As I posted the other day, Pastor Mark Schulz and I are embarking on an interesting and hopefully edifying journey. We are not sure where it will end up but we are going there boldy and humbly. Here is our first exchange. It is simply a matter of laying ground rules and giving some background.
March 4, A.D. 2012
So here we go. Soli Deo Gloria!
So how about this for ground rules:
1. Either guy can call a halt to a given string and ask that it be redirected or started over again.
2. Before we publish a given string we will each have time to review and edit as needed and will not publsih until the text is mutually agreed upon. (I think we both trust each other that neither will be trying to trick or lead the other astray so hopefully we can do as little editing as possible so the BJS folks can get this as fresh as possible.)
3. We will end a given exchange when mutually agreed upon.
Once we agree on the ground rules it I think it would be good for us to give a little background about ourselves including our education and other significant influences/seminars in our past.
I’ll start. I grew up in a large parish in rural Iowa (Trinity – Algona, Iowa, population 7,000; two pastors, 1,200 members). I have a BA in Humanities from Concordia, Seward, and an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University.
My M Div is from St. Louis (1985) and I had the good fortune of getting a D Min from Ft. Wayne a few years ago. As a kid I ran away as fast as I could from the call into the ministry but in the end the Lord had his way with me. I consider my theological mentors to be Richard Klann, Horace Hummel, Norman Nagel (all St. Louis guys from days of old) and most all of the faculty at Ft. Wayne serving in the previous decade (when I did my D Min).
One last thing of great import. While serving at one of the most conservative parishes in the Michigan District, I was able to convince the congregation to start a contemporary service complete with praise music, testimonies, acoustic guitars (no trap set), and expository sermons. The only thing that survived from those days is the expository sermon. I learned through the school of hard knocks that many fundamental church growth principles undermined the piety that grows out of Scripture. (I am sure there will be time to go into more depth on that part of my service in the ministry.)
Looking forward to your post.
The ground rules are great. Here’s my background…
I was born in Chicago, IL. My mom was a Lutheran school teacher, as were both of her brothers. I grew up at two churches – Apostles in Melrose Park, and St. Peter’s in Schaumburg. Between those two congregations I was blessed to be shepherded by two amazing pastors: Rev. Rev. William Bartling (who served Apostles for 32 years) and Rev. John R. Sternberg (who served St. Peter’s for 30 years). These men of God, along with my mom and her brothers, instilled in me a love of God, His Church, and the LC-MS.
I have a BA in Education from Concordia in River Forest, and studied Communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I taught for two years at Apostles (where I had attended as a child) and eight years at St. Paul in Norwood Park, IL. It was during those years at St. Paul that many members of the congregation urged me to consider attending the seminary. I still remember meeting with then NID President Ted Laesch and him asking me why I wanted to be a pastor. I replied, “I don’t – but I think God is telling me through his people I should.”
I attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Even though I was in the colloquy certification program I wanted to take both Greek and Hebrew. By doing that and taking a few extra classes I was able to receive both my colloquy certification and an MA in Theology. Upon graduation I served as Associate Pastor of St. Andrews in Park Ridge, IL, as sole pastor of King of Glory in Elgin, IL, and now have been Senior Pastor of Trinity in Lisle for just over ten years.
One of the most formative times in my life came in the years leading up to my time at the seminary. Our congregation was using the LifeLight Bible study series from CPH. Every day I would read a section of the Gospel of Matthew, and answer some questions. Then we would gather on Thursday nights to hear our pastor lecture on that same section of scripture. There was a group of us that would then go out for pizza afterward – and the discussion would continue. God used those times to deepen my love for the study of His Word. It was that group of people that finally convinced me that I should leave teaching for the seminary.