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Seminary – Going to Damascus

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Seminary Tag Archive

I’ve reached the point in my ministry where I consider myself a seasoned veteran of pastoral internships. Although I start my first pastorate in a little less than a month, the path I’ve taken to get there has exposed me to many different churches across multiple denominations. See, I’ve served in four churches now in the same number of years – both in pseudo as well as formal internships. This has not been by choice. Intense church conflict and poor leadership – in combination with my own sin and prideful ambition – has led me through the revolving doors of many churches.

While it would be easy to wax cynical and bitter about the whole experience, there is something to be said about the lessons the Lord has taught me through it all. Sometimes the best lessons are learned from the hardest circumstances. As I’ve sat under the ministry of multiple pastors and served multiple congregations, I’ve been exposed to both the best and worst ways to handle pastoral interns. In the process, God has helped me capture a vision for pastoral internships that I now hope to employ in my future ministry.

Let me be clear about something from the start: a veteran pastoral intern I may be, but green to the whole of pastoral ministry I still am. The goal of this article is not to sound off pompously as if I have all the answers to a broken system. My goal is to share what has worked and what has not worked in my experience, as well as provide a voice into an often neglected area of ministry in our churches.

It has become evident to me that when it comes to pastoral internships we are facing a systemic crisis. Poorly trained pastoral interns leads to poorly trained pastors. I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand. On the whole, young men are simply not being shepherded to become pastors today. And I can tell you this much – it would be difficult to find a Christian who is more discouraged than a young man in a bad pastoral internship. I regularly talk with other young men from the local seminary who have given up a career in order to be trained as a pastor. They’re trying to lead their families through financial strain, complete seminary, and find opportunity to serve others with their gifts. But rather than being blessed by the churches they serve, they’re forgotten. They’re given few – if any – opportunities. They’re uncared for by the church and its members. They receive the brunt of Christian cynicism from those who have been hurt by shepherds in the past. “You won’t be ready for a long time,” they’re told, not because of any flaw of their own but simply because these sheep harbor deep wounds. The result is a heap of young men who consistently doubt their calling, doubt their gifts, and are lost in a slough of despond.

I think there are a handful of reasons for the present crisis facing pastoral internships in churches today. First, this is a generational problem. Young men are not being shepherded to be shepherds because their shepherds were never shepherded to be shepherds (say that 10 times fast). Much like a family with generational sin, God gives us the opportunity to pursue a new direction of life and good fruit rather than living under the burden of failure and sin from our past. But such a change requires intentionality. This crisis will never be abated unless a generation of pastors becomes intentional about changing the course of pastoral internships in their churches (Gen-X and older millennial pastors, I’m looking at you). If we don’t do something now, this crisis will persist into the next generation.

Second, pastoral internships aren’t flashy. They’re not sexy. And we evangelicals love flash. We devote our best resources and time to the things we think are most important, and we do it with style. We write large checks to the best speakers to ensure high attendance at big events with the best musicians and modern stage décor. If we survey the bulk of these events that are tailored specifically for ministry training, what will we find? Plenty of conferences and seminars for church planting and missionaries to be sure. Both of which are extremely important, and I want that training to continue. But underneath the excitement of church planting and missionary work, pastoral interns are often forgotten. Yet there may be nothing more important to ensuring the fruitfulness of the church in the future than by investing today in the pastors of tomorrow. Where are the conferences for young pastoral interns? Where are the seminars training pastors to mentor and shepherd future pastors? They don’t exist, because we don’t think it is all that important of a work.

Third, many pastors are too busy trying to build their own platform. Let’s just be honest here for a second: every shepherd with a pulpit struggles with a temptation to make a name for himself. This is especially true in the age of celebrity pastors with blogs and podcasts. While I often talk to young men who have been told things like, “The church isn’t ready yet,” or “I’m not ready to train you yet,” or “There isn’t enough opportunity yet,” the reality is these pastors are more concerned with their platform and the success of their one church than the future of Christ’s church. A vision for pastoral internships is born out of a Kingdom vision that desires to see more healthy churches that are led by healthy shepherds. More healthy churches means more healthy church planters and missionaries. More healthy pastors means more healthy sheep with Kingdom values and virtues shaping the world around us.

