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What’s Next For Us

I read these words over and over: “We exist to prepare vocational Christian workers and ministry leaders for local churches throughout the world.” My heart resonated with the statement, and I wanted to be involved in this cause. Today, I am excited and thankful to share that the next season of my life and ministry will be devoted to this very thing!

40 days ago I announced to my church family that God was leading me to another place of ministry. The night before my announcement, I told my wife, “I feel like I’m about to step off a cliff.” I had reached a decision that God had another assignment for me, but I did not know where. I shared my decision with our church and said, “God has something else for me to do. I do not yet know what that will be. Faith (my wife) and I are seeking the Lord’s direction and will wait on Him to lead us. It will probably involve pastoring, teaching, or some combination of both. When God is leading, we must obey. I’ve walked with God long enough to know when He is moving me in a direction, and that is what is happening now. I know you will understand that I must follow His will for my life.”

My wife and I were prepared to wait months for God to direct us to a new place of ministry. It seems that sometimes we wait on God, and other times we are almost running to keep up with Him. The past three weeks have been the latter of those two.

Three weeks ago, Jim Tillotson, President of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, called me. We met the following week, and he invited me to the campus in Ankeny, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. My wife and I traveled there last week. President Tillotson and several members of the college and seminary faculty interviewed me, and I was offered a position, which I enthusiastically accepted.

My role at Faith will be Professor of Pastoral Training. Responsibilities will include teaching Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, and other related classes, as well as overseeing the Ministry Training program. I could not be more thrilled at this opportunity.

The statement at the beginning of this article is from the school’s official documents. Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary exists to prepare vocational Christian workers and ministry leaders for local churches throughout the world. During its 95-year existence, the school has established a reputation for maintaining solid, conservative theology; cultivating warm-hearted devotion to Christ; and graduating Christian servants who are in positions of ministry all over the world. There are approximately 6000 alumni of Faith living in all 50 United States and in 35 countries. It is one of the few Bible colleges to achieve both regional and national accreditation.

President Jim Tillotson is completing his first year of leadership there. He has brought fresh vision and energy, and I am excited to be part of his team. I look forward to serving along with the many godly men and women already there equipping a new generation of Christian workers and ministry leaders. To FBBC&TS students who are reading this, I look forward to meeting you in the Fall!

God is good. He has always provided me with a place of ministry that is way beyond my hopes and expectations. I will have much to learn in making the transition from pastoring to teaching, but I am glad for the new challenge and for the opportunity to equip and encourage pastors. Please pray for us as we move, settle, and begin!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

What a Discouraged Pastor Should Do (Part 4)

Here’s a final look at some of Paul’s exhortations to Timothy when he faced discouragement. You can read Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you haven’t already. These are all taken from 2 Timothy.

  1. Continue in what you have learned. (3:10-17)

The basics don’t change just because ministry is hard. Keep going back to the Word for your own personal encouragement. It is able to give you assurance and equip you to do the work of ministry.

  1. Preach the Word. (4:1-4)

This is a succinct repeat of numbers 3, 8, and 10. The emphasis Paul places on it indicates how important it is. Keep preaching the Word. Do it when you feel like it and when you don’t (v. 2b). Preach in a way that challenges people where they live (v. 2c). Keep it up.

  1. Spend time encouraging someone else who is hurting. (4:9-22)

Paul himself was going through a time of extreme hardship. He asked Timothy to “come to me quickly” (v. 9) because others had abandoned him. As Paul speaks of being left to face the Roman trial by himself (v. 16), his personal hurt is evident. “All forsook me.” He hopes Timothy will pay him a visit.

When we’re discouraged, it can help us to spend time with hurting people in order to lift their spirits. It gets our focus off ourselves. It can break the downward spiral of self-pity and despondency. I don’t know if this was part of Paul’s reason for asking Timothy to come. He may have just wanted Timothy’s company. But Paul evidently did not think that Timothy’s discouraged state of mind would keep him from being an encouragement to Paul. And maybe he thought the trip and the time with Paul would be good for Timothy. Maybe a visit to another discouraged Christian or hurting pastor will be just what you need!

  1. Know that God will never desert you. He stands with you and strengthens you so the message will go out and the people who need it will hear. (4:17)

This is Paul’s ultimate confidence for himself. He felt deserted and hurt (verses 10, 14, 16). But He knew that the Lord had not abandoned him. These are beautiful words!

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me . . .  (v. 17)

Paul took heart in the truth that His Savior was with Him when everyone else left him. I think he wanted his young friend Timothy to know that the Lord was with him during his painful season of ministry as well. These are good words for any hurting or discouraged pastor to read, cling to, and take heart.

