganda, but the other nations of Africa.
Julius Twongyeirwe has been a pastor in Uganda since 1994. In 1999 he founded Proclamation Task (PT) which reaches all regions of Uganda to help equip pastors. PT organizes, supervises and coordinates training for pastoral leadership. Julius earned an M.Div. from Western in 2006 and is completing his studies for the DMiss program. Julius is married to Grace and has 4 children
Global Voices is a free lecture series at the Western Seminary Portland campus, featuring our international students. We’ll hear from at least one international student each semester on topics of interest to the Christian community around the world. We invite you to bring friends and family who may also enjoy learning about God’s work in other countries.
If you are a pastor in the Central Valley of California, please download the following PDF to learn more about a dinner we are hosting for you on Thursday, October 20th from 6:30-8:30 PM at The Well Community in Fresno, CA: Pastors Dinner 2011 Invitation Postcard.
We’d be honored to have you as our guest!
By John Johnson
(originally posted here titled “My Day in Chicago”)
Tonight, I worshipped in Torrey-Gray Auditorium, part of the campus at Moody Bible Institute, a place I had often heard of, read about, but now experienced. Years ago, I read the amazing story of D.L. Moody, and now I stood in a part of his history. It was pretty moving.
It all capped a day that began with an early morning walk under gray skies down Ohio Street, ending at the shoreline. It was a peditation of sorts, walking while meditating on Proverbs 25. It’s my favorite way of reading Proverbs, a practice I have been doing off and on for over thirty years. At certain times of my life, God has whispered life changing words during these walks. Proverbs 23:18-“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off” were words that prepared me for Holland. Pro 4:23; 16:1-3; 21:1; 24:27; 27:21-each in their own way have shaped my life. Almost every time I read, there is some verse that rises above the others, and often I read no further.
This morning, verse 27 was that verse: “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.” Verses like this one can be so timely, so centering. Too much of a good thing is too much. Over indulging in yourself, exploring one’s own splendor, can also be nauseating. Surrounded by peers, as I am at a conference like this, it is so easy to search out one’s glory—compare oneself with others’ credentials, another’s’ ministry experience. I’m reminded of Fred Smith, who at one of my first pastoral conferences began with the words—“So, now that you have had enough time to sniff out one another, let’s move on to better things.” The sage’s word liberates me from this sort of nonsense.
Chris Ferebee speaks to this from another side, in yesterday’s article, “The Veneer of Media.” He makes the point that we live in a society where people are, more than ever, driven to search out their own glory. Craving for notoriety, they will pay to get on a best seller list. In their book, Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society, Locy and Willard tell the story of Julia Allison, who leveraged blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and homemade videos to make herself a celebrity. Like those on reality TV, she and others are bent on the desire to be famous—famous for being famous. “It’s not the substance of their being, it’s not the profound nature of their views on life; it’s their willingness, or their will, to simply be famous.” And it’s all veneer. Underneath the fake oak is cheap pine. Searching out one’s glory is all rather thin.
As I work my way back through the chapter, the warning of vs 27 was already set in context. In vs 6, he exhorts a man to avoid claiming honor in the presence of important people. “Do not stand in the place of great men, for it is better that it be said, ‘Come up here than to be placed lower in the presence of a prince.’” There is great freedom in being liberated from posturing, positioning to get noticed, and feeling the need to tell others of your accomplishments—simply to have one’s fifteen minutes of fame. If we are to find any glory, the writer tells us where it is to be found: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, the glory of kings to search a matter out” (vs 1). Our glory is to hunt out His ways, pursue His mysteries, and look for His will. Search out His Word, go below the waterline, and go deep. It’s when we do, our life begins to take on a certain depth. It’s then we have something to contribute to the conversation. We just may say something important, and say it well. And whatever glory that brings, it is evident to all that it all goes back to Him.
Our ThM students have provided free access to many of the papers they have written over the last few years. If you haven’t had a chance to browse through those let us direct your attention here.
