The ATS Pastoral Theology program finished the 9th module ”The Pastor and his Life”. On November 15-17 2012, in Vulcan, the students were carefully directed by Dr. Andy Seidel, assisted by Mihai Dumitrascu. Before this, for three months, the students used the e-learning platform, interacting among themselves and with the instructor, over the course materials.
This module was aimed at developing the necessary skills for the holistic spiritual growth of a pastor. The pastoral ministry is one full of stress, so the interior balance in the life of a minister is decisive in fulfilling the ministry.
The goals of this module were:
– understanding the priority of the relationship with God, seen through the lens of personal calling, and the impact the ministry has over the spiritual life of the Christian minister
– developing those skills that will help the minister correctly relate to his life, making him aware of the effect his own ministry has on his family
-developing healthy relationships with those around.
Here are a few insights from the participants:
The Pastor and his Life” module was a welcomed challenge for making order in my inner being. The discussions with colleagues and, also, the guidance of the facilitators led us to make new decisions about personal and ministry discipline, decisions that aim toward living the life of an individual called by God, not energized by other interests.
The experiences lived at an ATS module have the power to refresh the vision and calling given to me by God in a profound way. The last one, in special, brought a new and different perspective about organizing my personal life. I understood more than ever that we are called to live life at the highest level of beauty and holiness. The organizing of our inner universe this is what the module was all about) determines the quality of our ministry. The fruitful life is the result of the fact that the minister chose to say and do everything in relation to the will of God.
This was one of the most special modules for me. I think we became more open to one another and, most important, we developed an environment among ourselves that is open to vulnerability. I am convinced that both the module topic and the way it was led by our professors (who are great people, with a lot of commitment and sacrificial power), contributed to the building of this environment. We all felt that on the Gospel field we are all exposed, attacked, and hurt, and that we all need encouragement and mutual support. The life of a leader, burdened by the responsibilities we have due to the nature of our job, is a target for the spiritual enemies. Our professors have shown us that it is possible to be victorious, serve and get up anytime we fall. I want to thank them and I will continue to be very grateful for what they have taught us and for what we experienced from them and through them.
Generally speaking, in the context of ministry we are more tempted to tell others how to live their faith life. “The Pastor and His Life” module challenged us personally, as ministers, to stop and bring order to our interior universe. Not only on the surface, but with rigor and in every domain of our lives. We may like it or not, people are looking at us and try to see if we live what we preach. Paul’s words to the younger Timothy are valid today: “Now you followed my teaching, my conduct…” 2 Tim.3:10. There has to be perfect synchronizing and interdependence between our teaching and our behavior. This means character. What a responsibility! Therefore, this module helped me personally analyze my inner being and change what needed to be changed. This is a life-long struggle!
Presently the ATS students, using the e-learning platform, are studying the 10th module – “Evangelizing and Church Planting”. This module will be finished with a seminar meeting with Adrian Totan and Mihai Dumitrascu on March 21-23.