In 2001, Martin Franklin placed fifth in the New York City Marathon—at least for a while. Mr. Franklin was at the start of the race with the rest of the runners when the gun went off. Then he proudly crossed the finish line with an impressive time. The problem is, he took the subway in the middle of the race. The race officials were less than impressed with his ingenuity (Walling 2008, 4-5).
There are races in life that are long, and similarly need extra attention paid to the hard work in the middle. There is great excitement and rush of adrenaline when you take off at the starting line, and exuberant joy when crossing the finish line—but the hard work in between is where we need to tenaciously persevere.
With ministry training through SDBU, we are at something of the middle of the marathon. As an exciting highlight, we have had Pastor Steve Hinton complete the Ministry Leadership Certificate Program and then accept a call to serve as pastor of the Hebron Seventh Day Baptist Church. We now have 15 students enrolled in the SDBU Ministry Leadership Certificate Program. What a great start to the race!
At the same time, it is important to recognize that the marathon is long—and we are in the middle of it now. Consider these trends: we currently have 5 Seventh Day Baptist member churches searching for pastors. There are another 6 groups who will be looking for a pastor soon. If we run this projection out five years, there will most likely be another 15 groups conducting a pastoral search within that time frame. In addition, through church planting efforts there will be a growing need for leadership in new SDB groups. Doing the math, that adds up to a growing need to cultivate pastoral leadership. While SDBU is not the only tool for that cultivation, it is an incredibly important component in training future SDB pastors.
Here is your part in the race. First, pray for God to continue to raise up students and teachers to participate in SDBU as He prepares our people for ministry leadership. Second, consider supporting SDBU students. While the cost is kept very low to students, there is a financial cost for the course and texts which can be difficult for students who are already giving up valuable time to participate in these classes. Contributions to the SDBU Scholarship Fund provide critical support to our students who are investing in ministry preparation, and also encouragement to complete the Certificate program in its entirety.
If you are interested in financially supporting students preparing for further SDB ministry, simply click on the link to http://easytithe.com/sdb and select the SDBU Scholarship tab. In addition, there will be an opportunity to participate in Giving Tuesday – December 3rd, 2019. This first Tuesday after Thanksgiving marks a time which many recognize as a “global day of giving” that reaches well beyond the interests of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The goal is to provide an opportunity for charitable giving that gives back to others. The SDBU Scholarship is a great opportunity to do just that. Keep an eye out for SDB Giving Tuesday announcements to come.
Grace and Peace,
Carl Greene, Executive Director, SDB General Conference of USA and Canada
Walling, Terry B. 2008. Stuck: Navigating the Transitions of Life & Leadership. ChurchSmart Resources.