| Reflections on 50 Years of Ministry [Actually, it is closer to 56 years of ministry, but 50 sounds much better – and who’s counting?] I was one of those guys who, from his mid-teens, knew what he wanted to do and be – at least in general terms. I wanted to be a preacher. I had a great mentor in my home congregation in Temple, Texas (James LeFan), who was at the Western Hills Church of Christ for 39 years. Looking back, my life in ministry took me to places and situations and positions I could never have dreamed of at age 15, or even age 30. But I never forsook my calling to ministry.|
Two dimensions of my life and ministry stand out as being particularly influential. First, my formal education at Abilene Christian University and later at Baylor University helped shape my ministry in profound ways. In particular, I recall a love of church history, planted in my mind and soul by Dr. Bill Humble (’48) in the mid-1960s in my graduate work; and it is still there. The ability to reflect on the past and let it inform and contextualize the present is a true blessing to me, even to this day. To be sure, Christian history is not deterministic, but it certainly is repetitive and “circular” in many aspects. That perspective helps me frame many of the current controversies and pressing issues of the time, and frequently helps me chart a solution going forward.
The second major dimension of influence came more from circumstance than from the formal route, though it still involved education. In my years of full-time congregational ministry, I became overwhelmed by the amount of human suffering and struggles my congregants were having to endure. The complex, virtually unanswerable situations in which they found themselves sent me searching for additional tools to give them some relief. In the late 1970s, I, along with two other ministers in my area, decided to do some graduate work in counseling and become better equipped to deal with the pastoral issues we were facing. That decision proved to be pivotal in my coming to ACU to focus on teaching pastoral ministry in 1981 – another unexpected turn in my career. Then came other opportunities in Christian higher education I could never have dreamed of in my early years of ministry.
I thank God for professors, mentors and church members who shaped my lifetime of ministry. Let me invite you to reflect upon men and women who have shaped your heart for ministry, and then say a prayer of gratitude for them. And you never know what the Lord still has in store for you.
Dr. Royce Money (’64)
| Still time to register for Journey: From Text to Congregation! |
We are excited to bring Journey back to ACU’s campus, March 21-23!
Dr. Thomas Long (pictured), author of The Witness of Preaching, will be our featured speaker. Dr. Rodney Ashlock (’91 M.Div.), Dr. Amanda Pittman (’09) and Dr. James Thompson (’64) will each present two sessions on exegeting texts. In a special topic breakout session, participants will choose between “These Words Shall Be on Your Heart: Proclaiming Scripture through Performance,” featuring Dr. Cliff Barbarick, and “The Art of Preaching” featuring Dr. Heather Heflin Hodges (’94). Randy Harris will conclude Journey with a sermon. Click here for more information about all our speakers.
Additionally, the Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts (CSART) will co-sponsor a special lecture featuring Dr. Mark Hamilton (’90 M.Div.) as he discusses his new book, Jesus, King of Strangers: What the Bible Really Says About Immigration. A panel discussion will follow with experts on Scripture, immigration and refugees, as well as a book signing and reception.
For more information visit siburtinstitute.org/events.
|On spiders and human complexity |
A lighthearted conversation with a curious child about spiders’ potential danger to humans led Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby (’15 M.Div.) to reflect on our tendency to categorize the world – and the people – around us. In our effort to create tidy categories to help us navigate life, we often label people as “other” or even as “dangerous.” In the process, we wind up reducing them to a single feature, ignoring their complexity and missing the beauty in our vast diversity.
McLaughlin-Sheasby is a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University and teaches in ACU’s Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry. Read her full Mosaic article here.
| 2019 Ministers’ Salary Survey underway |
You may already have received an invitation to take the 2019 Ministers’ Salary Survey. To those who have completed the survey and/or forwarded it to ministers in Churches of Christ, thank you! If you are planning to participate, please complete the survey by March 5. The survey is not long, and the secure link protects your privacy by avoiding the need for your email address or other identifying information. Results will be published on our website by May 1.
| Summit 2019: Beverly Ross to speak on sorrow |
Beverly (Jones ’79) Ross will walk with us through sorrow in the Psalms as a Summit 2019 keynote speaker. After losing her daughter in a car accident in 2010, Ross founded Jenny’s Hope, a grief center to help others work through deep sorrow and loss. She is experienced in dealing with marriage and family matters, as well as individual issues such as depression, anxiety and grief support.
Ross is a sought-after speaker and an international advocate for women’s ministries. She frequently conducts workshops about finding and experiencing God’s light when the way gets dark and about learning to walk in freedom.
Mark your calendars for 11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 16, and join us to hear heartfelt words of wisdom and experience as Ross speaks on the delicate and important topic of sorrow as a part of Summit 2019’s theme, “At Home in the Psalms: Sorrow, Hope and Joy.”
Summit 2019 will run from Sept. 15-18 on the ACU campus.
|MARK YOUR CALENDARS|
|Ministers Support Network Retreat, Feb. 28 – March 3Journey: From Text to Congregation, March 21-23Dallas Racial Unity Leadership Summit, May 15-18 (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)Summit 2019, Sept. 15 – 18|
|THOUGHTS TO PONDER|
|“If we require children to behave as adults and think like adults in order to do ministry, very few will desire ministry and service. We are communicating that ministry is meant for someone else. However, by allowing children to be children and providing guidance and service opportunities alongside us that fit their sensibilities, we kindle in them a sense of purpose and desire that continues into adulthood.” – Dr. Ron Bruner (’10 D.Min.) and Dr. Dana Kennamer Pemberton (’81), Along the Way: Conversations About Children & Faith “The most important sermons you’ll ever hear aren’t the ones faithfully delivered in your church’s pulpit (vital as those are to your spiritual health), and they aren’t the ones you’ll hear on cable TV or Christian radio stations or CDs. The most important sin-defeating, hope-instilling, faith-sustaining, soul-nourishing, ministry-motivating sermons you’ll ever hear are the ones you preach to yourself!” – Dr. Terry Powell, Serve Strong: Biblical Encouragement to Sustain God’s Servants|