In a few weeks I will start my first set of seminary classes with Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. I will be working on a Master’s of Art in Religion with a specialization in Christian Leadership. As I was praying and planning for seminary I knew I wanted to pursue a Master’s of Arts in Religion degree, but was not sure what I wanted to specialize in. Liberty allows you to choose a specific specialization when you take the Master’s of Arts in Religion. With so many to choose from I was torn between discipleship and leadership because I know they both will be important in life-long ministry. My undergrad youth professor, Shean Phillps, took the discipleship classes at Liberty and implemented several of the books and things in our undergrad youth classes. Because of this I decided to go with the specialization in leadership.
A few weeks ago I was playing golf with some of my friends and my friend Mark asked my why I decided to specialize in Christian leadership in seminary. A few others have asked me the same thing so I decided to share the two main reasons I feel God has directed me to specialize in Christian leadership in seminary.
Everything rises and falls in leadership. I have heard this saying many times and believe it is extremely true. I believe that a successful ministry can always be traced back to good leadership. Show me a growing, dynamic church and I will show you a good leader. Show me a growing, dynamic student ministry and I will show you a good leader. The church today is in need of well-trained, wise, and Biblical leaders! Most ministries fall apart because of poor leadership. I have also heard it said that if you want to measure the spiritual temperature of a church or a student ministry than measure the spiritual temperature of its leaders. The spiritual temperature of the leaders will dictate the spiritual temperature of the people under them.
I believe God has gifted me and equipped me to work in a large church setting. I am encouraged by mega-churches who are doing it right and hope one day I can serve in a large church. One of my mentors, Brian Baker, has pointed out this gifting and equipping in my life as well. I doubt I will land a ministry job in a large church at first since I’m fresh out of college, but believe I will one day in the future. In larger church, leadership is huge! That is one reason I am specializing in Christian leadership. When you lead a ministry, for example a student ministry since that is what I am pursuing, you spend more time training and building a leadership team rather than you alone focusing on the students. In the book The Greenhouse Project, Ric Garland, the director of Word of Life Local Church Ministry, says that one person can only effectively disciple five to six people. In a large church, a student pastor cannot disciple each student. He must train leaders and build a leadership team to carrying out his passion and desire for student ministry.
You are a leader everywhere. John Maxwell says leadership is influence. Wherever you effectively influence people, you are a leader. I know God has called me to be a leader in the local church, but also know God has called me to be a leader to my wife, children, and anything else He decides to put me over. I believe my study of Christian leadership in seminary will help me be a Godly, Biblical leader inside and outside the local church. In a culture where leaders are falling left and right due to immorality and lack of character, we need good leaders. The church needs them. The world needs them. Our culture desperately needs them!
These are two of the main reasons I feel like God has directed me to specialize in Christian leadership in seminary. At the end of this degree I have the option of rolling it into a M.Div. (Master’s of Divinity) and getting that degree as well. I am not sure if I will do this because I’m not sure what my life will look like in a few years. Either way, I am grateful for the undergrad education God has allowed me to receive and privileged to be able to work on a Master’s for the next few years.