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My Seminary Paper

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Had to write a 2-page paper for my admission to seminary, thought maybe someone out there would like to read it.

The Pilgrimage of Joshua Griffin

Growing up in a pastor’s home, it’s a wonder I made it out alive.

You know: the glass house, the fishbowl, bubble, ant under the magnifying glass – you’ve heard the horror stories of “PK’s,” right? Well, I made it - and surprisingly enough, I still love Jesus.

My dad modeled what it was like to be an authentic Christian for as long as I can remember. He’s a man of integrity and character – still vulnerable and authentic, but strong and caring. And he loves Jesus more than any man I know.

My mom – well, the recurring memory of my childhood can be summed up in two things – 1) singing grace over a huge Sunday feast, and 2) seeing her read her Bible every morning when I woke up. That red pen she always used might as well have been writing directly on my memory bank; because it’s something I’ll surely never forget. She is deeply loving and a gifted servant, a woman who passionately loves her children and her Jesus.

So it’s no wonder that, despite being a pastor’s kid, I turned out OK.

Of course, if you ask my wife of 11 years if I turned out OK, she might tell you another thing altogether. But that’s a whole ‘nother paper.

Born into a Christian home, I learned about Jesus at an early age. In fact, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t learning about Jesus. It was at the age of 5 I accepted Christ to be my Savior and was baptized a short time later. I was baptized in a lake, the same day as my brother. It was pretty uneventful, unlike my sister’s baptism which was in a snake-infested pond. The best part of the day was the guys standing out in the water agitating it with sticks to keep them away! My dad always believed in immersion, but that was a day that my sister almost had him convinced sprinkling was the way to go!

I later attended Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin – a small fundamental school outside Madison, Wisconsin. It was there that I grew in my faith, not because of the stringent rules or rampant legalism, but because of the intense God-love of a select few of the faculty and staff. The football coach shaped me in ways I didn’t think I could handle – he was a compassionate bear of a man who followed Jesus. I strive to do the same in his footsteps. The Dean of Men who dared to question my intention to be a businessman and suggested the possibility that God may be calling me to work with youth. God used that man and 11 years later, I still walk in that calling. And I learned that people living God’s Word out in their lives often time spoke to me as loudly as reading the Scriptures personally. As I walk with God today I find balance between the two methods of deepening my faith.

So I became a youth pastor – and was in my first church for almost 8 years, an eternity by youth pastor standards. Being in the same place for that long, you get to see things and have to stick out the ugliness of your calling. The honeymoon was long over and I got to see the church up close. And it wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t pretty either, making every mistake and taking my eyes of Christ as much as the others in the pew. Everything in my life was tested to the edge – this was probably the most
intense period of spiritual growth in my life. God began the painful
process of teaching me how to become the man of God he wanted me to be.

Then a few years ago we moved to Saddleback Church, where I’m now in my 4th year of service. My primary role is to assist other youth workers that come to the church for training, encouragement and assistance. I also help lead our building campaign communication team as we raise the Student Zone. It’s been a great faith adventure so far and I’m excited to see this step of seminary as another in my spiritual pilgrimage that started years ago.

I guess my prayer is that someday I’ll be half the father my dad was, and that I can shape young men and women to follow Jesus like people did for me. My goal is to walk with God daily, looking for principles in His Word and following models of people living it out.

Please let me into seminary.


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:46 PM |

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At 7/30/2007, Blogger phil said...

good stuff man...especially strong ending!

At 7/30/2007, Blogger Nick said...

Great! I really enjoyed reading about your life, and I love the plea at the end.

A question if you don't mind...
What is driving you to jump into siminary at this stage of your life?

At 7/30/2007, Blogger Joshua Griffin said...

Paper is certainly overrated, but:

1) Tuition is paid for by the church.

2) Continuing education is a value the church and I share.

3) I've always felt that a degree is important, and a business degree says a lot about my skills, but not a lot about my heart. I hope that this rounds me out a little better in the big picture.

4) Now that I'm 12 years into youth ministry, I think it'll be fun to hear what professors think ministry looks like.

Here's another reality - everyone that I look up to in ministry, well not everyone but MANY, especially the old school ones, man this is a big run on sentence - they have seminary degrees.


At 7/30/2007, Blogger timlem said...

I think the last line is my favorite!

At 8/07/2007, Anonymous Keri said...

Hi! I'm in the process of listening to all of the SYM podcasts (I'm on #26) and came over to check out your blog. I had to comment on your paper. I almost skipped over it because I envisioned a "school" paper and didn't think it would be interesting. I was wrong. It was very creative and definitely interesting. You're a great writer. Love the line at the end...I'm sure they'll say yes! Thanks for sharing.

Keri in Greenville, SC

At 8/07/2007, Blogger Joshua Griffin said...

Thanks! I sure hope they do ...



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