By Dr. John Johnson
This week was one of the most invigorating moments I have experienced in some time. I was invited to a conference called Q. In an old ballroom in downtown Portland, some 650 (mostly young people) came together to hear leaders from a number of sectors. Almost all have a common commitment to the gospel. Each one shared his or her big idea in 18 or 9 (or even 3) minute segments. Each one is devoted to impacting culture for the common good.
Included in the mix were an astrophysicist, a man who pioneered the mountain bike, editors of Kill Screen, Wired, and Leadership Journal, a journalist who was incarcerated in North Korea, an attorney who is having such an impact on Uganda he may be invited to sit on its Supreme Court, a fashion designer, the CEO of the Humane Society, a USC Film School professor, various authors, and an Emmy award actor/film director. All in all–a pretty heady group.
Here are a few of the insights:
-one’s vocation is integral—not incidental—to the mission of God. So give yourself to a God sized imagination, to huge learning, and step out and become what God made you to be
-video games have a huge impact on culture. It’s another way of story telling. What if we redeem it with great stories that move beyond destruction to something constructive? What if we create culture here, redeeming it from something largely individual to a more communal experience?
-the universe is fluid—galaxies are moving, continually spawning new stars. God is creating things over huge moments of history. What a patient God!
–we will get nowhere in the Middle East until we begin to identify with the weak and powerless—become known as neither pro Palestinian or pro Israeli—but pro human rights and human freedom
-we need to realize that it is not only that the church is called to save the city. The city can save the church—by engaging us, forcing us to think theologically, bring us back to what we’re supposed to be doing
-it’s not life under God, over God, from God, for God—but with God—that will change the world
-keep a gratitude list—for this is what deals most powerfully with depression—gratitude is what we were made for. We deepen the world’s wounds when we neglect thanks
-philanthropy needs to be redefined. Whoever said it is only about money?
-a good idea has to be translated into a good organizational footprint if it is to get anywhere
-the food we choose to eat says a lot about our view of creation—our sensitivity to all things living. Resolved—to never eat food from factory farming, the sort that brings extreme cruelty to animals
-great story telling means employing active verbs. The best movies create a complex cord of emotions so that you come out in awe. This may have implications for sermons
-a contemplative spirituality asks three questions—who are you? What path are you on? How do we connect with God?
-our only real boast is in the Cross-for it takes away our guilt, our shame, and gives us a new identity
-if we don’t wake up the church to its mission, we will lose many young artists, scientists, designers etc—who can’t seem to connect their faith and their profession.
It’s this last one that hits home especially. I sit in this conference, listening to these young world changers, realizing part of my role is to train the next set of church leaders, who will have the voice, the shepherding skills these people will need to sustain them and strengthen them and reinforce their convictions in a world that will challenge them every day. Is the seminary up to this? Am I? Does the church know what to do with world changers? Are we giving dignity to those who are out in this world using their gifts—be it a carpet layer or an astrophysicist? Do we know how to answer the probing question of a congregant who says—I think I get it. I want to use my vocation for the glory of God. I want to advance God’s kingdom. Can you help me?
Originally posted here.
When? Friday, November 5th from 6:30-9p and Saturday, November 6th from 9a-4:30p.
Where? Western Seminary Portland Campus, 5511 SE Hawthorne, Portland, OR 97216. The events will take place in the Johnson Chapel located at the center of campus.
The Shepherding People in Pain Conference has been designed to offer real hope and help for the people you encounter each day. These people are all around us–sometimes vocal; sometimes silent. We walk with them, sit with them, maybe even live with them. Occasionally we are one of them. These are people in pain.
For more information including the keynote speakers, break-0ut session leaders, subjects being address, cost, and so forth please go here.
Also, you can receive seminary credit for this conference. For more information on how to do this please call 503.517.1807 or email us at email@example.com.
Today we “introduce” you to Ron Marrs–youth pastor extraordinaire! If you have kept up with this blog at all you will already have met him through his post on critical books for youth ministry. Here we get a bit more personable.
