As many of you know, my position at The King’s University College is coming to a close at the end of the month. The deal brokered between (the now defunct) Taylor University College, The King’s University College, and Alberta Advanced Education for King’s to “hold” Taylor’s four-year B.A. for four years to ensure students have the opportunity to finish their program of studies. As part of that deal, I was hired by King’s to bring them up to the three required faculty members in theology. The plan was for King’s to develop their own four-year degree and my position would have potentially turned into a tenure track position, but, as you know, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. For a variety of reasons, no four-year program was developed and thus as of June 30 2013, there is no need for a third theology professor. So, I knew pretty much since early September I was facing a transition at the end of the academic year — a transition to what was unknown, but a transition nonetheless.
My family and I had also decided that moving away from Edmonton wasn’t an option for us. That meant my transition would more than likely be outside academia. Over the course of the year I considered positions in academic administration, management in not-for-profit organizations, business, as well as the pastoral ministry. But it was to this last option that I kept coming back. When I first became a Christian and embarked on my journey with biblical and theological studies it was to become a pastor. After some pastoral work, I entered the academy and taught biblical and theological studies for over sixteen years. But throughout my academic career always I sought to bridge the gap between the academy and the church and intentionally maintained significant involvement in the local church. I preached and taught regularly, organized and presented public lectures, led Bible studies, and wrote both academic and popular material (particularly in this blog). Over the last number of years, I have also had a growing conviction that the separation between the church and academy, between pastor and professor, as well as the increasing specialization in academia has not served God’s kingdom well. It was with this conviction and sense of calling that I entered into a conversation with a local church to discern the possibility of serving as their lead pastor. Through the application process and multiple meetings and interviews it became increasingly clear that it was a good fit for both the congregation and myself. This last Sunday the congregation voted overwhelmingly (99%) in favour of extending me a call, and I accepted. All this is to say that effective July 1, 2013, I will be serving as the lead pastor of Greenfield Baptist Church in Edmonton, AB.
I find the possibility of using my gifts and abilities within the church in the longstanding tradition of the great pastor-theologians of the early church an exciting prospect.