I was truly blessed to grow up in the church, which deeply affected the development of my personality and my gifts. From a young age I was given opportunities to be involved in ministry, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the leaders who invested in me. A deep-rooted desire and call to pastoral ministry led me to Moody Bible Institute. During my last year as a pastoral studies major, I had no idea where I might go next. Like many students, I had dreams of using my degree immediately in a full-time pastoral ministry context, and dreams of pursuing more education at a graduate level. Unfortunately, as I began to search for full-time ministry opportunities that matched my goals and gifting, I began to feel discouraged about the opportunities available to me as a young pastoral candidate in America. I was hoping to receive both full-time pastoral experience and further theological education simultaneously–which was hard to find.
In November of 2014 I was introduced to AT3: a vision for networking American and UK pastoral candidates to do theological training and full-time vocational ministry training together. AT3 was a new model for enabling life-long relationships between Christian workers across continents. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of serving in a UK church while working on my MTh, and requested more information.
As the months passed, I continued to weigh my options and consistently returned to AT3. The various opportunities available I would be given to develop my leadership skills in the context of a local congregation was such an encouragement. Also, I could actually afford the seminary education at WEST without taking out a massive student loan. I admired the teaching faculty and enjoyed looking at the course catalog, considering which ones I might take. But, mostly my heart was moved when I learned about the state of the UK spiritually: how few gospel-proclaiming churches there are, and how much they need to create systems of training up new leaders to shepherd, plant, and revitalize churches.
In the end, the logistical difficulties of moving overseas right after a recent marriage, acquiring visas, and raising support money paled in comparison to the joy and excitement I felt about actually moving and serving in the UK. And, we did not overcome these obstacles by ourselves but with the gracious help of AT3 walking us through each and every difficulty from the daunting task of applying for visas to the mundane cultural assimilation.
My wife and I moved to Liverpool in August of 2015 and I am beginning my MTh studies at WEST, and beginning to serve on the staff of Christ Church Liverpool. The city has a vibrant cultural life and a hard-working spirit, but desperately needs the transforming power of the gospel to begin a movement of renewal, and I feel a fresh sense of urgency to be involved in that work. I am confident that at the end of my 2 years of training and ministry experience, I will be equipped to lead, plant, or revitalize a church in the Europe or America. If you are searching for an opportunity like I was, I encourage you to consider partnering with AT3 to be trained theologically, gain practical ministry experience, and share in the work of accomplishing Christ’s Great Commission.
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