Ron Marrs, Th.M
Assistant Professor of Pastoral/Youth Ministry
Born in Eugene, raised in Portland (OR). I spent twenty-five years in Olympia, WA, at Westwood Baptist Church. I have been married for thirty-two years to my wife, Becky. I have a daughter and two sons who are married with one grandchild.
What brought you to Western Seminary:
Asked to come in 2003 to teach youth ministry and be the program director for a Lilly Foundation Youth Theology Initiative called TruthQuest Training
Affiliations and Memberships:
National Network of Youth Ministry; Association of Youth Ministry Educators; North American Professors of Christian Education; Portland Youth Foundation; Young Life
Youth ministry–presently doing Ph.D. research on rookie youth pastors
Wendell Berry, Wallace Stegner, John Piper, Larry Crabb
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Favorite book of the Bible from which to teach:
Most of mine are still living: authors, pastors, teachers, disciplers
This will be the first of a handful of contests we will be hosting here for free books. The first book we are making available is Shepherding Women in Pain: Real Women, Real Issues, and What You Need to Know to Truly Help by Bev Hislop (preview the book here). Here are the ways you can be entered into this contest:
(1) If you have a blog add our blog to your links and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here letting us know with a link to your blog.
(2) You can write a blog post about it and let us know the same ways as mentioned above.
(3) You can add us to your various RSS feed or reader and let us know.
(4) You can put the URL to this post in a Tweet and put @WesternSeminary in the Tweet so we can see it or retweet our tweets. You can enter this way once a day.
(5) Make a post on Facebook or MySpace announcing the book to your friends and then contact us letting us know. As with Twitter you can do this once a day.
(6) Finally, if you make your profile pic on Facebook, MySpace, and or Twitter the cover of Bev’s book you will get an additional entry (again, email us to let us know).
We will put your name in the pot for each one of these things you do. If you want more entries you can do a new Tweet every day (never two in the same day) and we will give you a new entry each time. If you have any questions leave a comment.
We will determine a winner on May 1st.
To learn more about Bev Hislop and this book please visit shepherdingwomen.com.
By Bert Downs, Chancellor of Western Seminary
18 – 64 – 18. No, it’s not the combination to my gym locker! It’s the percentage of churches I’m currently working with that have over the past five years declined, stayed the same or grown, respectively. To put it another way 82% are to a greater or lesser degree in trouble. If they don’t make major adjustments in how they address their mission, continued decline is in their futures. Same for the dozen or so mission groups I’ll be addressing in a few weeks; their mission is still important but it has less and less traction (read that to mean support, interested people, volunteers, resources, etc.) in the current cultural climate.
There are a number of reasons churches and other groups are experiencing these challenges including their age, changing contexts, and leadership. Whatever the reason for this reality, what happens is the church or organization finds itself in what many current students of our time call “an in between place.” That is, what was, in terms of approach to mission, doesn’t work well anymore, and what will be isn’t clear yet. Alan Roxburgh in his book “Missional Map-making” sums up the situation this way, “We are in a new place where the maps that shaped us for the last hundred or so years have lost their relevance. . . the church is in an ‘in between’ place where modernity’s maps are inadequate but new maps have yet to be created.”
Enter the transitional leader . . . the person whose gifting, imagination, faith, sense of organization, practice and leadership are wired for the uncertainty of this season, and who can reconnect congregations and teams to their missions and to practices to accomplish them both now and in the times ahead. It’s the development of that kind of leader that is the heart of PTS 562F, Leading Transitions, a course offered at Western Seminary – Portland on May 10 – 13. Rev. Lee Wiggins, one of the best transition pastors and coaches in the Southwest, will join me in guiding a journey through the knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices essential to lead during these “in between” times. It’s the kind of leadership that 82% of the churches and most of the parachurch entities I work with need and are looking for. If you’re ready to be a high impact leader shaped for this season, check out our syllabus on the Western Seminary website and join us in May for a life changing trip into the world of transitional leadership. See you in Portland.
We mentioned this class last week here. If you would like more info please call 503.517.1800.