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Seminarians hear ‘view from pew’ of qualities laypeople seek in

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–The campus operations director of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offered “a view from the pew” to students preparing to serve as ministers during a March 18 chapel service. Don Hamlin encouraged ministers to share their testimonies often and motivate members to be involved in missions so that others might receive Christ as Savior.
Hamlin served as director of Highland Lakes Baptist Camp for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana prior to joining the staff of Midwestern in 1997. In addition, he has served on church staffs in Indiana and Kentucky as minister of music, youth and education. Currently, he teaches teenage boys in the Challengers program of First Baptist Church of Kearney, Mo.
In addition to motivating members through evangelism and missions, Hamlin emphasized the importance of loving people, citing 1 John 5. “The passion with which you love and obey God will determine how you love the people he has placed in your charge,” Hamlin said. “We have laypeople in secular jobs that don’t see a lot of compassion. Ministers can provide that.”
At times, love is expressed through admonishing another believer or helping them to distinguish between godly and worldly influences, he explained.
Acknowledging that a congregation often adopts the characteristics of its pastor, Hamlin encouraged students to show excitement in their ministries. When taken into the woods to explore, Hamlin said a child will run ahead, pick up sticks and turn over leaves to explore the surroundings. “But then he’ll come back, hold your hand and walk with you. You can feel the love this child has for you because you’ve taken the time to do something exciting with him.”
Similarly, ministers should go into the world of their members, exploring the surroundings and sharing God’s love, Hamlin said. “Then they’ll come back and thank you for leading them into exciting ministries.”
Hamlin told of his own childhood pastor serving as a role model with a gentle and kind spirit, an active faith, boldly following Christ. “Some of us may never know that we were mentors,” Hamlin said. “There are children who watch you daily in our churches and on this campus. In their minds they may want to be like you. Live your life daily around them so that you can evaluate whether you have lived a life that reflected God’s compassion and love.”
He also urged ministers to demonstrate their integrity by giving priority to their families.
“Don’t be afraid to say, ‘No,’ or ‘Wait,’ when the answer is ‘No’ and it can wait,” he added. “But, say, ‘Yes’ when you can advance the kingdom of God through the family and the church.”
Recalling how his son’s teammate in football savored an icy soft drink despite being chilled at the end of a game played in the rain and mud, Hamlin said the boy put his hand into the ice chest, saying, “You can’t waste a cold Pepsi!”
“Our playing field is muddy. In this world it is murky. The boundary lines are obscured, erased or moved. Sometimes the officiating stinks. But as leaders in your places of ministry, when God brings opportunities, every day, reach out and grab hold of it,” Hamlin encouraged. “Pull it back and tell your people, ‘We can’t waste this opportunity to serve God.'”

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  • Tammi Ledbetter