The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
A Year after Re:Train
As my friend completes his year at Re:Train, I reflect on the year since I graduated, asking myself the following:
- How has God been working in and through my life as a result of what I learned in Seattle?
- How has God used the men I met to encourage and coach me?
- Why should anyone considering full-time ministry attend Re:Train?
Down with Theological Ignorance
Because I’ve seen so many worship “pastors” who were theologically ignorant, doctrinally confused, and not actually being a pastor, I was motivated by God to study. Yes, I knew God wanted me to lead music, but I also wanted to redeem and live the “pastor” part of “worship pastor.” So my wife, three kids, and I packed everything we had (selling much), left Newnan, Georgia, and went across the country to Seattle. We felt God leading us to Mars Hill, and I particularly felt that God wanted me to attend Re:Train. Because of this, I took a job, and we moved in November of 2009. We started attending Mars Hill Shoreline, and I applied for Re:Train. I was accepted and began the program in July 2010.
The year at Re:Train was worth twice the time and money.
A Welcome Type of Aneurysm
Once Re:Train started, I was immediately overwhelmed by the workload. I had not been in school for over a decade. So, working full time as a project manager, being a husband and father of three, reading four books in two weeks, and writing a 20–30 page paper in two weeks were huge tasks. Split those two weeks with 12–18 hours of lecture, repeat for the next year, and my brain was often ready to explode! But a brain exploding with pure doctrine and solid theology was my goal. Learning the content of Re:Train’s curriculum helped me achieve this goal.
In addition, Re:Train uniquely offered me a diverse group of teachers, a diverse group of students, and a one-year program that God used to alter my ministry life. Having guys like Sam Storms, Bryan Chapell, Mark Driscoll and others teach from their many years of experience in different contexts provides well-rounded insights into the complexities of ministry. These men have spent years studying theology and working that theology out in the real world. What a blessing to have these fruits poured into me!
Re:Train will strengthen your theology and make you look more like Jesus, our Savior.
Since graduating, I have returned to Newnan to take a full-time staff position at Four Corners Church where today I am one of three pastors. Immediately, I was able to put much of Pastor Mark’s teaching in particular to good use as I worked with two guys with different strengths. As a Sunday service leader, I have drawn on Dr. Chapell’s Christ-Centered Worship to build a liturgy for our church and our context. I have also benefitted from the Trinitarian theology articulated by Sam Storms; this has been a great tool for counseling, preaching, and teaching. The bottom line is that Re:Train’s streamlined approach targets practical theology. Every class I took has benefitted and applies to where I now serve.
Yet another gift is the relationships I built at Re:Train. Over the past year, I have called other worship pastors for advice, encouragement, and ideas. When I have a problem with a song or a volunteer, or just need to talk, they willingly share their time and wisdom. I hope I do the same.
All things considered, the year spent at Re:Train was worth twice the time and money spent. I am glad that God led me to this program. If you are considering it, don’t hesitate! I believe that, regardless of your ministry path, Re:Train will strengthen your theology and make you look more like Jesus, our Savior. Talk about invaluable training!
Re:Train is a master’s-level theology program that prepares men and women in ministry for the mission to which God calls them. Applications for 2013–14 ReTrain school year are now open.