Drafted to Serve: How One Church Solved the Pastor Shortage Dilemma

Bethel Lutheran Church in Lea Park, Alberta, Canada, has two pastors who are both ILT students. Pastor Ed Parke and Pastor Kevin Nelson were drafted by their congregation to take additional training and become pastors of the church. The following is an account of both students experience of being enrolled in ILT’s Pastoral Ministry Certificate.


We interviewed Ed Parke for the newsletter first. He said ILT’s teachers are very knowledgeable and patient, library service is great (“I get things right away”), that he chose ILT because we are Lutheran and on account of our position on the Authority of Scripture (“Not dogmatic, witnessed frank and open discussions, but the Bible always ends up as the final authority”). Ed Parke sent us the following endorsement of ILT:


At the age of about 58, after several decades of Bible study and a great hunger for the scripture, I went back to school. I wasn’t sure I would be accepted. After all, I had left school at an early age to pursue my vocation. ILT welcomed me. It was there I met instructors who have the same love and passion for God’s Word as I do. Their great knowledge of and respect for the authority of God’s Word has made my classes exciting, informative, and enjoyable.


Next we spoke to Kevin Nelson, who continues his day job while studying. Kevin is just one class shy of the Pastoral Ministry Certificate. He related to us his story and we pass along the following endorsement in his own words:


My experience as a student at ILT is and has been enjoyable, challenging, and a whole bunch of other things (mostly good)! I feel that God has me where He wants me, and He has plans for me...And ILT is and has been a crucial part of it! Sound biblical teaching, hands on practical experience, and instructors who are great mentors and take a genuine interest in my progress are all part of the experience! I thank God for ILT!


Your congregation may be in a similar situation as Bethel, or you may be a potential pastor like Ed and Kevin once were, someone who is known in your congregation as having gifts for the ministry, but that was not your initial path. ILT can work for you. Go to the students section of our website (www.ilt.org/students) and look at the Graduate and the Certificate programs, think and pray about it, then call our Admissions Coordinator, Mrs. Threasa Hopkins, (605) 692-9337 or email Threasa at thopkins@ilt.org. ILT is your partner in raising up another generation of pastors!

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