Winter 2003 Rapport: It's All About the Heart
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by Richard Dresselhaus
40 years of pastoral ministry, I have had the privilege of working with many associate
pastors. I have reviewed resumes, conducted interviews, evaluated credentials, and made
recommendations to a church board many times over. I then had the joy of working together
with these associates in a partnership of ministry. It is out of these experiences that
I conclude: its all about the heart.
Jesus taught repeatedly that all good and evil proceed ultimately from the heart. Out
of the heart is a common theme in His message. I have been witness to the reality
of this instruction over and over. It has proven true in my life and in the lives of
those with whom I have worked.
is in part only a rediscovery of the basic biblical disciplines so powerfully
expressed in the life of Jesus and His disciples."
Of course, giftedness and aptitude are essential, but unless these qualifications proceed
from a heart that is vertically linked with Jesus and horizontally linked to men, authentic
ministry will be impossible.
It has only been recently that seminaries have included spiritual formation in their
curriculum. A corpus of writings has been identified which link this discipline to the
past in most instructive ways. Reaching back to the desert fathers (a medieval
expression of heart devotion) and continuing to the present, the Holy Spirit has drawn
men and women to live out of a deep center of spiritual vitality and godliness. It is
in part only a rediscovery of the basic biblical disciplines so powerfully expressed
in the life of Jesus and His disciples.
AGTS models this essential aspect of theological training. Beyond matters of curriculum,
you will discover a sense of community on campus. Here, the heart is being nurtured
and prepared for a life of ministry. AGTS graduates will have an opportunity to cultivate
the inner life from which a vocation of service to Christ and His kingdom will proceed.
As the interim academic dean, I have had the opportunity to observe up close the dynamics
of spiritual formation at work on the AGTS campus. The strong commitment of the faculty,
staff, and administration, combined with the dedication of the student council has created
an atmosphere in which the heart can be nurtured in preparation for a life of service.
This brief and part time hiatus at AGTS has been a personal oasis. There
is something unique about life together at AGTS. It has been personally refreshing and
The focus at AGTS is the nurture of the heart. The mind is consistently, and sometimes
strenuously, challenged, but above all is the cultivation of a heart after God and the
development of a servant spirit in ministry.
Thursday, August 7, 2003 3:43 PM