Fourth, church members haven’t been taught to know why this work is important. If pastors aren’t investing in future pastors, then the members certainly won’t either. One of the reasons I hear most often for why churches aren’t investing in interns is because they don’t have the resources for it. Now, I understand that there are exceptional circumstances with churches that are nearly closing their doors and are pinching every penny they can. But generally speaking, if pastors sold a robust vision for pastoral internships to the members, I think they would buy in. Remember, we devote our best resources and time to the things we think are most important. Or, in Augustine-speak, we devote our resources to what we love most. If your people love Christ’s church and want to see it grow into the future, they’ll invest in interns.

At the root of each of these reasons – and the several others not listed here – is the fact that we’ve simply forgotten the importance of pastoral internships. My pastor – who I believe has caught the vision – often reminds our church that if we don’t invest in young pastors now, then there won’t be any good pastors around to shepherd his grandchildren. Yet somehow we’ve forgotten that one day these young men in our care will be the undershepherds of God’s people. We’ve forgotten that they will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1), and that they must be able to rightly handle God’s word (2 Tim. 2:15). These young men need to grow and mature in such a way that all may see their progress (1 Tim. 4:15). This requires more than just a formal education, it also requires learning how to love people well. It requires learning how to be holy. This kind of training needs to come from pastors who know how to train young men to do all this well.

What we need is a big, robust vision of pastoral internships that is worthy of the high calling which Christ has given to his church. We need a vision that seeks to display the glory of God through the proclamation of the gospel and the building of the church into the next generation. I don’t know what that will look like for you and your church, nor do I want to pretend that I have all the answers. However, I do want to offer several pieces of advice for you and your church as you seek to invest in your interns. My hope is it will at least start a conversation for you, your elders and your members. Maybe it will even help you create a beautiful vision for interns in your congregation.

