Resources on Tips for RTS Students

Thoughts on Mentoring

By Charlie Wingard · May 23, 2019 · 0 Comments
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I serve as Director of Field Education at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson. Part of my work involves talking to students about their relationship with their pastoral mentors. Since 1987, I have mentored men preparing for ordination. While serving on Boston’s North Shore, I served as a mentor for many men in the Gordon-Conwell field education program. Before coming to RTS, I employed men pursuing ordination. Mentoring has been a major part of my pastoral ministry. What follows are my thoughts on what makes a good mentor. I am acutely aware of my own weaknesses as a mentor. Much of what follows I learned from my own mentors and have sought to put into practice, however imperfectly. One of the…

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Evidences of a Call to Ministry

By Charlie Wingard · April 30, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Every Christian denomination would do well to heed the prudent advice of AME  bishop Daniel Payne (1811-1893):   “Whenever a young man comes forward, and tells us that he is called to the ministry, let us examine him rigidly, according to our excellent discipline and the requisitions of God’s word. It is not enough that he tells us God has called him; let him show the evidences of his call.” Daniel A. Payne In Thabiti M. Anyabwile, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 82.

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Tips for RTS Students: Keep Your Heart Open

By Charlie Wingard · December 6, 2018 · 0 Comments
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One sure way to cripple your ministry is to speak to your congregation harshly, either in or out of the pulpit. Don’t confuse harshness with boldness. One can speak softly and gently and still be bold. To be bold, according to Merriam-Webster, is to be “fearless before danger” – a virtue when communicating biblical truth. But the voice of the bold may be calm, the words measured, and the tone devoid of the harshness that pushes people away. William Plumer reminds us that Harshness is not fidelity. There are hardly any maxims more false or mischievous than these: “There is no good done unless opposition is aroused,” [or] ’”One’s fidelity may be tested by the enmity he awakens against himself…

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Tips for RTS Students: How Much Time for Sermon Preparation?

By Charlie Wingard · November 12, 2018 · 0 Comments
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Students ask, “How much time do you spend preparing your sermons?” My answer, “As little as possible.” By that I mean, as little time as possible to prepare a sermon faithful to the text and structured for the edification of the hearers. I love preparing sermons. Commentaries, lexicons, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, and atlases are close companions throughout the week. Preparing well means praying for understanding of the text and my conformity to its teaching, and for the Lord to prepare the congregation to receive the word preached. Were time limitless, I would exhaustively research every point that fascinates me as I study the text. But time is not limitless. Although preaching is my principal duty, it is not my…

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Tips for RTS Students: A Checklist for Ministerial Burnout

By Charlie Wingard · October 23, 2018 · 1 Comment
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Burnout cripples ministers and their work. I hope the advice that follows will help you avoid it. Or, if you believe you’re burned out now, I want to offer you a path forward. Let’s begin with a definition. My definition of burnout is “physical or mental breakdown caused by overwork.” Some of us routinely overwork to the point that our physical and mental health are jeopardized. Overwork takes a frightening toll, but the way to meet the problem is rather simple: See a doctor. Work-induced exhaustion is a medical issue. The symptoms need to be treated and a medical cause (for example, sleep apnea) may be a contributing factor. Seek mature counsel and accountability. Identify someone who can help you establish and maintain…

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