For the past 2 years, I have been a part of a Doctorate of Ministry cohort at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. One of the main goals of developing a cohort is to foster a community of people who develop meaningful relationships while working on their degrees. I can say that this goal has been a success in my eyes when it comes to our cohort. As much as I have learned from the academic part of our program, I have learned much more from the people I have shared this experience with over the past couple years. They are a great group of godly people whom I greatly admire and appreciate.
The most recent term of our program has been focused on the topic of advocacy. Especially since this will be the last term that I will be able to study with most of these people, I wanted to use this blog to advocate, in some small way, for these fine people. Paul Metzger (inspiring photo below) is our cohort leader and professor for our classes. He is a very intelligent man who passionately teaches from his heart. He has a calling to build bridges within Christendom and also across faith, and he effectively shares this passion through both his teaching and his life. Jody Bormuth is a wonderful lady who teaches and mentors young ladies into Christ-likeness. She has a way of sharing deep and challenging truths in a compassionate and simple manner. I am encouraged by her heart for God and others.
James Polensky is a youth pastor who has a real passion for youth and for interacting with those of other faiths, especially Muslims. He displays a gentle spirit and empathy for people, and I have been encouraged by my talks with him. Eric Knox is a pastor in Portland. He also coaches a girls’ varsity basketball team, and he has a great ministry with young people. He has brought a lot of new insights to me about race relations and the issues affecting minorities. Mark Nicklas is a pastor in Portland who often travels overseas to support pastors and missionaries in other countries, and to help spread the Gospel of Christ. He has a heart for God and people, and he has shared many good theological and practical thoughts in our classes. Bill Myers is a pastor in Northern California who also ministers to people nearing death in hospitals and other places of care. I have been encouraged and challenged by reading his blogs, and also by hearing his explanations of challenges the church faces in general and the areas he is specifically involved in as far as ministry. (I really enjoyed my visit to his church this past summer and he was quite a gracious host.)
JP is a chaplain who works with people in very difficult circumstances. His humility and clear applications of living out the life of Christ has had a profound impact on my life. He speaks with wisdom and is willing to challenge without being accusatory or hurtful. I greatly admire his life and ministry. Chris Haughee works with children who have serious emotional and personal challenges. He advocates for them tirelessly and gives his life to them and their cause. He strives to serve Christ through difficult circumstances. Cliff Chappell is a pastor in urban Portland. He is a wise and gracious man who patiently and persistently serves his church and the people in his community. He has a great passion for seeing race relations improve and for social justice. Will Berkley is a professor in the Seattle area. He has a servant’s heart and is willing to give of himself to help others. I have been encouraged by his sincere heart.
Eric Thompson works in Reno and has been a pastor. Even though I’ve only interacted with him electronically, his heart for the church and for Christians to live out the words of Christ is palpable. I can tell his heart is genuine and big. Greg Dueker is a pastor at heart and he obviously loves to study and teach the Word of God. I have grown from hearing him speak and reading his blogs as he expounds the Scriptures. I can tell he desires to grow and have real community with other Christians. John McKendricks (besides being a Dodgers’ fan) is also a great man of integrity. He desires to see sex trafficking in his area be stopped and he advocates for them and other disadvantaged people. I admire his love for people and his real-life experiences shared during our times together in class. Serena Breining works with women in Wisconsin who have had some serious life problems. She obviously has an extremely kind and caring heart, and her desire to share the love of God with others is contagious. Her applying of theology to real life has taught me the importance of making theology practical. Finally, (Gosh, I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone!) Wilfred Kaweesa is a gentle and sincere man who pastors in Portland. His love for people and specifically the challenges people from his home country face both here and in their own country. He identifies with his people and enters into their lives as an advocate.
These men and women have all positively affected my life. I am encouraged to be a part of a cohort with them, and I’m thankful for the life-long friendships I have made. I admire them all as advocates and I pray God will bless them and encourages them greatly in such a manner as they have encouraged me!