  1. Create an internship description. Nearly all of the problems I hear and see with interns involve miscommunication and expectations that don’t align. Treat the internship like a real vocation with real goals, objectives, expectations, and ways to be evaluated. This is going to save you and the intern a lot of heartache and stress in the future.
  2. Get excited about it. If you’re excited about what God might do through the training of future pastors, your people will feel it. They’ll get excited too. Talk about it at congregational meetings. In the weeks leading up to the intern starting at the church, use time in your announcements to talk about it with your people. Scheme and dream with your elders about the opportunities you could provide to a future pastor in Christ’s church.
  3. Get an intern. This sounds obvious, but it all starts here. And remember, there are a lot of teaching opportunities that present itself when a church brings on an intern. It serves as a chance for you to teach your people that Christ’s church is bigger than your congregation, and that it extends from generation to generation. It allows you to teach your people (and remind yourself) what exactly a pastor/elder is and how the church is supposed to function.
  4. Don’t take on more interns than you or the church can handle. I’ve seen many churches – with good intention – take on more interns than the church is ready for. Remember, it is your responsibility to invest in, mentor, and provide feedback for each intern. Don’t take on more interns than you’re able to invest in and observe. If you can’t provide personal feedback for much of the interns work, then you’re spread too thin. If your interns are only getting one or two opportunities to preach per year because the opportunities are spread across 5 interns, you might have too many – even though you have good intentions.
  5. Affirm the gifts and calling of the intern. For whatever reason, many pastors treat the pastoral calling as a high bar to be reached, rather than a gracious calling that Christ bestows on unqualified men. Rather than holding out affirmation from young men until they meet your personal standards, affirm them quickly and often. It is between them and the Lord to make their calling sure; it is on you to remind them of God’s grace in the midst of doubt, to affirm their gifts when they feel giftless, to remind them that the reason why they’re an intern at all is because you believe they’re called by God to the ministry. One of the best ways to do this is from the pulpit. When you affirm the gifts and calling of your intern(s), the members will start to do the same. It will also help create a church culture that isn’t focused on you alone as the pastor.
  6. Be generous with encouragement. Interns will make mistakes. They will doubt themselves. They will be discouraged. Strengthen their souls with your speech. Even if their first sermon is a train wreck, start your feedback with as much encouragement as you can muster. Just as a son wants nothing more than to hear his father say, “I’m proud of you,” so too does an intern want to hear the same from his mentor.
  7. Spare them your cynicism. After enough sheep attacks, messy pastoral counseling, personal failures, and being sinned against – pastors start to nurse a bitter bone in their spirit. Try to spare your intern from the bitterness of your wounds. They don’t need to be cynical before their first pastorate even starts. Instead, remind them of all the privileges of frontline pastoral ministry and what we get to witness: the joy of new birth, seeing nominal Christians take Jesus seriously for the first time in their life, sin defeated, wounds healed, relationships restored. This will create a steady reservoir for your intern to draw on when they start encountering the mess of ministry, and it will nourish your bitter soul as you are reminded of what the Lord has done through your ministry.
  8. Use their gifts – don’t leave them on the bench. If we take the Apostle Paul at his word, then the church is one body with many members. Each member has gifts and a unique role to play in the church (1 Cor. 12:12ff). Any ministry philosophy which says that the gifts of some members are less important (or unimportant) is defunct. And yet, so many pastoral interns are given excuses for why they can’t serve. They’re left on the bench. I was told repeatedly that I wasn’t needed because “the church doesn’t need interns.” Can the pastor say to the intern, “We have no need of you?” No, but by casting the intern to the side that is the message they’re being given. Take risks for the sake of building the intern. Let them stutter through a Call to Worship. Let them say something in a sermon that you might have to correct. Let them run with a new ministry idea and see what happens.
  9. Treat it like a teaching hospital. The best analogy I’ve ever heard for pastoral internships is that the church should be like a teaching hospital. A teaching hospital is a place where young medical students can observe professionals and be mentored under close supervision. The patient may get pricked a few extra times before the student finds the vein, but how else will we have well-trained doctors? The church should be a teaching hospital for pastors. This appears to be the biblical model, for every time Jesus or any of the Apostles rolled into town, they had their whole crew behind them. It was the expectation that when Paul showed up that Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Tertius, and the whole gang would be there. Why? Because they were apprenticing under Paul to eventually take up the work of a ministry leader. So, bring your intern everywhere that you can. Give your members the expectation that when you show up, the intern will probably be there too. Let them know they might get pricked a few extra times while the intern makes mistakes. Bring him to elders meetings and counseling sessions. Let him into your sermon writing process. As time goes on, let him begin to do the work. Let him speak up during counseling sessions while you observe him. Let him share his opinions in elders meetings. Provide him detailed feedback with his strengths and weaknesses.
  10. Pay them. I get it, money is tight. But as I’ve said repeatedly, our spending reflects what we believe is important. And if this is one of the most important tasks of the church, then we’ll back that up with finances. The intern may not be ordained yet, but they’re still doing the work of the ministry. In most cases, they’re working 20-40 hours for the church rather than working 20-40 hours for a different job. We should try to pay them as such. Being a 20- or 30-something intern is already humiliating enough, but being a 20- or 30-something unpaid intern that can’t provide for his family is even worse. And we can be (more) creative about this. Take up a special offering a few times a year, or set aside a special giving fund in the church. Even if 10 members gave an extra $25 a month toward the intern fund, that is still a few weeks of groceries for the intern and his family each month. Encourage your members to be on a weekly meal rotation for the intern. Help them find cheap housing from a member within the church. There are plenty of ways to provide for interns, even if a salary isn’t one of them.
  11. Send them. A successful internship ends by sending the intern out to their own pastorate. In rare circumstances the church will have the funds to bring on its intern, but this is rare and should not be the ultimate goal. If getting a job at your church is the ultimate goal, then the scope of the internship will be narrow and will by its very nature be inward focused (the needs of our church) rather than outward focused (the needs of Christ’s church).

Pastors, one of the most important tasks before you is to build a gospel legacy into the next generation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by capturing a God-glorifying vision of pastoral internships for your people. If you don’t stand up now for the future generations of the church, who will?

My wife and I had an unexpected visit from a saint last night.

Ever since we moved into our house, our kitchen sink has been getting more and more clogged until it finally stopped draining at all last night. For the first time – but certainly not the last – we called a plumber to our house to come help us fix this clog that was embedded somewhere deep in our pipes. Our new friend Young came to help us.

As it turns out, Young lives in the condo’s right behind our new house. This gave us a great place to start our conversation. Young is a middle aged man who served in the Korean army, but has now been a plumber for eighteen years. He is married with four young kids.

