NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Joshua Wilson: Serving and Learning Locally
Joshua Wilson is executive coordinator on the leadership team at Steamtown Church, where he is in charge of leadership development, communication, and systems at the Scranton, PA, church.
His focus on church growth and development was fueled as he grew up in Moscow, Russia.
Now in his second year at Baptist Bible Seminary, he receives some scholarship assistance through friends of Project Jerusalem as he prepares to be a church planter.
Project Jerusalem is BBS' program to reach the Northeast with the Gospel of Christ, targeting needy urban, ethnic, and rural communities for new church plants. Project Jerusalem's strategy partners with BBS' Master of Divinity students with churches, state associations, and mission agencies to train them for church planting ministries.
He lives with his wife, Tiffany, in Scranton. They have been married two-and-a-half years.
Learn more about Project Jerusalem here.
Read other In the Spotlights here.
What is your current ministry role at Steamtown?
Over the past few months, I have been working with the team in developing the church's strategy and positioning our community to missionally reach every man, woman, and child with the gospel.
Both my wife and I have the privilege of being involved in leading house churches (our small groups), which has been a huge blessing. We have been able to shepherd people to Christ and see new believers grow in their walk and begin to take leadership in the church. We also each actively mentor a younger believer one-on-one, helping them grow and preparing them for leadership.
What opportunities has God given you to minister to needy people in Scranton?
In just the last six months we have had really neat opportunities to build relationships with some young people, see them move into relationship with Christ, and begin growing.
I have worked a lot with a young man who is recovering from a severe gaming and drug addiction. For years, he was reclusive and obsessive, shunning relationships and human contact. He became quite desperate and when his life began collapsing and he was forced into rehab. God led him to a Christian there who pointed him to Jesus. Since then, this man has connected with Steamtown and come to understand and embrace the Gospel. He is now learning to let Jesus fill his life instead of lusts which cannot satisfy. At Steamtown, he has been actively participating in a house church and has just agreed to be mentored in the last week.
What is God teaching you through your involvement in Steamtown and its leadership team?
God is teaching me so many things. I can't overemphasize the growth I have experienced as a result of working on the pastoral team. I have learned a lot about the power of delegation, what it means to build people rather than programs, and the value of constant gracious encouragement.
The strength found in being connected and working with other men who have the same passion and vision but different gifts has been amazing. In addition to these areas, gaining knowledge and experience in designing a church's DNA for discipleship, leading small groups, and casting vision has been invaluable.
How do you balance out the challenge of BBS classes, church ministry, work, and family?
Wow, it isn't easy, and I certainly haven't mastered it yet. I work hard. I budget my time. I have to cut or delegate those things which aren't priorities. I focus on learning rather than grades in my classes. I do ministry with my wife to build our relationship. I study for class in a downtown coffee shop to engage people from the community and build relationships with people from Steamtown.
Because my wife works full time and I receive tuition scholarships from Project Jerusalem, I am able to dedicate time to ministry that otherwise would be used in a secular job. Quite frankly, without Project Jerusalem, I would not be able to do much at Steamtown or I woud be forced to take several additional years to finish my degree program. My wife's willingness to work full-time and Project Jerusalem's support really makes everything possible.
To those who support Project Jerusalem's scholarship fund, thank-you so much!
Tell us about your overseas ministry experience before coming to BBS.
Growing up, I had the privilege of living and serving alongside my parents who were Baptist missionary church-planters in Moscow, Russia. This was a great experience which exposed me to cross-cultural ministry at a young age. Although I had been in a traditional church in the United States, serving in Russia made missionality and contextualization non-negotiable.
Growing up in Moscow allowed me to see how hopeless and dark a place can really be. The lack of a gospel witness really troubled me. My parent's sacrifice and pouring out of their lives out into people, taught me the gospel was precious above everything. As I saw lives transformed by the gospel, I realized that church-planting was the greatest thing I could ever to with my life. I came to BBS because of the opportunity to gain a high quality education in church planting and at the same time applying that training in a Project Jerusalem plant.
What future ministry are you anticipating once you graduate?
Once I finish at BBS, I believe God is calling me to be a lead church planter and start another church in a needy setting. I am super-passionate about urban church planting, unreached people groups, and quality education.
I hope to start planting here in the United States, but long-term, once I have gained a bit more experience, I would like to take these skills internationally and help in planting churches in unreached areas. I plan to not only put this experience to use personally, but take what I have learned and train national planters to reach their own people groups overseas.
How is your training with Project Jerusalem helping to equip you for future ministry? Literally in every way. I am doing what God has called me to and learning in a significant but subordinate role. God is growing me in ability, knowledge, maturity, and wisdom through my experience at Steamtown. I can't state strongly enough what a privilege it is to do ministry at Steamtown through Project Jerusalem.
Learn more about Project Jerusalem here.
The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit www.bbc.edu/yourstory.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills. To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.
Posted on: 2/25/2010 3:43:19 PM
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