Gary’s year, 2011

My ministry is teaching, and that’s how I invest most of my time. My courses require a lot of preparation, so even if I only teach eight hours a week, it’s a full-time job. Most of my students are pastors or in other ministry, and it’s exciting to see them take what we learn in the classroom and immediately apply it to their work. I’m teaching first-year Greek in Spanish for the first time, and so for four hours every Tuesday night I juggle three languages in my head as we learn about participles or nouns.

In mid-year, I took over a position which I used to have in ESEPA, Director of Graduate Studies. Our three masters degrees are highly demanding: for example, they have to have a solid background in Bible, theology and Christian ministry, plus a working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, plus an ability to read English. This new job requires a fair amount of administrative work, for example, which classes shall we offer, who will teach them and when. But the part that really excites me is that it involves working with people. Our students usually are studying to be teachers or writers in the Latin American church, and we attract people who are intellectually gifted as well as committed to the Lord and his church. My job is to guide them academically, but I also spend time advising and mentoring the thirty or so men and women.

Much of my ministry this year has involved research and writing. I’m now looking through the final version of a commentary on the Greek text of 1-2 Thessalonians for Zondervan, and getting ready to send my 1 Corinthians commentary to my new Spanish publisher, CLIE.

A verse from 1 Corinthians that has meant a lot to me is, “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor 3:7). We each have our task in the church of God, but through it all, the hero of the story is God, who works through the Spirit to make us like Christ. May God grant you that focus in the New Year.

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