As our conversation progressed, I began to ask him about his pastor and church. Young began to tell me what it was like for him to go to just one of the many Korean churches that populate our small suburban sliver called Centreville. In this area, Korean churches are like 7-11’s in most other cities – there is one on every corner. Young told me about how that was so hard for the Korean community because there are so many churches and none of them seem to want to work together. He described how every young Korean seminary graduate wants to come and plant the new “next big thing” in the Korean community, rather than build up churches there that already exist.

He continued to tell me how this creates a culture in the Korean community where each pastor becomes a salesman for their own church. He described one scenario of a young, fresh seminary graduate who was starting a new church showing up on his doorstep and handing out his business card.

“I don’t want your business card,” said Young. “But tell me, where did you graduate from school?”

Instantly the young seminary graduate lit up and got excited to tell Young about his educational credentials. He gloated in his prestigious degree from Westminster California, and how he previously had a degree from MIT. This green pastor was very proud.

By this point, Young knew who this man was. Before him was another young, prideful wanna-be pastor who didn’t understand the Church and was perfectly fine with stealing sheep from another flock to start his own thing. “Get out of my house and never come back,” he told the pastor. While blunt and possibly lacking in grace, that certainly got the point across.

Young left my house shortly thereafter. He never knew anything about my wife and I other than that we too were Christians who attend church regularly. He didn’t know that I have plans for vocational ministry, or that I am currently in seminary.

I tell this story for two reasons.

One, it is a clear example of how in the family of God we are all on the same footing. No one is better than any other or in a higher status. More knowledge or degrees do not qualify someone for always being the teacher instead of the student. The Church of Christ turns the categories of the world on its head! Only in the Church is it common to find a janitor teaching an Overland Park injury lawyer, a school teacher instructing a doctor, or a stay-at-home mom counseling a CEO. I’m reminded of Colossians 3:16, where all believers are commanded to teach and admonish one another. It doesn’t matter what your profession is or how much money you make; you have something to give and teach to your brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to share the comfort and knowledge God has shown us with others.

Secondly, this conversation really stuck out to me as one of those bright-eyed seminary students Young mentioned in his story. From personal experience, I’ve noticed that we seminary students tend to place a lot of weight on our seminary credentials and training. We take pleasure and pride in what we learn in all of our various classes. We think that we have something within ourselves to offer people. When this happens, we begin to place confidence in ourselves rather than in the cross of Christ. Our churches begin to look a lot more like our personalities, rather than looking a lot like Jesus.

I’ve said this before, and I need to repeat it to myself often: at the end of the day, nobody really cares how much we know, what school we graduated from, what degree we have, or what classes we’ve taken. People want to know what we can give and show them. And what do we have to give? What we possess does not come in the form of fancy theological terms, understandings of church fathers and tradition, or new emerging ideas on critical linguistic studies. It does not come in the form of “5 points in improving your marriage” or our latest thoughts and speculations on a certain text. It does not come from loud music, flashy lights or big buildings. All we have to offer people is a 33-year-old naked Jewish man hanging on a Roman cross. That’s it. If your theology and seminary education does not give people this Man then it is useless, vain speculation. Don’t waste anybody else’s time with it.

This message of a crucified, suffering Savior is utter foolishness to the world, but to those of us who are being saved we know that it is the power of God. We know that it is the only hope that we have. That dear friends, as a saint equipped to minister with the gospel (which we all are in Christ), is all we have to give to each other. Glory to the crucified King!


As the school year came to a close last year, I published a list of things that I had come to learn during my time in the introductory year of my studies. Following the pattern I’ve set for myself, here is another list from year two.

1. Being a Christ-like husband is infinitely more difficult than even the most strict and arduous of classes.

I was engaged for only a small portion of my first year. My professors often hit on the Biblical necessity for putting wives ahead of ministry and studies, for sacrificing yourself for your wife and striving to love her as Christ does the church. I naively thought this was easily doable and something I would excel at.

Enter marriage and seminary year two, where I discover that sacrificial and Christ-like love is far more than an idea in a Tim Keller book or a good exegetical preaching point from 1 Timothy. It’s hard. Really hard. Pride, envy and selfishness in marriage – sin – are a very real thing.

Despite its difficulty, marriage is so, so good. Through all of the struggles and tears God is growing both my wife and I to better understand the deep commitment that exists between Christ and his church. I am so thankful for my wife, her support, her patience and the gift of grace that marriage is which God uses to grow and sanctify us in our wilderness journey. I’d be twice the cynical and selfish goober that I am today if it wasn’t for her.

