Name: Edem Nubukpo
marital status: In a relationship
education: vocational diploma
What are your talents and strengths?
I love being there for others. Through the good and the bad times. That includes encouraging, motivating, challenging and building up people.
Which vocation where you pursuing before you became a christian? What was your passion?
I never had a specific dream job but my goal was to make a lot of money. Money was always very important to me. After my first internship in a social job my heart was set on fire for other people and the work with them. Nonetheless, I started my studies of economics after my graduation. My studies didn’t work out at all which I thank God for now because I found that my place isn’t in an office but beside other people. Today my passion for people is bigger then ever.
How were you affected by your home and your parents?
I love and respect my parents very much. Unfortunately it wasn’t always like that because we had very different opinions on many things and thus we thought a lot. After I became a christian everything changed. I got to know my parents all over again and learned to love and respect them. Since then my parents have been giving me so much, I’ve learned so much from them and still do. What it means to be honest to one another, to be there for each other, to work hard for ones success and not to give up. I thank God a lot for my parents because they support me in every way they can.
When and how did you become a Christian? How did you decide to become a pastor? Did a certain situation change your mind?
It’s a long story but I’ll try and keep it is as short as possible. (laughs) I grew up catholic and the God I knew was strict and boring. Lastly I distanced myself from the God of the Bible. Although I always had the feeling that there must be a higher power that is watching me. I dealt with every religion and came to the conclusion that the Islam was the true religion. Until I met my (today) best friend in school again. He was Muslim himself but had chosen to give up Islam and follow Jesus. I was shocked since I wanted to become a Muslim myself and couldn’t understand how anyone could want to follow such a boring and strict God. I hence started wrestling with God for about one and a half years because I didn’t want to accept it. Especially the idea that God himself became human to die for our sins was so absurd if not even ridiculous to me that I just didn’t want to accept it. My friend and I had discussions about our faith. In the end Gods love touched me more and more until I didn’t want to leave his presence anymore. I went to a church for the first time and was touched by the Holy Spirit! It was something totally new for me and the best experience ever! I saw my youth pastor for the first time when he was preaching about Gods love. After my conversion I felt the strong urge to go into fulltime service. At first I thought it was me who had the idea but now I know it was God who layed these thoughts in my heart. These thoughts were confirmed when several people, who didn’t know me, prophesied to me that I should go into fulltime service.Today I am studying theology and preparing to go into fulltime service and it was the best decision ever!
Aren’t you afraid that you’ll lead a boring and exhausting life as a pastor? Sacrifices, high moral standards, annoying people all the time or even unemployment?
No! Not at all! I might sound boisterous or even naive but I think the job of a pastor can be a very exciting and thrilling affair. I think it depends upon us how we choose to perceive and live this calling. Often people are the ones that give us this perception but it is Jesus we’re serving and he is the complete opposite of boring and exhausting.
However the life of a pastor can become very difficult at times but we always have the possibilty to stay authentic and bring our weaknesses before God, as that is where he is strongest.
Can’t the the kingdom of God be built just as effectively by a politician or an entrepreneur?
Sure, Jesus doesn’t care who you are or what you do, each and everyone of us has individual gifts and God can use you wherever you are. Doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, pastor, engineer, house keeper, a construction worker or a student. No matter where you are you can effectively create Gods kingdom. Not everyone needs to become a pastor to do so. My job as a pastor is to motivate these people to invest in Gods kingdom. The question isn’t whether you can but whether you want to!
At the THS academy you’re getting an insight into the real day of a pastor – what does that look like? What do you like especially and what do you dislike?
What I love about being a pastor is that you have the possibilty to preach nonstop for 30 minutes and everybody has to listen to you and can’t interrupt. (laughing) Just kidding, I like that a pastor takes care of his church and always wants to help his church move on. What I don’t really like is all the paperwork that needs to be done.
What is important to learn for a prospective pastor?
A prospective pastor needs to learn how to enthuse and lead people. A prospective pastor has to learn how to multiply his church and turn people into Jesus followers who can go out and build Gods kingdom.
Many pastors dreamed of the big breakthrough and church growth and were dissappointed. Some even copped out. Why is that in your opinion?
I think all of it depends upon us leaders. We leaders tend to make the mistake of focusing on what we want instead of what God wants. Things like that happen, that’s just how it is, the important thing is that we realize that mistakes were made and that we ask ourselves how to properly deal with it. Another important aspect is what our faith and relationship to God looks like? When we consider all of these aspects then I believe that growth will happen! God is a God of growth and he wants everyone to be rescued.
Why did you choose the THS-academy for your education instead of one of the others theological colleges?
What I appreciate about THS is the practical experience. As we get to serve in the church three days a week we have the possibilty to practically implement what we learned in class. We learn what current churches look like or moreover what they should look like. I also find the training staff very impressive as they aren’t just any university professors but real pastors that can share their real life experiences with us. Plus we get introduced to a very broad spectrum of theology.
What have you learned the most so far? Where have you changed due to your training?
In my first year I had the opportunity to get many impressions of the church life aswell as taking over tasks with a lot of responsibility. I’ve also been able to enjoy all the different theologies, it’s just amazing! I think I’ve changed a lot in the field of responsibilty. I’ve learned to take over the full responsibilty for my decisions and actions and therefore the importance of making the right decisions. As I mentioned I’m in the first year and have already learned a lot, I’m looking forward to the next two years!
. When you imagine a typical week in 10 years – you can dream big – what would it look like?
I see myself in my home church serving other people. But I also see teams from my church going out to evangelize other people. Of course I have my wife and my 4 children with me. (laughs) I’m very open and excited about what God has for me in ten 10 years. That is of course wishful thinking but sometimes God has very different and much better plans for us. Sometimes God can be a radical dream destroyer but sometimes something good has to be destroyed for something even better. Be blessed!
And now it’s your turn:
What is your calling from God?