By: Jeremy Young
My name is Jeremy Young and I have served as executive pastor of City Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for almost six years. The last six years have been some of the most difficult, but unquestionably the most fruitful of my life. My wife, Tori, and I not only uprooted our lives and moved with a team to Middle Tennessee to plant City Church, but we also adopted 3 siblings who at the time were ages 4, 5, and 12. These last six years have certainly exposed a dependence on God’s grace, but the foundation to such understanding began at SEBTS.
I learned more at seminary than I even had the emotional capacity to understand. I had no paradigm for some of the things that I was taught. But what I learned from many wise men and women at Southeastern has now come home to me.
As a pastor and father, I have learned firsthand that the LORD is near to the brokenhearted (Ps 34:18). I have learned that what my wife and kids need most from me is not growing a larger church, but my humble and persevering growth as a man of God (Micah 6:8). As a pastor, I have learned that the little foxes (Dr. Akin on Song of Solomon) really do destroy marriages. So, thank you to the many who persevered in teaching a young man things he did not yet have a paradigm to understand.
For current and incoming students, I would recommend you do things opposite to how I did them. Firstly, I would recommend that you actually read your Bible and delight not in the content you gain but in the God who graciously reveals Himself within it. God wants to fill you with Himself by His Spirit and not necessarily information that will gain you acclaim in front of the people you want to impress. Second, ask your local pastor(s) of the church to which you have committed yourself how you can serve. Don’t tell him how you believe God has gifted you and that you’d like to serve in that one specific way. Ask and listen. Then commit and humbly serve. You’ll learn a lot by sweeping the floors and wiping babies’ butts. Lastly, listen. Listen to your pastor. Listen to your professors. If they’ve lived any amount of life, had a spouse, had kids, pastored a church, they WILL know more than you. Ask questions and listen. I promise that most of what you learn from wise people will not make sense, but just wait until you live life and you’ve been in the trenches with the broken. It’ll all come into focus then.