2. Nobody cares about my theology.

I don’t say this in a mean way, but at the end of the day – nobody else really cares about my theology other than my classmates and professors. Quotes from Augustine and Calvin don’t help anyone get through the struggles of life. There is hardly a person in my church who could give a lick about the theology of the Reformers and church Fathers, Greek nuances or eschatological differences. What people want and need – and this is a very good thing – is the grace of God through the sustained and faithful ministry of His Word to their souls. Grace, assurance, exhortation, the person and work of Christ and his gospel are the fruits of our labors; all of which are nourishment for our tired and weary souls. As it has been said, “Show them the Bread, not the bread factory.”

3. Nobody cares that I am in seminary.

Honestly, I think there was a time where I had a bit of an elitist mentality to seminary, as if it was somehow unique over other learning institutions. The truth is, its really not any different and it is incredibly dangerous to think anything different. Like every other masters degree programs, seminary requires hard work, sacrifice and dedication. The attendance of seminary is not something to boast in but something to be humbled by, something that creeps into the background of our lives as we instead seek to share what we have in common with our brothers and sisters – the riches of all that we share in our union with Christ.

4. Doubt and fear are paralyzing.

Theology is the remedy for doubt and fear; yet, knowing theology is not a vaccination for doubt and fear. Throughout my second year in seminary I faced many doubts and moments of paralyzing fear over my future, slowly and cripplingly putting me in a place where I forgot the promises and graces of God. It was only recently as I’ve been studying the book of Deuteronomy that my doubts and fears were cast out. I was struck by Moses’ attention to detail as he recalled the victories of the Israelites that were won because of the promise-keeping God that they served.

A remark by Pastor Ajith Fernando is what really shattered my paralyzing shell of fear and doubt. Commenting on Deuteronomy 1:28, he said this: “We must apply the implications of what we believe about God to every situation we face. Then we can conclude, ‘If God is God and I am obedient to him, he will see me through.’ That is the logic of faith. Believing God’s goodness, power and love for us helps us to be obedient.” I realized that this God of the Israelites is the same God we serve today, and I can rest assured in God’s promises and goodness to me not because of anything I do or my circumstances but because of who God is as a covenant and promise-keeping God. Truly, he is so good to us.

5. Adoption is the “height of our privilege as God’s people.” – John Frame

I can’t say enough of how much I love my church. The congregants, members, leaders and volunteers have all been such a blessing and gift of grace to me. I’d be nothing if it wasn’t for the way my brothers and sisters challenge me, sanctify me, pray for me, and love me. I am coming to really understand how, as John Calvin says, there is no sacrifice more pleasing to God that cultivating brotherly good-will. If any of you are reading this – thank you.

*See below to explain the picture

It is a universal problem that exists in all academic fields: the more one knows, the more one is likely to boast in their knowledge. This is very dangerous territory for the Christian, however. While on the one hand there is room for being thankful for our achievements, we must realize that pride is antithetical to the gospel and therefore there is absolutely no room for it. There should be a difference between how a Christian doctor sees her training in comparison to the non-Christian. All of our knowledge and wisdom should be seen as a gift from God and used for service towards others.

Unfortunately, seminary students in training are not exempt from this area of pride in their knowledge. If anything – because pastors and ministry leaders are held in high esteem by their communities – seminary students might be in even more danger than other professions when it comes to being tempted by pride. As the Apostle Paul tells us, knowledge puffs up but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

This problem of pride amongst future church leaders is an epidemic that is largely going unnoticed. I myself have suffered and continue to suffer with it, but I am thankful that by God’s grace he has revealed the areas of my heart that have wrongfully been prideful in my seminary pursuits. To that end, I want to list five signs that you might be a prideful seminarian and the corresponding real gospel truths that go along with them.

1) Because you are in seminary, you think the church owes you a ministry position.

Whoever desires a position in ministry desires a noble task (1 Tim. 3:1). However, it is entirely possible to desire a ministry position with the wrong motives. A good sign that you are filled with pride in your seminary pursuits is that you believe simply because you are taking or have taken seminary classes you deserve a position in ministry. This might be subtle in that you work behind the scenes to elevate yourselves above others. Perhaps you subconsciously criticize the way your current leaders do things and think you could do it better. It could also be obvious in the way you talk to your community or your leaders. You might even outright confront your leaders and make demands to be in a leadership position.

