Residency Log: Entry #3

There have been many things I have learned during this semester of ministry residency. So many, in fact, that exhausting all of them individually would pollute this post; a brief summary will have to do for now. You can subscribe to my newsletter for updates exclusive to my residency by either filling out that pop up form you saw upon visiting my page, or by clicking here.
I have grown in my self-awareness substantially because I experienced a heavy season of exhaustion, depletion, and even desolation at points. The vast array of circumstances leading to feeling drained put me in a position where I was forced to either complacently whither and wallow, or take a step forward by letting go of all control I harbor in scenarios both good and the bad. This has left me in a position where I abandon my freedom to secure the outcome and rely on faith alone, which I seriously struggle with. I know this is nothing new because most, if not all religious people struggle with this to some degree or another, but admonishing this reality is never easy. It takes ownership of one’s self-awareness actually being self-knowledge, admitting fault to how they cultivate their spiritual growth in private. Though this conclusion is a hard pill to swallow, it tills the soil for flourishing as God intended for humanity. The balancing act I have tried cultivating I was running on empty and came to this realization when I realized my idea of flourishing was actually a self-centered idealistic pursuit for personal achievement, which was crafted for my comfort more than it was my wellness. Since then, I am aware of what is required in the realm of self-awareness, reflection, and processing; all of which are built on a cruciformity. Here are some of the specific areas I would like to highlight:

• Poor time management is the result of prioritizing the urgent over the important
• Exposing my garbage and failure doesn’t kill my pastoral credibility when done in an appropriate fashion. On the contrary, it makes me a better leader.
• Having a morning routine is essential to my wellness and discipline
• Just because ministry often feels like a competition doesn’t mean I should enable these notions
• Boundaries are needed. They demonstrate responsibility and should never be avoided
• There is nothing pompous or arrogant about acknowledging my gifts
• It is a disservice to the church, both local and global, when I withhold the gifts God gave to me serve others with
• I can provide pastoral care with consistency and authenticity, but if I don’t prioritize my own spiritual and emotional well-being the pastoral care will always be sub-par.

These are just a few of the many points I could list regarding this first semester of residency. I look forward to the upcoming semester and will keep you in the loop with anything new.

Looking Forward…

Israel in January 2019!

One of the components of my degree program is to take a 11 day trip to Israel. The Israel study tour happens every January, and Alex and I are saving up for the 2019. The total cost for the trip is just shy of $5600, which includes everything and is due by August 1st 2018. (flight, bags, hotels, on land travel, and three meals a day).

We have started saving already, and are brainstorming ideas to raise the funds so we can pay for the trip without getting into debt. Please pray for us as we begin this process! If you or anyone you know who would consider helping us financially, we would be extremely grateful! You can help us by clicking the button here, or sharing the link with others. Anything helps!







Side note: Thank you to Ginny and Kregel Academic for sending me the lovely coffee mug birthday gift shown in the picture above. I’ve enjoyed every book of theirs I’ve read; click the link to read my review of their publication The Spirituality of Paul. If you are a blogger looking add a few book reviews to your page, you should check out the Kregel Academic Blog Review Program! They’re quick to respond with excellent literature and cool coffee mugs that illuminate my morning coffee experience. Feel free to tell them I referred you


Residency Log: Entry #2

I am nearing the end of my second month of my residency, and it has been quite the journey! One thing in particular was the recommended reading of Dangerous Calling—a book written by Paul Tripp. If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I write book reviews for Christian publishers in exchange for a free copy of the book (trying to save money on school books!). This one, however, was not among my stack to review, nor was it academically robust like my textbooks. For the first time in over a year, I read a book that wasn’t to review for a publisher or required for a class; a breath of fresh air and a nice change of pace.

What was so incredible about this book was the call to awareness the author endows upon the reader. Tripp’s approach to what it takes to be a pastor goes beyond the classroom and the study. In summary, it brings the reader to a place of being in awe of who God is, understanding the grace he gives, and how this is the fuel we need in order to lavish it upon others freely.

These two points were nostalgic and convicting, which I am committed to holding in higher regard from hear on out. Case in point, this book cuts straight to the heart of worship: Cruciformity—to take the shape of the cross. This point is detrimental for any individual regardless of vocation. I’ve always known this, but for whatever reason, reading this book was the wake-up call my heart has desperately needed.

In other (unrelated) news, here are some updates I have for you!

First, before the summer ends I will have this WordPress Blog replaced with an actual domain. I don’t have the url, but I’m assuming it will be something simple like or Either way, it will be easier to manage than what I have now. Plus, it’s use is not limited to the features and flexibility of a free wordpress blog, which could be beneficial sometime in the near future.

Secondly, I’m starting a newsletter specifically for updates regarding my residency. I know some people do not want to subscribe to the blog when they aren’t interested in my posts outside of the residency. I will still continue the Residency Log entries on here, but they’ll be less focused on updating and instead be exclusive to unique subject matter. The newsletter will only go out to those who sign up, so I can write in a more stripped down fashion seeing that subscribers are doing so voluntarily. I am hoping to send one out either monthly or bi-monthly depending on the response it gets. So, if that sounds like you, click here to subscribe to the newsletter.

Lastly, I am have been experiencing some life hurdles recently. If you are the praying type, I would greatly appreciate it if you included me in your next time of prayer. I won’t go into details, but any prayer would be beneficial.

Thank you all so much!

Residency Log: Entry #1

As of May 15th 2017 I started the ministry residency component for my Master of Divinity degree. I am very thankful for the opportunity to complete this component through my home church here in Grand Rapids, MI—Take Hold Church, as their pastoral resident. During this season I will use my blog as a platform for updating everyone as it progresses. I will be mentored by my pastor and friend, Shane Cox, as he oversees the residency. So far, he and I have developed a contract including  a job description and long-term plans/goals, which I will post as they progress.

Some of you may be wondering what a ministry residency even is. The short explanation is an internship for Graduate school. This is a time where I will be immersed in a pastoral ministry context, integrating what I have acquired from both life experience and the classroom. What motivates this integration are the values listed below that express the heartbeat of the residency:

-Spiritual Transformation
-Theological Reflection
-Missional Identity
-Intentional Community
-Contextual Vision

These values are present throughout the component and central to the experience I gain from being immersed in the field, Shane’s mentoring, and several workshops. The workshops will incorporate the values with different aspects of pastoral ministry. For this semester my focus will be on the aspects of Pastoral Counseling, Mandatory Reporting in the State of Michigan, Personal Finance and Ministry Leadership. All of which I look forward to growing in.

I am excited for this journey and look forward to what lies ahead. Thank you to those who have supported me and my calling to pastoral work. Your persistent prayer is humbling; I am honored by your friendship and selflessness.