“Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him . . .” (Acts 16:1-3a).
Are you an earnest young man, well-spoken of by the godly people of your area? Have you a deep-down desire in your heart to pursue intensely after God, in preparation for usefulness in His church? No matter what your home background was–believing or unbelieving, and Timothy’s had a mixture–it is my personal desire to take you with me for a while, as Paul did Timothy, in order to at least prepare you for the ministry of the word, but perhaps also to utilize you in the ministry of the word here, if God should so direct, in order that Hudson could become a center of learning about God for this area. My own heart is earnest in this matter, and I sense the hand of God behind our efforts here with the Log College. Let me explain.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” says the Lord (Hosea 4:6)–for a lack of knowing God. Instead of pursuing a knowledge of God, which God Himself delights in more than sacrifices (6:6), the people in Hosea’s day were going with their flocks “to seek the LORD,” but they were not finding Him (5:6); they made sacrifices, but the LORD took no delight in them (9:13), for when they cried out to Him and wailed on their beds, they did it “for the sake of grain and new wine,” thus turning away from Him (7:14). In a word, they loved their raisin cakes more than their divine Husband, as God Himself starkly explained (3:1).
We live in a similar day, when there are many churches, but there is little knowledge of God. The people called by Christ’s name often take more delight in their pleasures, even in their dessert, than in speaking about the Savior who died for them, and in living their lives in the power of His Spirit. This statement is not made out of arrogant anger, but in the heaviness of a saddened heart. We need a revival today of the knowledge of God. We need a people today, who will say to each other:
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (6:1-3).
This revival will more than likely require godly leaders–men who know their God, and who are passionate about promoting His worship. If we trace the problem in Hosea’s day back to its source, we find God indicting the priests, saying, “Like people, like priest” (4:9). Instead of being different that the people, and promoting the knowledge of God through the exposition of His inspired Law, the priests had “rejected knowledge” and had “forgotten the law of [their] God;” therefore, God says that he would reject them from being priest before Him (4:6; cf. Malachi 2:1-9).
Do you have an earnest desire to return to the Lord, to know Him in genuine worship, and then to promote this real knowledge and acceptable worship in His church through the sound exposition of His holy word? Please consider joining us at the Log College. It is not a college in the typical sense of the word, but in the classical meaning of the word–a collegium of young men, who are intensely pursing God together in the word, in prayer, in fellowship, and in ministry. As a means of learning, it is inspired by the historical precedent of William Tennent, Sr., who as a pastor in the days just prior to the Great Awakening, trained young men for the ministry out of his own church context in a school derided as a “log college.” Derided it was, but God used several of its graduates to promote His cause mightily in the revivals that ensued. The Log College is also inspired by the historical precedents of Jesus, who singled out several young men with “Follow Me,” and of His apostle Paul, who was educating Ephesian disciples daily in the school of Tyrannus, for a space of two years, with the result that “all they which dwelt in Asia [a Roman province] heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). Solid, patient training in one city can have a regional effect.
It is my conviction that the best place to train young men for the ministry of the word is in conjunction with the local church. Moreover, it is my opinion that many men trained academically through our seminaries would best serve our Lord by taking the richness of their training to scattered pastorates across this nation and there to train new men for the ministry. It is high time we bear more fruit in America, and the Lord is allowing us this opportunity to once again fertilize His vineyard (cf. Luke 13:6-9). Will you help? Again, if you are an earnest young man, with a heart for the word and an eye on future ministry, will you consider becoming one of these young men that I will have the privilege of training in conjunction with other men and churches? Please do not misunderstand me. I am not opposed to Bible colleges or to seminaries. Personally, I have received much from such schools and still see the need for these institutions in training the trainers, in promoting research, and in sharpening our skills in the biblical languages. Not all education or training can be done within the confines of the local church. However, some things can be done better within the local church, or in institutions closely associated with a network of local churches. One such thing is the training of young men for the pastoral ministry of the word.
Perhaps you are thinking of attending a seminary. Why not take one year to pursue God with us, and then go to seminary? By God’s grace, the motivation and perspective received here will greatly enhance your experience at seminary, helping you to survive spiritually, as seminary can be a dangerous place to lose your soul in a sea of relentless academics and grades. Perhaps you are leaving seminary or leaving Bible college. Please consider the advantage of a year of pursuing God with us in the hope of receiving ordination. At its heart, this is what the Log College is all about. Degrees do not validate anyone as qualified for the ministry of the word. The Lord Jesus set up ordination as His method (cf. 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22). In the Spirit of Christ, and relying on His gifts of discernment through the eyes of many godly people, it is our aim to test young men in their knowledge of God, their genuineness in prayer, and their faithfulness and skill in service, in order to ordain only those fit for the ministry, and to recommend them for the consideration of other churches. Does this vision move your heart?
If you are moved to inquire, I invite you first to read through the handbook, which is posted on this website, and to read through the blogs posted here as well, in order to get a flavor for the kind of training you would receive; then, to devote the matter to earnest prayer, seeking counsel from those godly people who love you, as well as asking any question of me that would help. The Log College is not for every man. God provides in many different ways, and He sends His men as He will. At the Log College, we require a year of rigorous reading and active service in the church, without promising a job either while you are here nor after you leave. If the Lord is sending you here, He will provide for you. At present, we have tentative plans for one of our current members, who is also a seminary graduate, to oversee a Brother’s House as a place for young men to interact informally on what they are learning as they reside together. (This informal interaction occurred at my house this past year to great profit.) For some of you, this pursuit may lead to long-term ministry here in this area. As you get to know us, and get to know the churches that are connected with us, doors of ministry may open up–and I pray that they will for some of you–leading to fruitful service here in this area. Either way, the knowledge of God is valuable in itself. According to the New Testament, knowing God is the key for becoming like God (2 Peter 1:3-4), and knowing God is itself the essence of eternal life (John 17:3).
Will you seriously consider joining us in 2011? We hope to hear from some of you. May the Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, direct your steps to do His will. Amen.
Pastor, Open Door Bible Church, Hudson, Michigan
Co-Planter, with Tom Pryde, of the Log College Network, in consultation with Pastors John Lillie and Rob Stewart of Countryside Bible Church, Jonesville, Michigan;
Ordained June 12, 2005 at LaGrange Baptist Church, LaGrange, Kentucky;
Graduate of North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota; Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.