Paul, Timothy, and any discouraged minister of God can say, The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! (v. 18)

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Pastoral Ministry

 

A Step Back, and The Path Ahead

Last Sunday morning, I shared with our church family that I am stepping back from the role of Senior Pastor. At the end of this post is an excerpt of what I said, explaining the reasons and giving a few details about the plan for moving forward. I have a few thoughts related to this decision to share with you who read this blog.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I have posted several articles recently related to a pastor’s discouragement. I have one more article on this topic yet to post. It’s obvious that discouragement has been part of my experience as a pastor. The assumption of some might be that I resigned because of it. However, I want to be clear that my reason for resigning as pastor of Calvary is not discouragement. There have been times, I’ll be honest, when I have been so discouraged that I was ready to hang it up. But I worked through those times, by the grace of God and with help from my wife and some friends. I began this year with great anticipation of serving the Lord, sharing the Word, and working with our pastoral team here at Calvary.

In mid-January, some circumstances and my ensuing thoughts prompted me to take a step back. (The “circumstances” did not involve another church contacting me:) ). I determined to undergo a period of evaluating God’s will for me and what is best for Calvary. During this two-month period I prayed, meditated on Scripture, sought counsel from a number of advisers and friends, had many conversations with my wife, read suggested books, and did everything I know to do in determining God’s will. The answer became clear to me that God is directing my heart toward a new place of ministry (yet unknown) and that it is time for Calvary to have a new person in the role of Senior Pastor.

As I say in the announcement below, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to minister at Calvary. I have learned much, and hopefully have contributed to the growth of the church and her people. We will miss the dear people of Calvary deeply. I am thankful for the reunion we will enjoy around God’s throne!

We will celebrate our Lord’s resurrection this Sunday. Then I plan to preach four messages on Sunday mornings to prepare everyone for what is ahead. This is my preliminary plan, to be fleshed out over the next few weeks. Titles and themes may change, but it will go something like this:

  • Sunday, April 3 – Be Confident – This will be a message of encouragement for our people.
  • Sunday, April 10 – Be Careful – I will share several warnings the church will need to consider.
  • Sunday, April 17 – Be Committed – The people of Calvary need to remain dedicated to the church and to the cause of Christ.
  • Sunday, April 24 – Be Christ-Focused – Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of the church. He is the Person around whom the church will be unified and will grow even stronger and thrive through the days ahead.

Yes, I know this sounds like Warren Wiersbe.:)

I would appreciate your prayer for our church family and for me as we walk this path together. Thank you.

____________________________________________

From our church website:

Following is an excerpt of an announcement Pastor Dean shared with our church family this morning. We ask that you please pray for Pastor Dean and Faith as they seek God’s direction for their future ministry.

We love you, Pastor Dean, and we are grateful to the Lord for the twelve years you have faithfully ministered the Word to us.

After a long process of prayer, seeking counsel, and deliberation, I’ve determined it is time to step back from my role as Senior Pastor at Calvary. I believe Calvary needs fresh vision, clear direction, and someone with the gifts and passion to lead the church through its next stages of life and growth. And I believe God has a new place of ministry where Faith and I can use our gifts and experience to serve the Lord and His church.

For a while I have had a question in my heart about whether God may have another assignment for me to complete in my lifetime. I love Calvary and am willing to invest the rest of my life here if that is what God wants. But through prayer and the counsel of a number of people I respect and trust, I have reached a place of certainty in my heart. God has something else for me to do. I do not yet know what that will be. Faith and I are seeking the Lord’s direction and will wait on Him to lead us. It will probably involve pastoring, teaching, or some combination of both. When God is leading, we must obey. I’ve walked with God long enough to know when He is moving me in a direction, and that is what is happening now. I know you will understand that I must follow His will for my life.

Different kinds of leaders with varying gifts and strengths are used at different stages in the life of any organization, especially a church. God used Pastor Guy Altizer to plant and grow this church. He used Dr. Jim Binney to lead and grow the church through a time of transition. And He has used Dean Taylor to lead the church through another stage of maturity, growth, and change. I believe it is time for a new shepherd with fresh vision, clear direction, and the gifts to lead the church in pursuing what God has next for Calvary.

I believe the right person with the right gifts will enable Calvary to go to the next level of fulfilling her potential for the glory of God. I do not want to hinder the growth that can take place here by God’s grace. So I am stepping back to allow Calvary to seek the right person to shepherd the church through its next stages of life and growth.

This is a decision I have considered and made completely of my own initiative. No person or group has pressured me or even suggested that I do this. It is my own decision before God in following His will and doing what is best for our church.

My last Sunday to preach will be April 24 and I will be available for some time after that to give any help necessary to a smooth transition. The pastoral staff, in close coordination with the deacons, will give leadership to the church once I am finished.

Faith and I will always be grateful for the years of life and ministry He has allowed us to have at Calvary. You are dear to us, and we will always treasure you in our hearts.

We love you.

Pastor Dean 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Church Life, Pastoral Ministry

 
 
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