I remember it like it was yesterday. It was my first day in class as an official “Crossroads Bible College student.” I had told myself constantly, “I really don’t need schooling to learn more about the Bible.” Within three years of being a believer, I have already learned enough about Calvinism, eschatology, and apologetics to debate it with my peers. People often told me that I knew so much to be so young! I was zealous and hungry for the Word so I had easily listened to over 100 sermons, debates, and talks in my leisure time. So what could “Bible college” teach me that I hadn’t already learned on my own? In short, everything I thought I knew!
CBC and the Pulpit Ministry of the Word
Within my first year of going to Crossroads, I’d been given a swift beating to show me that I didn’t know what I thought I knew. I learned more disciplined theology in one class than I’d learned in my three years of self-study. It’s one thing to listen to a sermon on John 1, but a completely different thing to learn how to teach John 1.
The 40 minutes that I learned listening to a sermon doesn’t compare to the daily digesting that the pastor had to do in order to clearly teach that passage. My hermeneutics class with Dr. Piotrowski gave me the tools to do what I’d benefitted from every Sunday at church.
CBC and the Personal Ministry of the Word
Also, what about when I’m not teaching from a pulpit? What do I do when someone has a life changing issue and they come to me for help? The multiple biblical counseling classes I took with Dr. Park gave me the tools I needed to apply God’s Word to individual lives in order to lead them to godliness or provide them comfort.
I can’t count how many times I was able to show how the Bible could speak to someone’s situation. This gave me a whole new understanding to 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
CBC and Multiethnic Ministry
Lastly, what about the fact that I was a minority living in a post-slavery nation? And the fact that I had firsthand been tempted to assimilate into the majority culture because it seemed as though to be Christian meant to be more “white”? I saw the effects of systemic injustice and individual racism, but I had no idea how to diagnose it. I also knew the anger that built up in my heart from seeing these things, but I didn’t know how the Bible directed us to address it.
Professor Baxter, in a gracious and truthful approach, showed me how to biblically address “Culture, Race, and the Church”!
Equipped for Ministry at CBC
As I think through these things, I can honestly say that I would have ruined people’s lives had I tried to pastor a flock without the necessary tools needed to do so. I’m not saying that everyone needs to go to school to become a pastor. However, if the knowledge obtained from school isn’t gained from someone wanting to shepherd God’s flock, I can confidently say that there will be consequences!
So I encourage everyone wanting to either pastor, counsel, or lead in any capacity in the local church to learn the necessary tools needed for that task. Whether that is through schooling, discipleship, internships, etc., be sure to become equipped for the calling that lays in front of you. For me, my “getting equipped” started at Crossroads Bible College!