Resources on Tips for RTS Students

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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Tips for RTS Students: Maintain Your Joy in Ministry

By Charlie Wingard · October 10, 2018 · 0 Comments
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I want each of you to maintain your joy in ministry. Let joy be a hallmark of your service to Christ’s church, and let your joy winsomely commend the faith to unbelievers. At times, maintaining your joy will be difficult. Heartache, setbacks, and discouragement will find a place in your story, as they do in every minister’s. There are days and seasons when the burden of ministering to broken lives overwhelms. Sometimes new Christians appear to be off to a good start and suddenly fall away – and your pain will be acute. Other stumble and fall, and the work of restoration is intense, and even in the best of circumstances, many tears are shed. Frequently you will face decisions…

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Tips for RTS Students: How Valuable Is a Theological Education?

By Charlie Wingard · August 31, 2018 · 0 Comments
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How valuable is theological education? 19th century professor and pastor Samuel Miller writes: “Nothing can be plainer than that ignorance, or small and indigested knowledge is, next to the want of piety, one of the most serious defects in a candidate for the sacred office. . . . No Church, therefore, which neglects the proper education of her ministers, can be considered as faithful, either to her own most vital interests, or to the honour of her divine Head and Lord.” ____ James M. Garretson, An Able and Faithful Ministry: Samuel Miller and the Pastoral Office (Reformation Heritage Books, 2014), 78.

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Tips for RTS Students: Writing Notes and Letters

By Charlie Wingard · July 12, 2018 · 0 Comments
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My first attempt to become a candidate for ministry stalled in the early 80s. I was a member of a rural church in Middle Tennessee, and my session enthusiastically recommended me to Presbytery. We were an evangelical congregation in a theologically liberal Presbyterian denomination and that was a problem. Far from home, studying at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Presbytery informed me that my candidacy would not move forward. I was so disappointed. Soon, notes and letters began arriving from members of my congregation telling me how proud they were of me, assuring me of their prayers, and urging me to persevere. Notes and letters from caring people were God’s gift to me – just at the right moment when I…

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Tips for RTS Students: Managing Your Course Syllabi

By Charlie Wingard · July 5, 2018 · 0 Comments
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  Course syllabi in a moment. But first a word about calendars. Calendars do more than remind you about upcoming events. They are an essential part of planning and the effective use of time. At RTS, I want you to learn how to make your calendar an ally in completing your studies. A good place to begin is your course syllabi. When you access a syllabus for the first time, review it carefully. Then go to your calendar. Add each class session to your calendar. For example, last year my Communications 1 class met on these dates:  8/29, 9/5, 9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/10, 10/30-11/1, 11/28 Add all work due on the date it’s due. That includes all quizzes, tests, and…

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