For the past two years I’ve held an official position at the evangelical seminary (~associate professor) in Slovakia. This has been a good arrangement as it has helped me feel more a part of the faculty and it allows for my publishing activity to contribute to the seminary’s accreditation. Financially, however, it has proved to be a challenge for us and I have decided to go back to volunteer status until we can increase our regular financial support levels.
My Ministry at the Seminary Continues Almost as Before
I want to make it clear that I will continue to teach and serve at the seminary just as I have up until now. The only difference is that my publishing will not count toward accreditation or factors that determine funding for our seminary. There are some other things I can do at the seminary that can help in those areas (watch for an upcoming post).
While I feel that publishing is an important part of my ministry for the church in Slovakia and the church in general, by not being on the payroll there is a little less pressure to do so and that means a little more freedom to engage in teaching and preaching in local churches or to serve as a kind of consultant for pastors and church planters. This has been a growing part of my ministry and I look forward to that continuing.
So is that Why I’m Switching to Volunteer Status?
No, not quite. The real reason is lack of support. My position at the seminary has been funded through our account with the mission–that is, through funds we’ve raised to support our ministry. Some of my salary has continued to come through the mission and some through the seminary (via the mission). The extra step from supporter to mission to seminary to me, has meant a slight increase in costs due to Slovak taxes, social security, health insurance, etc. Since our monthly support is, on average, less than our monthly financial need, even that slight increase in expenses has stressed our support levels. Because of that, we’ve decided to take this step to decrease our monthly financial needs until we can increase our support.
Pray for New Financial Partners
We would appreciate your prayers for new financial partners. Every time we return to the States we try to make new contacts and reach out to new potential partners. We will be back again in 2020 and need to start making those new connections even now.
You can help us discover new ministry partners in other ways as well. When I post an article about theology or about our ministry that you find interesting you can share it through social media. Even just hitting the like button helps spread the word about our ministry. Do you know someone with a heart for missions or church planting or theological education? Let them know about us. Invite us to come speak or preach at your church this summer. Every time someone learns about our ministry, whether in small or big ways, it helps increase awareness of what God is doing in Slovakia.
We’re Thankful for Our Support Team
From the very beginning of our ministry (way back in 1991), we’ve been blessed with a faithful and committed support team. We’ve always had all the support we needed to stay viable in ministry and have never had any real financial worries. Our support team even helped us finish both MDiv (2002) and PhD (2012) at TEDS debt free! Last year, when it seemed we might not have the funds to continue on the payroll at the seminary, First Evangelical Free Church in Rockford, along with a lot of our current supporters came through with all the necessary funds to extend my position at the seminary one more year.
We’re very thankful to everyone that has helped us stay in Slovakia and stay focused on our primary ministries of theological education, evangelism and church planting.