Pastor Learns from Example of MTS–Michigan Professors
Submitted: October 2010
Michael Jones has pastored Zion Baptist Church in Taylor for nearly 10 years. Since 2005, he has been working part time on his Master of Divinity at MTS–Michigan.
Some of the most valuable lessons Michael is learning and applying to his ministry come from seeing his professors live what they teach. “I’ve been challenged academically like I never thought possible—but I’ve also learned just as much on a personal level from sitting under professors who are men of exceptional character and ministry passion. That’s the beauty of having such diverse personalities and backgrounds among the faculty.”
Dr. Eric Moore has helped him deepen a pastor’s heart for people, Professor Raju Kunjummen has sharpened his skills in rigorous theological interaction, and Dr. Brian Tucker has deepened his convictions about the importance of lifelong pursuit of knowledge. Pastoring full time while pursuing a degree can be challenging. Michael has received tremendous support throughout that process from his wife, Tondra, his congregation, and his professors. “I was in a couple of Dr. Moore’s classes while we were going through a very difficult time in our church,” Michael said. “He was encouraging, without allowing me to feel sorry for myself. He commiserated with me, but also called me to ‘man up’ and do my job.”
In his internship, Michael meets regularly with another pastor and focuses on his own spiritual development. “I’m facing issues in my character that just a few months ago I didn’t see as a problem. I don’t want to be one of those guys who falls into sin or becomes unprofitable in ministry because of unaddressed character issues. I want to be who I am supposed to be, so I can do what I am called to do.”
After finishing his Master of Divinity next May, Michael hopes to get his PhD and teach in a college or seminary setting—but only if it doesn’t interfere with his first love, pastoring. He wants to be able to prepare men for the practical aspects of ministry: how to deal with conflict in the church, how to maintain personal devotion to God, and how to prioritize study of the Word in the midst of all the other demands of ministry. His dream is to help train and encourage pastors in the same way the professors at MTS have done for him.