Greetings, to everyone who is reading this and particularly to the members and people who are a part of ONElife Church. The content of this week’s blog will be styled somewhat differently from what we have been accustomed to thus far. This week, I (Andrew Parsons), have the opportunity to write about my personal experiences in ministry particularly as it pertains to serving here at ONElife Church. So hello! Hopefully this blog will serve as an opportunity for you to get to know me much better.
My Role at ONElife
For about the last 10 months I have been attending ONElife Church, becoming a member in November of 2015. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to serve as a Pastoral Apprentice. This has been a great privilege and blessing to me because two and a half years ago I felt the Lord’s call on my life to become a Pastor. At the time when I first met with Pastor Eric and Pastor Dan I confided in them about this calling and they have taken me “under their wing” so to speak and have been equipping me for ministry and leadership ever since.
So, what exactly is a Pastoral Apprentice, you ask? Well a year ago I didn’t know either, but thankfully now I’m able to share with you my role and experiences. As some of you might have guessed I essentially have been training and mentoring under the Pastors at ONElife. Along with this I have also been a student at Liberty University Online pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical and Theological Studies, which I just completed in July of this year. As a Pastoral Apprentice I am given many different opportunities in church ministry for the purpose of training for when the Lord and the Church would call me to the office/role of Pastor.
Those who know me have likely seen that I regularly serve on the worship team playing the drums. This is a talent that the Lord has given to me and one area where I have been able to serve. Along with that though I also have been given opportunities such as: teaching in our Kids church service, some chances to teach in our ONElife groups, ministering to and organizing events for the church youth, some chances to preach, and also being able to help in various areas of online church communications along with attending various church staff meetings. Experiences like these have greatly helped me grow personally and I’ve been blessed to be able to minister in various ways at ONElife.
What God Is Up To
I am happy and excited to share my own experiences with you not so that you will just see and rejoice in the Lord with me in my blessings, but so that you will see what the Lord is up to in His Church and His Kingdom at large as well as specifically at ONElife Church. If we look plainly at young men in our churches being raised to leadership we might just think “Oh cool, there’s a guy who is called to ministry. The world definitely needs more ministers!” This definitely may be true but I think what we really need to realize is what God is up to.
Part of our mission here at ONElife Church is to be a church that “makes disciples who make disciples” as well as a church that “plants churches that plant churches”. No, I’m not simply repeating my words for the sake of it. Rather we want to be used by God and be a part of His plan to multiply His Church. We know that churches still need to come into many of our communities. Why? Because we know that there are so many more people in our communities who need Jesus! So with this we eagerly work, and pray, and hope that the Lord would move in and through ONElife Church for the glory of His Name.
So what is something that God and the Church may partner in to advance His Kingdom? Raising up leaders! For centuries God has been at work raising up men to lead and shepherd His people. At ONElife we acknowledge this and desire to foster this growth by mentoring and discipling our young men who are called to the Pastoral ministry. Mark Dever encouraged this in his book Discipling, saying: “Pastors should be profoundly opportunistic about raising up more pastors. And the whole church should have a deep confidence that the Lord wants new leaders raised up”. I believe that this is part of what God is up to at ONElife Church and in the Church at large.
My hope is that in our realization of this we would rejoice in what God has done so far, and be confident that He is going to continue to raise up leaders. I’m overjoyed to be a part of ONElife Church and be amongst great brothers and sisters. I am also greatly appreciative of leadership who desire to raise up and grow more leaders because if not I wouldn’t be where I am today. I also hope that we all would be appreciative to belong to and serve amongst an assembly that values important principles like these. Additionally, pastors are certainly not the only ones involved in raising leaders for the purpose of advancing the Church and making disciples. As a family we are all working together to make disciples, some of which may go on to be shepherds of the Church. So let us all continue to serve together in joy, continually praying and waiting for when God will add more among us! God bless!
Contributor / Andrew Parsons
Andrew Parsons is a Pastoral Apprentice at ONElife Church in Flint, MI.