I wanted to try to give you an idea what our goals are in this whole thing, why I spent the last 5 years working through seminary, why Kerstin spent the last 3 years supporting us financially and why we're now working hard to find me an overworked, underpaid job in a church.
It really started when I was in college. Kerstin and I were involved in a campus ministry at Valdosta (this is actually where we met). For about a year and a half it was a great experience for me and I learned a lot. Things really started to change, however, when I found myself a part of "the leadership." Once I was on the inside I started to learn all about the ministry strategies that were being used by this ministry and my perspective really started to change.
Just to give you one dramatic tidbit, I was having lunch with a group of people in "the leadership" when I heard one leader refer to a particular guy as "a great ministry tool" because he was good looking and she thought lots of girls would come to the evangelistic meetings if he was there. This got at the heart of how they thought ministry should be done. It's simple, evangelize the good looking, popular and influential people because once they become Christians they'll be good looking, popular and influential Christians and this will grow the ministry. This was a big problem for me since the Bible seems to say something about using weakness to show God's strength and it seemed like Jesus recruited a bunch of regular, unimpressive and certainly uninfluential people to lead the church.
So all of this made me start wondering who we were missing because we just didn't think they were important enough to devote our time and energy to. At first I applied this to this campus ministry and started to see a lot of people that we were missing. But it wasn't long before I started to look at the denomination I was a part of (the PCA) and realize that there were a lot of people we were missing there to.
Now, I don't think that the PCA in general was just choosing not to minister to people who needed the gospel. But what I realized was simply that there were certain types of people that the PCA was good at reaching (suburban or rural, middle to uper-class, educated white people) and other types of people (everybody else) that they weren't. At the same time that I was realizing this, however, I had started to take classes at RTS in Atlanta. Very quickly I realized that this realization was more than an observation about what is the case, it was a calling to do something about it.
So where we're at now is somewhere in the middle of the journey to do something about it. Our calling and ultimate goal is to plant a church in a community of the types of people that the PCA hasn't historically reached, a community of people in need not only of the Gospel but of a community of faith to be a part of. Because it's not enough for us to minster to people, we must minister among and with them. In other words, they need a church to be a part of. So now that I've finished seminary our next step seems to be for me to get some experience in ministry and, hopefully, to be mentored and trained in preparation for this ultimate goal.