Last week this time, I was making preparations to go to Redwood Falls on Sunday to speak at Harvest Baptist Church. We left early last Sunday before the sun rose. We had recently purchased a Garmin GPS and after getting the necessary data in, we found out that we had about a 2 hr and 15 min drive. The drive itself was rather uneventful, not much to see once you leave the metro area. Lots of open space and not much around.
We arrived at the church a little after 9 AM and there were a few people there awaiting our arrival. Harvest is currently without a pastor and when the previous pastor left, some of the members did as well. Attendance was around 12. They have a really nice church building in a nice neighborhood. I am wondering if they will be able to survive with such low attendance. The community is around 5500 people and it seems to have some potential.
I spoke in the Sunday School hour on the Potential of the Church from I Corinthians 1:1-9. I spoke in the AM service from Ephesians 1 on Having Assurance of Salvation.
After the service, I was able to meet a few additional people who were not present in the Sunday School Hour. One of the families in the church invited us to join them for lunch at the local Pizza Ranch. We had a great time and I know that my wife and son enjoyed their lunch (Pizza Ranch is one of their favorites). After lunch we headed back east toward the Twin Cities and arrived home around 3:30 pm. Interestingly, the GPS did not take us the same way home as we came, but the time was about the same. Thanks to Harvest Baptist Church for a great time of ministry and for a great lunch and generous love offering.
After arriving home, I sat down to finish the editing that I desperately needed to finish before Monday morning. I had been working on the final version of my doctrinal statement for oral examination/defence on April 8th. The statement was due on Monday at 9:00 am. I was able to get in over two hours of work before the evening service at Fourth. I now have a greater appreciation for my ministerial and pastoral colleagues who speak two, three and sometimes four times in the same day. I was worn out from speaking twice and driving 250 miles round trip.
After enjoying the evening service at Fourth, I came home to work on more edits. I was able to complete the paper and put it on a thumb drive to take in the morning to print in the library. My only fears were that either I omitted something that I should have covered or I failed to fully articulate something within the statement. I guess the questioning on April 8th will reveal that.
Tomorrow, we will leave for International Falls, MN around 11 am. I will be speaking twice (Sunday School and the AM Service) at the First Baptist Church of International Falls, MN. This church is also currently without a pastor and I am providing pulpit supply. They do not have an afternoon/evening service on Easter Sunday, so after Easter dinner with one of the church families, we will then make the trek back home. It will be a long weekend, but a good one as we will be able to spend some time together in ministry as a family.
I received my official GRE Scores in the mail
Verbal 490 - 60% of test takers scored below my score (not bad)
Quantitative 300 – 4% of test takes scored below my score (not good, but I was told that most theological schools do not look at the math)
Analytical Writing – 4.5 out of 6 – 63% of test takers scored below my score (not bad)
For the 4.5 score on the writing, this is the description given:
Provides generally thoughtful analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically sound reasons and/or well-chosen examples; is generally focused and well organized; uses sentence variety and vocabulary to convey meaning directly; demonstrates good control of sentence structure and language usage but may have minor errors that do not interfere with meaning.
This was extremely encouraging because I had two difficult writing assignments on the GRE and there was some time pressure involved. I think this score makes up for the poor quantitative score. We shall see. Scores were sent to Southern Seminary and I am waiting to see if I will get into post-graduate studies there in Louisville.
On Thursday, I will have my doctrinal exam/defense before the entire faculty. Please pray that I will be able to answer all of the questions posed to me with clarity and conviction. This step is crucial and is one of the many things that I will complete between now and May 6th.