1. Tell us briefly about where you and your family are from.
I'm from Thunder Bay, ON (sort of!!) My wife's name is Alicia and I have four children: Ryleigh (10), Hugo (8), Ceighan (6), Kaj (4). In addition to studying full-time, we are currently serving at PAXNorth Church in Halifax.
2. You were in a full time job before coming to ADC. Tell us about your call to ministry and what drew you to come to Acadia Divinity College.
My call to ministry started long before my coming to ADC. Previous to full time ministry life I was a paramedic for 10 years. Through the identification of gifting and working through calling with a mentor we evaluated my life and family to see if I was biblically qualified to serve as a pastor. Through gradual integration by leading small groups and various other ways of serving in our church it was clear in my heart, in my wife’s heart and in the people of our church that I was called to full time vocational ministry. I began as pastor for student ministries at Fort William Baptist Church in Thunder Bay ON in November of 2007.
In the Fall of 2011, through a similar process it was identified that my time as a student ministries pastor was coming to a close. Because I had only received a few distance courses towards a master’s level certificate program, and also realising that distance was not my learning style, I had a growing desire to attend seminary full time. The reality that I did not have an undergraduate degree also made things a little more complicated. A close friend recommended that I approach Acadia Divinity College to see if they might accept my application as a mature student.
3. What have been some of the challenges you've faced as mature, first year M. Div. student?
Time management!! It has been a huge adjustment to moving from husband, dad, and pastor to husband, dad, and student. The student life is extremely busy with classroom time, research, and assignments and it does not lighten the load of my responsibilities at home as husband and dad. My gracious wife has been an awesome help in this area and my kids have been very understanding as well; however the tension still remains that I do not want to disqualify myself for the ministry for which I am training. Much prayer and grace has been needed and will be needed over the next couple of years!
4. You just came back from what no doubt will be one of the highlights of your time while studying at the college. Tells us about that. What did you do, where did you go, and what are some of things you've taken away from that experience.
Prague was an awesome time of learning some intricacies of contemporary youth culture. Jeff Carter and Dale Stairs lead two weeks of intensive study. After arriving in Prague Czech Republic and a night’s rest, we headed to Malenovice which was an adventure including busses, subways, and trains. We spent the next five days enjoying getting to know our fellow European students, sitting under the dynamic teaching of Jeff Carter and tasting some of the local cuisine.
After the course we divided up into four groups and headed our separate ways for a cross-cultural experience in different countries. Some headed to Estonia, Bulgaria and Albania while Cody Bolton and myself headed off with our host Gintare to Lithuania. We spent three and a half days there experiencing the sights and sounds and had a small taste of the Church in Klaipeda. There is a flourishing church there, excited about Christ and living out His Kingdom where God has placed them.
After our adventures abroad we returned to Prague to take part in a joint tour of the city which left many weary and worn (some more than others!). We returned to Canada tired but grateful for the experiences and the friendships that were formed.
5. What are you looking forward to in the coming year of study?
The aspect of this year that gets me most excited is the mentored ministry program. I enjoy classroom study, however my personality type thrives outside the classroom with hands on experience. I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned into the practical.
6. Some people reading this are perhaps discerning a call to ministry and considering ADC. What advice would you give this type of person?
If you are discerning the call to ministry my advice would be to heed the wisdom of Prov. 15:22 that there is much wisdom in many counselors. If you have the desire to be in full-time ministry, I believe that needs to be affirmed external to you and most specifically by those closest to you. Seek out those who are willing to be honest with you in your abilities. God has blessed us with the Church, and I believe it is important to listen to her. If you are married, I believe the call to full time ministry needs to be affirmed in your spouse’s heart as well otherwise you invite conflict into your home. The call to full time ministry is a high call and must be done with much humility. It is not an easy load filled with mountain top experiences. There are many valleys that make you question your decisions, however if you have discerned wisely, there is comfort as you look back at the milestones along the way where you clearly see God affirming your call through his people as well as your heart.