“Oceans” by Hillsong
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
This was the song that really spoke true to the 2014- 2015 Action Teamers and it spoke again to me in this new area of my Christian life as I officially commenced this journey into training for full time ministry. Upon returning from the United Kingdom I was interviewed by the Jamaica Baptist Union Ministerial Training Committee who from my understanding of it would discern if the call to full time pastoral ministry was the will of God. They would also take into account information about my call to faith, my own call to ministry experience, my pastors recommendation and comments and various other documents. The interview I thought would determine if I would enter the United Theological College. The United Theological College is a multi-denominational College where most Baptist pastors are trained from the Caribbean region. I met with the committee along with another potential student for the College. Interviews are usually held earlier in the year but because I was away I would have missed that interview time hence they did my interview separate from the other potential students. I was interviewed with a panel consisting of about 12 ministers. I was nervous at first but I trusted that the Lord’s will would be done. We got called back in and our nerves were finally settled as we heard their decision; we were informed that we would be a part of the Pre Collegiate program. The Ministerial training entails one year in pre colligate, after the year we will appear before the committee again to be accessed based upon our activities in the year and what God has said to us and our supervisor about moving forward. If all parties see it as the will of God I will have four years study and two years’ probation in all its’ seven years. In the pre colligate program we would be under the supervision of the representative for Baptist students at the college Rev. Dr. Glenroy Lalor for the year. The program consisted of church placement; serving under a senor minster for a year, we would also go to the capital Kingston at least two weekends out of each month for classes and return home on the Saturday afternoon for Church Sunday while still working for those who worked; so the aim was to manage our time wisely. We are assessed in various areas of our studies. The main focus I believe for this year is reflection on the call that God has on my life.
At Burchell Baptist Church
In the program there are six of us, all from various parts of the country but majority of us are from the Western part of Jamaica. I live in Montego Bay and was placed at Burchell Baptist Church Circuit. In this Circuit there are three Churches the Burchell Memorial, Tower Hill and Spot Valley Baptist with Rev. Dr. Davewin Thomas as the pastor. I have been with Rev. Thomas for about two months now and I can say I have experienced so many wonderful things in God serving in all three Churches. I was introduced to the church the 4th of October 2015 and they have embraced me ever since as bro. Yapp although I knew a few of them before but it is a large church with 500 – 600 members so I still have a lot of names to learn. In the program we get to see behind the scenes of a pastor’s work from the administrative aspects, home visits for sick and homebound members, weddings, funerals, devotions at schools, church meetings, counselling, preaching, Bible studies, etc. I have been able to shadow Rev. Thomas in most of these areas and looking forward to what else I will learn about God and the relationships waiting to be built with people. The life of a pastor is rich not with earthly riches but riches in joy and satisfaction of serving God and His people while leading the church as well. This is one of many lessons I have learnt from my time so far but this one is my favourite as I find it to ring true day by day. Now we are moving into Christmas season where there are many weddings so it will be busy but looking forward to it as I have only been to one wedding in Jamaica so far. I have been serving in some way for all three Churches in the Circuit I’ve noticed that each church has its own culture but all three filled with life and passion for God. I get to visit my home Church at least once a month. I’ve also noticed that the pre collegiate program is structured to balance the practical aspects of ministry along with the theory.
United Theological College
In terms of theory, when we go to classes on Fridays we meet our seniors, people studying theology from other denominations (There are seven denominations at the College) and other persons who rent rooms from the College. The last time we went it was their annual Caribbean Cultural night where different aspects of the Caribbean cultures were highlighted. It was great to be a part of the festivities as it gives us a prelude as to what to expect from campus life, hard work but fun in the Lord. In classes we are studying about the Old Testament, Baptist history which is rich and another class known as Spiritual formation which is about us being shaped by God. I have enjoyed all three because they feed me both mentally and spiritually. Classes are grounded in prayer and our supervisor and lecturers are always so mindful that classes are intriguing but it’s a three and a half hour trip back home so we rap up in the afternoon. In our classes we have reading assignments from various denominational backgrounds. Our supervisor chose a book for each of us to do a presentation on, I was given a biography about Mother Teresa which has shed a lot of light on her and her work but brought with it a new range of questions. I will present on another book which speaks about devotion to God, so that will definitely be a prayer point. There will be various assignments as time progresses. So far I have been enjoying the work both theory and practical while still having a mode of reflection of God’s call on my life. I know in this year there will be difficulties and triumphs but I remember it’s all a part of the journey.
I thank you for all your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for not only me but the other students as well, pray that I stay diligent in my studies, continued strength and guidance as I serve in Burchell Baptist, that I will be focused on God. I am also praying and thanking God for the members of Perry Rise Baptist Church, may He continue to Bless you.