Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Pursuit... of God

Began a teacher certification program a few weeks ago at Gulf Coast Community College. It's a program for people who did not originally plan to be teaching and got their bachelors degrees in other disciplines. The Educator Preparation Institute is a Florida Department of Education program, administered by a few colleges and universities within Florida. The basic premise is to give those within it the tools to teach in 6 months. This does not include the other prerequisites of passing the state mandated tests for General Knowledge, Professional Knowledge, and Subject Area(s), but does include some student teaching practicum.

Did I mention it's only 6 months long?

It's a compressed program, and Lord have mercy, it's demanding.

Second week's work product includes:
228 pages of reading and viewing of three videos
Three quizzes over the reading
Two Critical Reviews that you must post into a discussion forum and defend
The writing of a Personal Philosophy of Education
The writing of Student Learning Objectives and Essential Questions for a Unit Plan begun last week
The beginning of an Instructional Notebook on Reading - 10 pages tied to Sunshine State Standards in Phonics and Phoneme work.

The estimate was that the three courses would consume anywhere from 18 to 30 hours each week.


Burning the midnight oil, we are

But all of that comes after the work God has given me as a pastor.

There's no doubt in my mind that teaching is an awesome way to touch a community and to serve God through your work. I've known too many teachers that were as called to their work as I am to mine as a pastor. They made a difference in my life, and the ones I know now - Diane Weech and Amy Anderson - are true servants of the Lord and are teaching out of their love for Him and His children. I hope to one day be their colleague.

But I am honored to be their pastor. It's what God has called me to invest the rest of my life doing.

Friends, the church/society landscape is changing. Fewer people, particularly in younger generations, have any exposure to Christians or church at all. The mega churches continue to do well, but smaller churches are struggling to stay relevant and alive. So we're going to see if a different model of ministry that uses people working outside the church and also working in the church won't provide more ministry and more resources for the Kingdom.

Ideally we'd get to the point where with that model, at least HALF the money God entrusts to us through tithes and offerings goes OUT of here into spreading the gospel and caring for our neighbors here and around the world. We'd have an entire staff of "tent-makers" just like that 1st century radical named Paul. And we'd have more contacts with more people in the community and outside the church than ever before. Living life with people and loving them makes opportunities to share Jesus increase exponentially.

Other churches may choose a different path - bigger buildings, more programs, more professionals and use that to attract people to them. No doubt it works.

It's not who we are.

New Hope is raw... organic... authentic.

And we think that's what God wants us to be. So pray for the pastor with new challenges and new opportunities ahead. And pray for the church he loves to serve.

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