ATS: The Pastor as a Leader

The Pastor as a Leader, the third of the 13 Advanced Training Studies modules, a Pastoral Theology specialization program, took place in Vulcan, Brasov, on May 2011. After the 3 months of online work, posting their homework and interacting with their colleagues, the students met with their professors, Dr. Andrew Seidel and Mihai Dumitrascu, on May 11-14, for a seminar whose objective was the development and implementation of a biblical philosophy of leadership in the local church.

As always, Dr. Seidel, a true leaders trainer through his life style, didn’t travel alone. This time he was joined by J. Brian Eby from the Entrust Organization, who is a licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage & family therapist and licensed social worker, as well as Brian Bittiker, student and web developer at Dallas Theological Seminary, and spiritual formation fellow of Dr. Seidel.

As many leaders affirm and acknowledge, leadership is based on character, and because of this we emphasized character during the course. One of the topics was the presence and importance of integrity as a great value in the life of the leader. There is a big difference between declared and achieved values. Inconsistency in this area, even though it is influenced by culture and access to education, is in essence the consequence of a sinful nature. The chances to assimilate these values grow significantly when there are models and an accountability system. An important factor that facilitates relationships and provides fellowship is integrity, including also integrity in recognizing imperfections. “If I act as if I was perfect, people cannot relate to me. But if I am honest with my own flaws, I will encourage people to relate to me,” says Pastor Mihai Dumitrascu.

It was a great time, with a lot of interaction, as the students were free to interact with professors during the sessions, asking questions, making comments about what was said, receiving suggestions or sharing from their personal experience. “I have been impressed with every generation of students. I can say that this generation has great potential” said Dr. Andrew Seidel, the project coordinator.

Dorothea Ghita was present and she recorded the participants’ insights, on behalf of BIG Impact.

BIG: What parts of The Pastor as a Leader challenged your perception and knowledge on the topic?

Lucian Rotaru, Vocea Evangheliei Radio, Constanta: This seminar was very motivating. I became aware that in every leader’s life there is a crossroads, when he needs to decide if he is going to use the power to minister himself or to serve others. I reaffirmed the decision to serve others and I repented for the moments when I looked for my own interests, manipulating those I served, instead of serving them selflessly. I am convinced that God will be pleased with this constant process of giving up my own small interests in favor of serving others.

I had an idea about what a vision should look like, but after this course I can better understand the necessary steps in order to design a vision from God, for my ministry.

Sebastian Mariniuc, Manager, “Pentru tine” Christian Association: The readings for this course were the ones that impressed me most. They are of high quality and focus on biblical leadership, not on secular leadership. The importance of character grew deeper in my perception of Christian leadership. I was amazed when I understood the importance of my perception regarding my identity in Christ in view of a servant leadership. This is not the first information I acquired in the area of leadership, and consequently I could identify the valuable material from Andy Seidel’s course.

BIG: Both Dr. Andy Seidel and pastor Mihai Dumitrascu have a rich life and ministry experience. How do you assess their teachings and how relevant was their experience in conveying knowledge and encouraging abilities, values and character?

Mircea Ardelean, President, “Realitatea” Missionary Society: These capable men, so devoted and faithful, managed to pour much passion in me and they succeeded in giving me the the courage and desire not to give up leading with integrity. Using their experience in leadership and pastoral ministry they motivated in me the desire to develop my own leadership skills. Also the passion for ministry and development in their life and ministry is a great example for me.

Gherasim Cosmescu, Pastor, Deva: Without glorifying them, I personally believe that the experience and transparency that both teachers showed were defining aspects in teaching this course.

Andy proved much tenacity in directing the discussion toward a well defined purpose. His challenging style made us think of the heart of the problem and the openness with which he shared experiences from his personal life were his strong points, and this was noticed by most of the participants.

The transparent and direct way in which Mihai presented the “The Identity of the Leader” section made me more responsible, encouraged and challenged me, helping me to become more aware that the unique solution in presenting a relevant Christianity to those who follow us, in a time in which we are confronted with a vacuum of models, is accomplishable only by “charting a bold course.”

BIG: In what ways does this learning environment help you acquire knowledge, skills and values?

Lucian Rotaru, Vocea Evangheliei Radio, Constanta: The learning environment is very suitable for me, both before the course, and in the course itself. My colleagues are all involved in ministry, we are all from different churches, we have different visions, different life stories and each his best and most valuable insights, in order to enrich the others. The context is different compared to a regular school. At ATS we don’t have the terrible competition to get a good grade, by just reciting exactly the information in the textbook. I am motivated to learn in order to do my ministry well. My colleagues life stories inspire me to dream big, to try new methods in ministry, knowing the others face troubles and great challenges, etc. The ATS environment makes me believe God rises a new generation of leaders who are going to be models for the next generations and I am happy to be among them.

Sebastian Mariniuc, Pentru tine” Christian Association, Manager: The online platform requires a serious discipline in posting the homework on time. Also, the fact that we can comment what our colleagues posted online leads us to a better understanding of the topics, of the different points of view, and of course, of the people. The fact that we meet 4 times a year, for a few days, represents a joy for each one of us. We would like to be longer with our professors, but our time is limited.

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