Just call us the professors, Rog and Jamie.
On Thursday and Friday at the Central church here in Santiago, Jamie and I got to pretend to be experts as we spoke to Dominican Pastors on the wide-ranging subject of ministry. Jamie taught on youth ministry Thursday morn (while I went to La Mosca with my fam). I taught them on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday (while Jamie ministered with the Knowltons). I think we would both agree – it was very rewarding. I’ll give you my account:
First there was my translator Moises (Moses in the Spanish Bible). What a delightful guy – ready and raring to serve the Lord. He spoke fluent English because he had spent 30 years of his life in New Jersey, his parents having emigrated to the U.S. when he was 5. Though he had his green card, through a series of circumstances, he was deported and sent to the Dominican Republic. Imagine all of your life and memories in the U.S. and then being sent to a country like the D.R. at age 35. But God is good: Moises came to Christ and began serving the Lord through G.O. Ministries.
Teaching through a translator takes some getting used to, and it helps to have an expert like Moises. Once he even finished my sentence. I said half of what I wanted to get out, and I could tell by his inflection that he said what I said and what I was going to say.
I turned to him, “Did you just finish my thought?”
“Yeah…I knew what you were going to say.”
Maybe you should call me predictable Professor Rog.
It was a great class and the guys were eager to learn. We covered preaching and shepherding. We talked about the pastor’s most important responsibility: staying close to the Lord personally in the Word and prayer (“Abide in me and bear much fruit…apart from Me you can do NOTHING”). We talked about all the toughies: ministering to the divorced, sexual sin, etc. It’s amazing how similar ministry in the Dominican is to ministry in Wisconsin. People are just people.
Unlike the others, one guy would stand up every time he wanted to ask a question. He would always start very seriously, but as he would be finishing his query, the guys around the room would start laughing. Of course, I would be scratching my head until Moises could translate his little comedy shtick – a regular pastoral Jay Leno. I started calling him the comedian.
More than anything though, I think the men most appreciated the part of my class that was new from the last time I had taught in Belarus. I spoke with them about how the gospel was not just for non-Christians, but for Christians also. I showed them how Paul was eager to preach the gospel to the Christians in Rome (Romans 1). I told them Paul urged Titus to preach the gospel to his church in Crete, so that his congregation would devote themselves to good works (Titus 3). Oh, how we as Christians need to be daily reminded of the love of Christ displayed at Calvary for us, so that we will be moved afresh by Christ’s love every day, and devote ourselves anew to serving Him.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV)