Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pastoral resident’

By Steve Booth

callout

Richmond’s First Baptist Church is excited to welcome our new pastoral resident, Patrick Jackson. Patrick, a native of Tennessee, came from a home where church was a large part of his growing up environment. After high school, he had the opportunity to attend Harvard University, where he received the Bachelor of Arts degree. From there, Patrick moved to Washington, D.C., to work on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant to a couple of members of Congress. In 1998 he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin Law School where he studied law and received a Juris Doctor degree. After law school he practiced law in Columbus, Ohio, and became active in a local church. Though his professional life was extremely hectic, his love for the church grew and he became a devoted member of the music ministry. It was in that church-going environment that he began to sense a call for something more, “a still small voice” that manifested in some deep theological musings with friends. These musings caused many of Patrick’s friends to tease him and suggest that he consider going into the ministry, yet Patrick didn’t give it much thought at the time.

Yvette & Patrick JacksonAfter several years as an attorney in Columbus, Ohio, he returned to Washington, D.C., to work as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. While in Washington, Patrick married the former Yvette Hensley. As he and Yvette began attending church regularly, he found himself thinking more and more about his friends’ playful suggestion regarding vocational ministry. Patrick served as a faithful member of the praise and worship team, began leading a small group Bible study, and studied the Bible more intensely. It was through these experiences that God continued to prepare his heart for vocational ministry. Eventually Patrick was led to apply to the Spiritual Mentoring Program led by U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black. Patrick recounts, “One day after the regular weekly Bible study, Chaplain Black asked me if I ever thought about going to seminary.” Patrick’s response was, “I honestly said ‘no,’ but the question stirred something in me, something I believe had been percolating for some time.”

Returning to Columbus in 2011, Patrick and Yvette joined Patrick’s home church, where Patrick once again poured himself into the church’s music ministry. He remembers, “It felt different. I began to sense God’s tug on my heart for preaching and pastoring get stronger. I felt it so strongly that after much prayer and seeking wise counsel, I accepted God’s call, applied to seminary and matriculated at Andover Newton Theological School in August 2013.”

Patrick JacksonReflecting on his new position as pastoral resident at FBC Patrick explained, “One of the things I learned early on when I sensed God’s call to ministry was that it was a call to prepare. Although God has blessed me with a number of opportunities to gain valuable hands-on ministry experience, I know that I have a lot to learn. FBC is a tremendous place to learn, grow and fulfill this call to prepare.” He added that along with growing as a preacher and teacher at FBC, he wants to learn more about what it means to have a heart for the people of God. Both Patrick and Yvette are “excited to get to know our new church family.” We welcome Patrick and his family into our fellowship and are confident that God will bless us as we journey together over the next two years.

Editor’s note:
FBC began the pastoral residency program in the fall of 2010 when Lindsey McClintock accepted the call to serve at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. Lindsey was followed by Hanna Zhu (2012-14), Nick Deere (2014-16), and Brett Holmes (2016-18). Our church family has been blessed by the contributions of these outstanding women and men. Our pastoral residency program stems from a desire to foster lasting, healthy leadership in new ministers while enriching and strengthening congregational life. The primary purpose of the residency program is to provide an opportunity for the next generation of vocational ministers to integrate theological education with the practice of ministry.

Our pastoral resident selection committee included Debbie Boykin, Sandy Shelton, Erin Cumbia, Rob Brown, Jim Somerville, Lynn Turner and Steve Booth.

Read Full Post »

Story by Brett Holmes, Pastoral Resident, 2016-2018. Photos by Susan Brown and Janet Chase.

One of my favorite movies from last year was Lady Bird, a coming-of-age comedy starring Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (although one would be forgiven for assuming it is a biopic about the former First Lady). The film follows Lady Bird through her senior year at a Catholic high school in Sacramento, California and is a hilarious, heart-breaking and beautiful picture of teenage life in the early 2000s.

The story invites us into her world. Part of that world is her experiences as a senior in high school, particularly the anxiety of applying to colleges. Lady Bird desires to attend a college on the East Coast because it will allow her to get out of the staunch, soul-sucking Sacramento that she’s called home her entire life.

