Tomorrow we register new students for the fall semester. We will then join them for an orientation retreat. Classes begin next week. I am looking forward to this semester for several reasons; I’ll mention third. First, it will be my first semester since I joined the full-time faculty in 1995 that I have not had administrative responsibilities. When I began I was half-time Director of Institutional Research and half-time instructor. The DIR role quickly morphed into Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Director of Reaffirmation of Accreditation. When we finished all of the accreditation follow-up reports in 2004 I was released from Institutional Effectiveness as I had requested and assigned the role of Director of the Doctor of Ministry program as I did not request. When it was time to start the reaffirmation of accreditation process again I was moved back into that role and relieved from oversight of the D.Min. program. Reaffirmation with SACS and ATS consumed much of my energies from 2006 until last spring. We have now been reaffirmed by both associations for ten years. I am now officially just a faculty member, which should keep me busy but less stressed.
Second, we are involved in some exciting projects at the seminary. We are in a major curriculum revision project which potentially will revolutionize Pentecostal theological education. I said potentially. I do expect it will make us more effective in preparing Pentecostal ministers. We are also in an institution-wide Quality Enhancement Plan designed to help us better prepare missional leaders. If we are able to fully implement the plan it will make every aspect of our school a learning experience compatible with the time in which we live.
Third, it’s just always exciting to begin over. There will be new students, new experiences, and new challenges. As a teacher I get to be a life-long learner. I get to try to improve my methods and present more relevant material. I get to fellowship with some of the most brilliant scholars in Pentecost and some of the most exciting ministers of all ages. It’s a great job. [The romantic in me is allowed to skip over all the irritating and mundane aspects of theological education at the PTS not to mention the institutional politics. We’re just a little slice of heaven, only don’t look too close.]
I have always said that teaching and pastoring are the perfect mix for me. I am a bi-vocational pastor; I am just blessed to have a ministry as my second job. I sometimes say “I teach to keep me up-to-date and grounded, while I pastor to keep me relevant and sane.” The truth is, I do both because God has called me and given me the opportunity. In my grand life-plan I would have retired from one or the other by now and dedicated myself to writing as my second vocation. I started this blog to help me begin that transition. My commitment to write on thanksgiving everyday this year was in part an attempt to sharpen my skills and discipline as a writer. My problem is I don’t know how to stop being a pastor and I enjoy being a teacher. We’ll skip the part about needing filthy lucre to survive and prepare for old age. It’s my blog; I get to be as spiritual as I want.
August 18, 2010