The gospel truth is that no one is qualified for a ministry position. It is only by the grace and mercy of God that anyone is qualified to lead. If you want to even begin pursuing qualifications for ministry, start with the guidelines laid out in 1 Timothy and Titus. True qualification for ministry begins at the cross and remains at the cross. Your seminary education should lead you into a deeper understanding of the state of your wickedness and your need for Jesus. It should lead you to a deep desire to serve God’s people with all that you’ve been trained and equipped in. Only then may we begin to think ourselves even remotely ready for ministry leadership.

2) You want everyone to know how much you know, so you needlessly quote things that don’t need quoting.

One of the surest signs that you are a prideful seminarian is that you want others to know how much you know. For you it is not so much important that others understand what you know, so much as that they know you know things (how much wood would a woodchuck chuck…). If you are prideful in this area, you go out of your way to quote a bunch of dead dudes in random conversations. If you’re educated in the original languages, you want everyone to know so you unnecessarily use it (*see the cover picture for this article…ironnyyyyyy!). Your theological knowledge is not a way for you to serve others, but to be superior to them.

The gospel reality is that every single word we read and learn in seminary is to be used for the church. Any gift we are given in the areas of teaching or knowledge are to be used for the Body of Christ, not ourselves (1 Corinthians 12). Nobody cares how much theology you know, the only thing that matters is how you serve your brothers and sisters with what you know. The duty of a ministry leader or pastor is to take their seminary knowledge and make it applicable to the heart of the Christian such that it draws them closer to Jesus.

3) You want everyone to know that you’re in seminary.

Another strong piece of evidence that you are a prideful seminarian is that you want everyone else to know you are in seminary. Because you think seminary makes you a somebody, everyone else needs to know that you are taking seminary classes. You might even try to drop this fact through the art of the #humblebrag, which really means you just want to boast and brag over your brothers and sisters.

The gospel truth is that without Jesus we are nothing (Eph 2:1-10). Jesus makes us a somebody, not our seminary classes or the books we are reading. Again, nobody cares that you’re in seminary if you aren’t using it to serve the church.

4) You are overly critical of your peers.

A guaranteed sign of pride in your seminary education is that you believe it makes you entitled to critique and “offer advice” to your peers…all the time. If this is a problem for you, then you never stop to listen for advice because you’re always the one giving it. You speak when you’re not spoken to and offer criticisms when they’re not warranted. You probably critique your leaders behind their backs. Every time you learn something new in the classroom you twist conversations to make it apply to someone else. Your own heart isn’t being changed because you’re too busy trying to change others.

The hard gospel truth is that every piece of knowledge you learn in the classroom needs to impact your own heart before it can impact someone elses. Your time in seminary should be a time of increased listening and heart transformation (Prov. 12:15), not increased criticism of your peers. Don’t be a know-it-all. Instead, confess your sins to your peers and show them how your heart is being changed by your seminary education.

5) You constantly want to best yourself over your seminary brothers and sisters.

While there is always room for healthy competition, the seminary classroom can quickly turn into a place of unhealthy and unhelpful boasting. Because you are prideful, you want to be better than your peers in the classroom. You don’t like it if they get better grades than you, so you come up with excuses. You probably brag about your opportunities to speak outside the classroom. You want everyone to know that you’re smart (or so you think), so you find ways inside and outside the classroom to boast in your knowledge.

The gospel truth is that the seminary classroom should be a place for humility and encouragement of one another. There is no room for boasting in our knowledge or education – is that not contra-gospel? Instead, our seminary classrooms should be marked by a deep sense of humility and grace, constantly seeking to build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11). You should not seek to prove your intelligence, but build up your peers that they might be strong in their own pursuits. If you’re getting ministry opportunities that your peers aren’t getting, then you should be building up your peers in preparation for those experiences. If we can’t be graceful towards one another in the classroom, then how are we going to be graceful to the men and women in the church that we serve?

If you struggle with pride in any of these areas, my encouragement to you is not to feel down and out. Jesus died for prideful sinners like us. Read, meditate, and pray Philippians 2:1-11. Pick up a copy of Valley of Vision and pray through “Man A Nothing” and “Humility in Service.” They will wreck your face. Confess your sins to your church, and resolve to serve them with your whole heart.