In one scene late in the movie, Lady Bird is meeting with the Vice Principal, Sister Sarah, to discuss an earlier incident, but the scene turns when Sister Sarah tells Lady Bird that she read her college essay.

Sister Sarah looks at Lady Bird and tells her she can see in her writing that she clearly loves Sacramento. Confused, Lady Bird asks, “I do?” Sister Sarah says, “Well, you write about Sacramento so affectionately and with such care,” to which Lady Bird deflects by saying, “I was just describing it.” Sister Sarah responds, “It comes across as love.” Lady Bird comments, “Sure, I guess I pay attention.” And, it’s here that Sister Sarah begins to home in on her message: “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?”

Love and attention. Perhaps these are two sides of the same coin. When I first saw this scene, I wanted to rewind it—I wanted to listen carefully to those words from Sister Sarah all over again: “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?” Those words played in my head like a broken record for weeks after seeing the movie.

As my time at Richmond’s First Baptist Church draws to a close, I am reminded of these words. I am reminded that love and attention are so closely related that they might just be the same thing. During my time in Richmond I have been shown a lot of love and a lot of attention, but more than that I have been taught what it means to pay close attention to the lives of God’s people.

Throughout my (almost) two years as the Pastoral Resident, I have been invited into homes, hospital rooms, Sunday school rooms, but most importantly into relationships with countless loving people who call First Baptist their church home. I have had the opportunity to teach, preach, pray, cry, celebrate, and eat meals with so many wonderful people.

Love and Attention

During these last two years I have grown into a pastor because the people of First Baptist granted me the space to learn. I remember the first time I stood in the pulpit to preach and looked out at a congregation eager to give this young pastor a good ear. I remember being asked to lead retreats and getting the opportunity to invite people into the strange and beautiful mystery that is prayer. I remember going with the Lambs class to the annual Virginia Baptist Special Needs Retreat at Eagle Eyrie and how, for the one weekend in October, I was given a glimpse into their genuine love for God. I remember the overwhelming impossibility of remembering everyone’s name and having to accept that my most repeated phrase of my first year was, “I’m sorry, please remind me your name.” Yet, in spite of that you each welcomed me, loved me, and generously helped me along.

Ministry can be a daunting task. I recall early on during my time here talking with a member of the Young Professionals Sunday school class and thinking, “Why do these people trust me to answer life’s most difficult questions? What can I say that can be worth anything?” Slowly, though, that anxiety left because I began to realize (and see) that my job is not to have the answers, but to sit with the questions—to wrestle, to be present, to pay attention.

This is perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned about ministry. I want to have all the answers and I want to fix problems. Yet, as Henri Nouwen said, “Ministry means the ongoing attempt to put one’s own search for God, with all the moments of pain and joy, despair and hope, at the disposal of those who want to join this search but do not know how.” What I’ve learned about ministry at First Baptist is to pay attention to the lives of everyone around me and to pay attention to what God is doing because “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?”

Read Full Post »

Story by Jeannie Dortch. Photos by Jeannie Dortch and Sean Cook.

Author Alexandre Dumas immortalized three heroic musketeers who served their French king with unflagging devotion and courage. Currently First Baptist Church members are encountering three young men, all working in service to their King, the Lord Jesus. Unlike the musketeers, however, they work under different staff members and in unrelated capacities.

In Service to Our King

Brett Holmes, Scott Biggers and Justin Pierson

Justin Pierson, 24, is from Roanoke and a first-year student at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. As second cousin to Steve Blanchard’s wife, Susan, Justin lived with the Blanchards when first in Richmond. This led to conversations about part-time work in FBC’s Compassion Ministry. While earning his MDiv degree at BTSR, he spends 18 hours a week as a Compassion Assistant, reporting only to Steve. Operation Christmas Child and CARITAS have been two responsibilities, along with attendance at Grace Fellowship and weekly participation in FBC’s Community Missions. Justin has been impressed with how well volunteers in the Compassion Ministry interact with people in need in the community: “When they perceive a need, they brainstorm to determine how to reach out to help in the best way possible.” Justin’s call to ministry is strong, and he feels fortunate to be able to work in such a large church with so many opportunities for growth.

