This week, Edwin Ewart, principal of Irish Baptist College, continues his story (you can catch up with part one of the interview here).
We talk about Edwin’s ministry path, with pastorates in several Baptist churches, starting with Letterkenny, in Donegal, then Belfast (Mountpottinger) and Coleraine, before his move to the Baptist College.
As principal, doesn’t see himself as pen-pushing principal (though there is admin to be done), but his greatest joy in the work is its teaching. We discuss some of the challenges faced by Bible Colleges (Edwin is part of the Association of Bible College principals), including the tension between the residential model and the in-service model of training (IBC has a couple of ministry placements – one local and one cross-cultural) as part of the course).
Along the way we discuss preaching (how long should a sermon series run?), the old pastoral chestnut of the extent to which the pastor/minister should have friends in the congregation, and how easy it is to be sure of the will of God in terms of a ministry calling – not least in the context of trying to determine when it’s time to move to a new situation.
We also talk about books: Edwin shares some of the influential books he has read and some of the things he has learned along the way.
- The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (a pastor needs ‘the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the mind of a rhinoceros’)
- On Being a Pastor (Alistair Begg and Derek Prime) – valuable for its pastoral wisdom in several practical areas
- Conviction to Lead (Albert Mohler) – includes the importance of getting clarity of vision and having a set of convictions
- The Christian Ministry (Charles Bridges) – illustrating the value of older books
- Encounter with Spurgeon (Helmut Thielicke) – summary of some of the work of Charles Spurgeon
As is becoming custom on these interviews, I gave Edwin the opportunity to talk to his 20 year old self: what advice would he give?
While he reckons he would not change anything (you can’t put an old head on young shoulders), he highlights these points:
- Immerse yourself in Scripture
- Memorise the BIble
- Read good Christian books
- Get a good circle of friends and maintain those friendships
Listen to the podcast:
For your own reflection:
- If you are involved in a preaching ministry in your church, what criteria do you use in planning the variety and length of sermon series?
- What books have most influenced you on your own leadership journey?