PUTTING KNOWLEDGE TO WORK
Hunter Brown with flowered cross at Potosi Baptist Church. Photo courtesy Hardin-Simmons University
By GRACE MITCHELL
While Logsdon students take classes in preparation for ministry, many students are already putting their knowledge into practice in ministry positions.
Hunter Brown has been serving as the youth minister of Potosi Baptist Church for almost two years. During that time, he has been mentored by professors and leaders in the church, but he has also learned to mentor the next generation. Brown received his undergraduate degree in ministry from Hardin-Simmons in 2016 and will graduate with his master of divinity in December. He says most of what he learned about ministry, he learned from Mike Auten, associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Clyde.
“I had a great mentor who taught me things about engaging with people,” he said. “Now I’m breaking away from having mentor/mentee relationships into a place where I’m by myself.”
Brown is not afraid to try new things. When Rodney Watson, pastor of Lytle South Baptist Church, suggested a collaborative Disciple Now, Brown agreed wholeheartedly. Soon, the two churches grew to include six in the area.
“We had the plan of making it an associational-based DNow,” he said. “We got funding from the BGCT, and they said we’re the only association in the state of Texas who has done anything like this.”
Brown has introduced his congregation to new experiences like the blooming of the cross.
“My church had never seen it before, and we had a large amount of people say how unique and cool they found it.”
He also created an experience similar to the stations of the cross. Church members went through three rooms including the Lord’s Supper, three crosses to reflect on the crucifixion, and a video about the resurrection.
When Potosi Baptist Church’s pastor left earlier this year, Brown gained more responsibilities. He has been preaching some weeks and helping with administrative duties. With all the responsibilities of school and ministry, Brown remains optimistic.
“It’s been great with me,” he said. “My mentor taught me that sometimes ministry means doing kids’ stuff on Wednesdays, helping out with the youth, taking the van to get inspected, knowing when to clean up and be the janitor and when to participate in worship. I’m used to needing to be in different roles.”
While Brown knows there are many passages and concepts that the church can argue about, he sees some things as straightforward.
“Jesus’ love is really simple. It’s very clear in the Bible: love other people.”
Brown shows this love to his students by spending time with them outside of Bible study.
“One of the most enjoyable things is hanging out with students, when we get to go places and spend time together. It’s really easy to get down in ministry, and it’s really hard to remember the good parts of church. When we do things at my church that are fellowship-based, and they shine through, that’s really helpful to me.”
In addition to his church mentor, Brown has found his professors at Logsdon to be especially uplifting. “
All of them care about you, and they ask more about your life than just the academic part. They’re really helpful with the ministry part too,” he said. “There have been several instances where I’ve felt defeated with church, and going to those different mentors and asking their advice is really helpful.”
Brown has also seen much connection between his classes and his ministry.
“The Bible courses are helpful for me to understand how we read and interpret scripture in new ways,” he said. “There are definitely things that I want my congregation to learn. In small-town West Texas, even though lots of people say they are Christians, there’s not much knowledge about the Bible. Logsdon has helped me prepare to teach these things.”
He also says his theology classes have been helpful for his spiritual formation.
“Christian philosophy was really great in helping me frame out what I think about God and to help me realize that I don’t have all the answers,” he said.
Brown said his ethics courses have helped him engage with his context and in the wider context of the church. He also said his general ministry classes encourage him to keep pursuing his calling.
“Church history has helped me see how we’ve moved from one point to another in Christianity,” he said. “There are some things that we need to focus on, and there are some things that we need to move on from and learn from.”
After graduation, Brown hopes to find a position in a church in Austin or Dallas as a children’s, youth, or associate pastor.