February 25, 2009

For those who haven't heard...

Hey everyone!

By now, many of you have heard the news. I am moving on to the next stage of my ministry journey. As of April 30th I will no longer be Good Shephrd UMC's Pastor of Discipleship. I will be taking the next year or so to begin preparing for a possible Ph.D program. My heart, as most of you know, is in teaching and studying Scripture and in turn using that to equip the Church in the area of theological and Biblical literacy and depth. In order to follow that passion fully, I'm going to have to take a season to prepare rigorously for wherever God is calling me next. Most Ph.D programs in Biblical studies require, for example, a level of proficency in the Biblical languages that I have been unable to maintain since finishing my M.Div at Gordon-Conwell.

In addition to preparing for a possible Doctoral route, there are a handful of projects that I would like to begin working on that will be the culmination of so much of what I've taught these past 5 years at GS. I plan on adapting much of what I've used to teach "Bible for the Rest of Us" into a book on how to interpret the Bible that aims for a broad audience with little-to-no prior Bible study experience. Much of the coming year will be spent, no doubt, in preparing the manuscript and trying to find a publisher who might be interested in such a project (*ahem* if anyone has any inroads here feel free to hook me up!).

Lastly, I hope to be able to continue teaching classes as needed not only at GS and Passage, but also at other churches in the Charlotte area where there is a strong desire and need for deeper Biblical study among God's people.

I just wanted to take this opportunity that express my sincere gratitude to my fellow staff and leaders in the congregation of GS for all you've meant to me. It's been a pleasure and an honor working alongside such dedicated leaders who share a hunger for God's Word. Moving forward from here, I'm truly excited to see what God is going to do through the classes and groups ministries at GS. I know that whoever comes along after me will be just the right person to take things to a whole new level that we can't even imagine at the moment! I'm glad that the church has asked me to finish out this semester as well. This gives me a chance to not only aid in the transition and prepare resources for future use once I'm gone, but it also gives me a chance to meet with many of you one-on-one and let you know how much you mean to this church through your ministry.

After taking some time over the summer to travel a bit and visit other churches in Charlotte that I've always wanted to visit, I plan on continuing to call GS my church home. So while you won't see me in the office anymore, you may see me at worship or in a class periodically. :)

I also want to let everyone know that GSUMC WILL be continuing Pathfinder AND Passage. These programs have been a fantastic success and I'm proud to be leaving in place two amazing ways for the people of GS to walk together in Discipleship. Passage and Pathfinder remain vital aspects of GSUMC's overall vision and strategy.

If any of you would like to get together and talk about this, or anything for that matter, I would love to meet with you or take you out for lunch or coffee. Just shoot me an email or grab me next time you see me and we'll set it up.

Still walking together…


1 comment:

Eric Orozco said...

Hey JM,

I highly recommend language study in Israel, if you can manage. I recommend this program run by my former prof:


He teaches using a berlitz-like method emphasizing dialogue and internalization of the language. It will give you a footing to really advance in language studies.

JM's Audio Teaching Archive

Check out sermon.net/jmsmith for some of my messages and teaching sessions:

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