Note: This story was retrieved from Ministry Today's archives and was published in Ministry Today Magazine in 2004.
Meet three pastors who left their churches to hit the books.
They are among a growing number of Pentecostals and charismatics pursuing higher education ... and a higher calling.
At 53, Bob Proy hit the books ... again. A former pastor with more than 20 years of ministry experience, Proy has spent the last several years in classrooms, furthering his education.
He recently earned masters' degrees in communication, and marriage and family counseling from Oral Roberts University (ORU). Now, he is devoting his doctoral studies at ORU to establishing an after-care program for inmates and their families.
Proy envisions establishing rehabilitation centers outside urban areas where ex-convicts and their families can be discipled while adjusting to post-prison life. And he says higher education is the spark that lit his vision for the future.
Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Lead and Succeed by Sara. J. Moulton Reger
David was the second king in Israel, and he was a great warrior both before and during his reign asking. This story of his leadership in battle was recounted at the time of his death:
David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless, he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men. (2 Samuel 23:14-17)
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There is strength in numbers, but in the past election the numbers weren’t on the side of those who care about Christian values. The lack of unity in the church has caused us to lose ground in the fight to keep the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
This election saw residents of Minnesota, Maryland, Maine, and Washington all vote their approval of same-sex marriage. Statistics suggest that even many self-identified Christians joined in this approval, while other believers either didn’t vote or chose to remain silent on the issue in the run-up to the ballots.
Where is the wisdom in all of this? If the Bible says that the “fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10), then it is clear that as a nation we have lost the fear of God.
What changes can you make to be more effective at making and releasing disciples?
Are we making disciples surrendered to Christ and His Lordship? Though very few concrete statistics on our overall effectiveness currently exist, it’s difficult to argue in the affirmative.
What then can we do to get better at the Great Commission? Based on his considerable experience with starting churches from disciple-making small groups, Real Life Ministries founder Jim Putman has identified five paradigm shifts church leaders can make to become better at accomplishing the mission of the church. We asked him and Dave Ferguson, who also leads the church-planting network NewThing, and Community Christian Church in Chicago, to help unpack each shift and its potential impact.
How to counsel married couples through bedroom problems.
Terry and Tami seemed like the perfect married couple. They were in their 30s, attractive and successful. They’d known Pastor Phil for several years and one day came to him for counseling. As soon as they all were seated behind closed doors, Tami blurted out: “Pastor—Terry and I aren’t having sex!” Pastor Phil’s mind reeled: Not this couple. No way, he thought.
His mind instantly raced back to his Bible-school training. He could not recall any lessons he might have had on “The Sexless Marriage.” In fact, he couldn’t remember ever counseling a couple who didn’t want sex. In the end, all he could say was: “Terry, Tami—you should fast and pray.”
The article you’re reading would have come in handy for Pastor Phil. Couples like Terry and Tami avoid sex for definite reasons. After counseling for almost 20 years, I know. Let’s look at some of these obstacles.