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Summer 2012, Vol. 9

Editorial: One Mission, Many Methods

Lois Olena

Lois Olena, D.Min. 2006 (M.A. in Jewish Studies, 1989, Gratz College)
Encounter Editor, Associate Professor of Practical Theology
and Jewish Studies and D.Min. Project Coordinator, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary

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It Takes a Village …

One thing I love about my various professional roles—serving on faculty at AGTS, working as D.Min. Project Coordinator, serving as Executive Director of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, and serving as editor of AGTS’ Encounter journal—is the opportunity to interact with a remarkable variety of individuals in various vocations. Particularly in working with doctoral students, I have the responsibility to help guide the academic journeys of lead pastors, staff pastors working with infants to seniors, personal coaches, administrators, worship leaders, church planters, leaders in family ministries, educators, missionaries in the U.S. and around the world, campus ministers, drug and alcohol rehab counselors, marketplace ministers, medical personnel, itinerant preachers, university presidents, district leaders, AG general superintendents of other countries, those in the chaplaincy—hospital, military, prison, and even rock-climbing chaplains!

Wildflowers and the Glory of God

All these are individuals are traveling in the same direction, but taking different means to get there as they walk out the vocations to which God has called them. All seek to love God and their neighbors (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27); to be a light to the world (Isa., 42:6; Matt. 5:14; Acts 13:47); and to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with their God (Mic. 6:8). But the tactical goals of their days are as varied as wildflowers. Like those flowers, however, each provides beauty, grace, and hope in the work they are doing in the earth, as each lives out his or her calling in the way God has guided.

Global Influence through Many Vocations

Gene Edward Veith, Jr. in God at Work: Your Vocation in All of Life, says the doctrine of vocation “amounts to a comprehensive doctrine of the Christian life, having to do with faith and sanctification, grace and good works. It is a key to Christian ethics. It shows how Christians can influence their culture. It transfigures ordinary, everyday life with the presence of God.” 1 Precisely that metamorphosis is what each of our writers in this year’s issue of Encounter is all about. Though their ministry methods are diverse, each in their own way work in the power of the Spirit to love God, to glorify His name in the earth, and to see the everyday lives of those around them transformed by the presence of God.

This year’s Encounter highlights the multifaceted methods utilized around the world for carrying out the call of God. It honors the lives of two individuals who carried out the mission of God in remarkable ways at home and abroad—Loren Triplett and Hobart Grazier. It shows, through Melody Palm’s inaugural address, how one can serve with integrity and compassion in bringing healing to others through psychology and counseling. Doug Lowenberg’s series examines a fresh hermeneutic through the eyes of African Pentecostals. And Mel Robeck calls lovers of Christ to move from fear to love—crossing borders and bridging gaps—through building personal relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Whether one is a missionary in Costa Rica working with pastors’ kids (Dahlager); a historian of Pentecostal women (Kowalski); a director of a megachurch leadership school writing on church-planting in twenty-first century America (Davidson), an academic dean in Bangalore, India (Cherian); or a newly-minted masters’ student working in university admissions writing about forgiveness (Gummerman), each have, in their contribution to Encounter this year, helped “serve the Church of Jesus Christ by bringing transforming theological and professional insight to bear on the practice of ministry in the Pentecostal tradition,” which is the purpose of this journal.

As AGTS progresses toward its consolidation with Evangel University and Central Bible College, each school separately and all of us together are in the midst of discussions about mission and methods. I trust that this issue of Encounter can serve as a reminder of the good that can and will come as we work together to see the mission of God carried out in the world through the various vocations to which He has called us—together.   

1 Gene Edward Veith, Jr., God at Work: Your Vocation in All of Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002), 17.

Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 1:57 PM