Pardekooper: An Origin Story

 

In a moment my whole perspective on my future had changed. Sitting in my chapel seat hearing God’s voice tell me what my future would look like was an incredibly humbling experience, and it also scared me to death.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 1.51.59 PMAt 19 years old I was new to Christianity and new to the idea of full-time ministry. Only a few months before I was headed down the path of becoming a history teacher and a football coach, so when God told me to go to Bible college my world was rocked. But that was nothing compared to what occurred my first week of school sitting in freshman chapel.

Our class sponsor, Dr. Ron Bradley, was charging us to stay the course. He shared the statistics on the number of people who leave the ministry for various reason within their first ten years.

I remember looking around the chapel auditorium at all the freshman who were filled with excitement, high expectations, and full of faith to change the world, and I asked myself who would make it past 10 years. Who would end up broken, hurting, and disillusioned, not just with the ministry, but with Christianity and God as well?

CBC Chapel

That’s when it happened. Sitting in my chapel seat, I clearly heard God speak to me that my ministry would go beyond being a youth pastor but would involve helping pastors and ministry leaders thrive in the calling God had given them. He said that I would give my life to the growth and development of ministers to ensure they live healthy ministry lives for themselves, their families, and their faith communities.

As a consultant, I am often asked how one goes about becoming a consultant. Usually, I walk them through a simple process I believe contains the necessary steps to becoming a consultant. I also caution them, though, that the path to be a consultant is as varied as the number of consultants. For me, my path started sitting in that chapel seat preparing to be a lifelong youth pastor.

Over my 20 years of ministry, God has confirmed to me many time this calling. He has allowed me to work alongside some amazing ministry leaders where I have learned valuable lessons. I have been refined by some major mistakes and humbled by some dumb ones. I have made decisions that I believed were absolutely right, only to find they were absolutely wrong.

I have been fortunate enough to pursue degrees in leadership, ministry, and foresight that have bolstered my toolbox that I get to open up and share with others. I have watched as ministry students have rejoiced in the confirmation of their calling while celebrating with others who felt confirmation their calling was in another vocation.

Most of all, I have served in some wonderful ministry positions. I have been privileged to serve in everything from a church plant trying to get off the ground to churches in the thousands. I have watched young people at camp get their hearts set on fire by God, I have witnessed hardened men who wanted nothing to do with Jesus break down weeping and enter into a relationship with Him.

adult-alone-anxious-568027I have walked through tragedies of suicide, horrific accidents, divorce, and moral failures that have ripped families apart. But, I have also seen restoration and healing occur in situations that looked lost without faith in Jesus.

Over the last couple of years, God has opened doors for me to help a growing number of ministry leaders find solutions for their faith communities, grow in their own faith and leadership, build their team members, and provide a healthier balance of ministry and family.

Along the way, I have realized God really is faithful and just and that he fulfills his promises to complete the works he starts. In me, he has been fulfilling the calling he placed on my life when I was a 19-year old kid sitting in chapel during my first week of bible college. Back then my fear was that I wasn’t good enough to offer anything of value to such talented people, but what I have learned is that I don’t have to be good enough. All I have to do is offer what God has given me: a toolbox full of solutions, a heart for the health and well-being of ministry leaders and their success, and a desire to advance the Kingdom of God.

??????????????There is a world in need of ministry leaders who are equipped, empowered, and encouraged to make a difference in their communities. I am privileged to serve this wonderful group of servant leaders who are faithful to their people, their Lord, and their communities.  For this, I am thankful.

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