Scott Biggers, 25, from Harrisburg, NC, is in his 3rd year at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. After much soul searching and study of the differences in Presbyterian and Baptist theology, Scott discerned that he longed to live out his call as a Baptist pastor. That is how he made his way to FBC; he joined in October 2015 and was baptized in January 2016. Last summer, Scott fulfilled an internship as a chaplain at MCV, and this year he is serving as an intern to Jim Somerville, whom Scott will shadow until June 2017. He also has secured a part-time preaching position at a church in Keysville, VA. Scott remarked about his experience at FBC: “Because so much ministry and mission is done at this church, I am beginning to see and know what I like best. In this way, my internship is helping me shape my pastoral identity. My impression so far has been that everybody who comes here wants to be here. They love their church. “A common question I hear is ‘What will the church look like in the future?’ To me, FBC is a good example of what church should be (like in the future).”

In Service to Our King

Brett Holmes, 29 and a Mississippi native, is a graduate of Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, TX. As FBC’s current pastoral resident, he is being mentored and supervised by Steve Booth until the summer 2018. While working as a bank teller after college, Brett volunteered at a local Baptist church, working with youth and college groups. Encouraged by the experience, he enrolled in a hybrid program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary that allowed him to work, take online classes, and attend in person once a month. Brett’s desire, however, was to attend seminary full time. Learning that Truett offered a student loan program, Brett visited, applied, was accepted, quit his job, and moved to Waco. While there he evolved from wanting to teach and talk about theology in a university setting to wanting to teach, preach and discuss theology within a church setting. The shift came when he recognized that inside church is where theology happens, and theology had become Brett’s passion. One of his friends at Truett, Nick Deere (former pastoral resident), encouraged Brett to apply to FBC for their two-year residency program.

As FBC’s new pastoral resident, Brett is a paid employee on FBC’s staff for two years. Brett’s first year is spent working in each ministry area with each staff minister learning how to do ministry applicable to that area. In his second year, he will focus on what comes after his residency while maintaining an active presence within the congregation and in worship.

Brett shared, “What most impresses me is how healthy the staff is. In a church this large, it is rare to avoid conflict and yet, here, everyone works well together. It is good to see a model of what a healthy staff can be. That bleeds down into the congregation, providing safety and a place to feel comfortable.”

The motto of the three musketeers was, “All for one and one for all!” Though Justin, Scott and Brett do not hold the same position, their motives reflect the same purpose—to glorify God and bring honor to Him in their joint service to God’s people at FBC.

Read Full Post »

Story by Nick Deere. Photos by Allen Cumbia and Allison Maxwell. Video by Sean Cook.

Goodbyes are never a fun part of life, and saying goodbye to a church full of people I care so much about is especially tough. As I approach the last month of my residency, I feel like I am nearing the end of a good book that I don’t want to finish.

calloutI moved to Richmond two years ago – less than a week after I graduated from seminary. The church and even the city were very much a mystery to me, but gradually I began getting the hang of how the church worked. And even though it took me three months to figure out that there was a third floor, I learned my way around.

Quickly this church became a home to me. The staff took every opportunity to teach and mentor me. And the people of this church have treated me like family. Over my time here I have shared meals, attended Christmas parties, received gifts, and joined in many great conversations. This congregation has shown me more love than I ever could have asked for and for that I am deeply thankful.

Goodbyes are never fun.This church has also  been a place that has nurtured me in my ministry. I was given the opportunity to serve and learn. I got to go to Eagle Eyrie with the Lambs class, speak at the Youth Bonfire, preach in church, take part in hospital visits and so many other parts of ministry.

FBC has not only taken me in as a member, but also let me be a minister, and for that I will always be grateful. The ability to be a minister but still be in a position to learn is the great strength of the residency program. It provides a launching point. I can see it in just how much I have grown over the past two years. While I still have a lot to learn, I will leave much more experienced and confident than when I came. In fact, one of the few things that helps me be able to leave First is knowing that I am making way for someone else to experience this great program.

Goodbyes are never fun.When I was ordained in May, I had a moment of looking out over the sanctuary at all the faces of people who had prayed and cared for me. This service blew me away and will always hold a special place in my heart. But that moment does not stand alone; it came at the end of almost two years of prayer, encouragement and trust. My gratitude for this time is so great that all I can do is say thank you. Thank you for letting me serve this church, and thank you for all you have done. I will carry the memories, lessons and friendships I have found at First Baptist long into my ministry.

Watch related video, “Nick Deere.”
“Read related story, “Taught by the staff and congregation.

Read Full Post »

Story by Nick Deere. Photo by Dean Hawthorne.

calloutI joined the staff at Richmond’s First Baptist Church as a pastoral resident in August 2014. Being fresh out of seminary, this is my first position at a church beyond an internship. In many ways it is the beginning of my ministry journey. In fact I have had a lot of new beginnings here: I have come to a new city where I have been making new friends. I also have been learning new things about ministry, from preaching to teaching, sending emails to learning how to work a staff calendar – all important skills.

Nick DeereA friend who had just started a job as an aerospace engineer commented to me that it took him six months before he felt like he was actually helping. He explained that even with his high level of education he still had a lot to learn. He had all the tools, but applying them to the actual everyday work of his job took time. Much like engineering, or a whole host of other professions, pastoral work takes time to learn. My time in seminary gave me a good set of tools and knowledge, but when it comes to actually doing pastoral work, some practical experience helps greatly, which is what so excited me about FBC’s pastoral residency program.

Often ministers in my position have to learn on the job with little outside help. The pastoral residency program allows me to be a minster on staff and at the same time provides me a helpful level of supervision to learn about my new role.

The important part about my learning process is that I am not only being taught by the staff but also by the congregation here at First Baptist. This congregation has already been so welcoming – thank you so much for that. I also want to thank you in advance for your patience. In reality all ministers make mistakes, but I will probably make more than my fair share.

When I was growing up and playing sports, my dad used to tell me that if I would be attentive, I could learn more from a loss than a win. I am sure some of the reason for this advice was due to my lack of athletic abilities, but I think there is truth in that statement outside the world of sports. The residency program is structured to be a place that allows for mistakes and sets up a path to learn and grow from them. I hope my time here will have a good deal of successes too, but I am thankful for the grace you have shown in allowing me a place to develop into ministry.

At this point in my journey, I am not sure where my road of ministry will lead. I am discerning the exact shape my call will take. This time of discernment can be confusing, but so far it has been a great time of learning new things about myself, my faith, and the church. I am really excited to be at First Baptist Richmond. I appreciate all your prayers on my behalf, and also, I enjoy conversations and meeting new people. So please, if you haven’t yet, come up to me in FBC’s halls and let me thank you in person for welcoming me into this church.

Read related Baptist News Global story about trending pastoral residencies.

Read Full Post »

Story by Hanna Zhu. Photos by Susan Brown.

On a Sunday in September 2008 I visited Richmond’s First Baptist Church (FBC) with a fellow seminarian (from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond) who kindly took me to church. I had just moved from Beijing and was without a car. What a blessing that this would not only be the church that I now call home, but also the place that offered me an internship and a post-graduate residency.

Callout-zhuBLOGFrom July 2012 to June 2014 FBC provided a space for me to learn about ministry in a congregational setting. It was not classroom learning anymore. It was now real life happenings. From paying hospital visits and leading retreats, to spearheading a task force and preaching a Sunday sermon, every opportunity led to a deeper understanding of who I am, who Christ is, and what doing church is all about.

Hanna ZhuAnd I learned that I love doing church. I love doing church because the people at FBC taught me that doing church is first of all being the church. Doing church can be mechanical, but being the church has to be organic. You can’t be church if you are not breathing together, laughing together, mourning together, and rejoicing over joys of doing ministry together. The church is a body, as Paul illustrates in 1 Corinthians 12. Not just an ordinary body, but the body of Christ. People at FBC gave me a glimpse of the vitality of that body.

Hanna ZhuWhen I look back on my experiences as an intern and a resident at FBC, my heart is full of gratitude. There are no other words that can describe it. What a blessing FBC has been to me. So many people have touched my life and made it better.

With gratitude to my supervisor Steve Booth, Jim Somerville, other ministers and staff, and many, many precious congregants and lay leaders. You have offered tremendous hospitality by welcoming me – a stranger from a foreign land – to make my home among you. And better yet, you have blessed my calling as a woman minister and selflessly invested in me. Thank you.

Read Full Post »