education: high school diploma
1. What are your strengths and talents?
I have a great passion for preaching. I love spreading the word of God and love to show people what a deep relationship to the living God really means.
2. What did you want to do before you became a christian and what was your passion?
Before I decided to come to THS I wanted to do something with psychology or pedagogy. The perfect mix of the both is actually childrens psychology. It really interested me a lot and I spent a lot of time on the topic to one day be able to work in the area. Of course I also had a plan B. If I shouldn’t make it I wanted to become a social assistent or a teacher.
3. How were you influenced by your parents and your home?
My parents influence on me was pretty strong. They shared with me their russian culture and mentality. I took me a long time to notice and change certain patterns that I was stuck in. Unfortunatelty my parents didn’t really have a spiritual influence on me. My grandfather told me about God sometimes but also with a russian-orthodox background. All in all I would say that I was influenced in a rather negative way.
4. When and how did you become a christian? When did you decide to become a pastor? Was there one turning-point situation?
To make a long story short: I came to Christ because of a vision in which I saw Jesus. At this time my life wasn’t going very well.
But by meeting Jesus my life had a new meaning: Suddendly there was hope.
The decision to become a pastor was another big step but it was clear to me that is was the right thing to do. At some point I just didn’t feel like doing psychology anymore. So when God asked me whether I wanted to become a pastor I heard a loud voice in the room saying: yes! This was a completely new experience to me that I have never again experienced since then. But I think pastors have to feel very sure about their calling because there are always going to be difficult times of doubt.
5. 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?
To be honest the exact requirements of the job of a pastor weren’t always very clear to me. But I definitely think that through THS I am getting a very good insight in what it means to be a pastor. And this life is far from boring! There is always something new. No wonder, you’re working with people – and everything is about other people. And they definitely aren’t boring. Of course it can be very exhausting but when you see how people change completely and lead a new life, it’s totally worth it.After all you have Gods blessing where ever you are and he carries you through everything.
I can really feel that Gods presence is especially strong in the challenges and problems.
6. Can’t the the kingdom of God be built just as effectively by a politician or an entrepreneur?
Yes, I am sure of it! And that’s exactly how it ought to be. A chruch should be composed of all different kinds od people. It should be a place where students and teachers, the poor and the rich and the strong and the week can come together and be a family. Everyone can be active for Gods kingdom: but only if everyone is active, the body can work.
7. 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?
Not very easy. You definitely learn what your limits are and how to overcome them. As a pastor you are permanently surrounded by people. That can sometimes be difficult and you have to learn how to take quiet time. I love almost everything about my job: having community with others, praying together, looking for solutions, thinking about spiritual questions, walking along side others, teaching, preaching, worshipping, diving deep into Gods word, seeing Gods work in action aswell as always being a student myself. What I like less is being confronted with conflicts and having to experience a lot of defeats.
8. What is important to learn for a prospective pastor?
How to love people. Truly love people.
You have to be willing to cry tears of pain for others in your prayers and to invest yourself in others.
Secondly a pastor has to learn how to be socially open and a bit extrovert in order to carry out the message to peole.
9. Many pastors dreamed of the big breakthrough and church growth and were dissappointed. Some even copped out. Why is that in your opinion?
God will never dissapoint his children. I think a lot of people have their own dreams and try to walk towards their goals out of their own strength. No matter how good the goal might be it’s just a matter of time until you will be dissappointed. It is so important to listen to Gods voice and to walk towards his goal, together with him. But whether you’re really following the right path can only be found out in a deep and honest conversation with Jesus. Gods personal vision for us doesn’t have to be the conversion of the whole world or one huge mega church, but when it’s really from Gid, you will know because God will stand behind you.
10. Why did you choose the THS-academy for your education instead of one of the others theological colleges?
Of course I also looked at other theological universities and compared. To me the length or the costs weren’t that important. The “product” was much more important to me. I wanted to see what the people who had done the program were like and what they were doing.
Almost everyone who did this program started something, is active and passionate for their faith. That inspired me and gave me the security that this was the right place.
11. What have you learned the most so far? Where have you changed due to your training?
I really changed completely. I only really realized that when I looked back at my old self. Not only did I change on the outside but especially on the inside. I used to be a rather quiet person and now I am open and have the ability to question things. To sum up I would say that I have grown into the role of a leader. I am a leader. I handle situations and interaction with people differently. I ask God for help in every situation. And have therefore developed a much bigger heart for others. Preaching was also one of the things that really challenged me to come out of my comfort zone.
Above all I learned that growth always moves in little steps – but it moves. Don’t be discouraged if the whole world doesn’t change within a day. Sustainable change takes time.
12. When you imagine a typical week in 10 years – you can dream big – what would it look like?
A beautiful and bright sunrise on the upper peninsula of New Zealand. I wake up on sunday morning with my lovely wife and we have breakfast together. We talk about Gods word and pray for the day. Afterwards we wake up all of our children ( God only knows how many it might be) and drive to church. I can’t wait to have great community time with all the people there and inspire them with my sermon. After church we hang out together at the Café next to our church. We exchange our testimonials. Then we have to hurry because we’re invited to lunch at a befriended family. We have great, exotic food. Afterwards I can finally spend time with my children. We play lots of fun ball games together like Volleyball or Badminton. In the evening we have time to relax. My wife and I plan the next steps and projects of ourch church. We’re really excited. After a trip to all the nice areas of New Zealand the day is slowly ending. I continue writing my book and then we take our children to bed. My daughter tells me about her heart ache and we pray together. Afterwards my wife and I finally have some time to ourselves and so we go into our completely sound insolated worship room where we praise the lord until deep into night.
And now it’s your turn: What is your calling?