My name is Aaron Dowell and I am a junior at Central Christian College of the Bible. I am currently serving as the Interim Preaching Minister at Cornerstone Christian Church in Bowling Green Missouri.
As the interim preacher, I prepare and deliver a sermon for the congregation of Cornerstone. I also consult with the leadership team in order to ensure the church is working to fulfill its mission and vision for the community that it is a part of. I am also helping to establish small groups and a youth and family program. In order to do this effectively, I have several other Central students come with me to help serve in the church. Lance Patrick helps with the administrative tasks as well as preaches, Jesse Tuller leads our music ministry team, and Parker Menendez is helping to establish the youth & family program. We also have several other freshmen preaching majors that are coming along with us as well. You can listen to sermons from Cornerstone here:
I found out about this position through the supply preaching program that Central has to help small local churches that do not have a regular preacher. I supply preached for Cornerstone on two consecutive weekends in June of 2015. After those two weeks, the leadership team asked me if I would be interested in filling in as the preacher on a more long-term basis, and I agreed to…. It helped that this is in my hometown.
I am consistently using what I am learning in my classes at Central, oftentimes I am immediately taking a lesson from the week and applying it to my ministry that weekend. I am currently involved in an internship with Timberlake Christian Church and I am able to reach out to the staff there as a resource to help me work through issues, and usually having that experience gives me an ability to identify issues that need to be handled before it becomes a problem. I have discovered that what I learn in the classroom has increased exponentially because being involved in ministry takes the lessons from ‘theory’ and possibilities to things that I need to know and that I am dealing with every week.
I am specifically responsible for Sermon development and delivery, as well as helping the leadership work through the strategic ministry plan to ensure that Cornerstone remains a healthy church leading people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Every single class that I am taking applies to my ministry and the work that I am doing at Cornerstone in some way. The professors and the academic curriculum has, and continues to, prepare me for ministry beyond everything that I envisioned it would when I first enrolled at Central.
Church Leadership and Administration with Michael Curtice has taught me a lot about some of the Pastoral duties, and a lot of great Church leadership skills that can be applied to various ministry situations. Greek Analysis and Pastoral Epistles with Reese class led to lots of research on the book of Ephesians. I turned these in-depth studies into a series on the book of Ephesians for Cornerstone, and have been very happy with the way they turned out.
I really wish I had a way to measure how much being involved in a ministry while attending classes at Central has increased the value of the education I am getting. Being involved in the ministry takes the lessons from a distant future possibility to something that is applicable today because I need to know that information for something that is going on right now in the church I am serving. Simply being involved in a church ministry has changed the way I read the books for class, the way I take notes, and the questions that I ask. I was told one time that most people learn on a ‘need to know’ basis, and getting involved in a weekly ministry has put me in a position of needing to know what is being taught in the classes. My academic study now goes far beyond just trying to get the best grade. I not only want a good grade, I want to truly understand what is being taught so that I can apply it to my ministry.
When you are involved in a ministry and getting involved with people and going alongside them and experiencing life together, you really do experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. It is hard to pick only one favorite memory, but if I had to it would be my involvement with one of the young couples that have attended the church. After preaching at the church for about six months they approached me and asked me if I would officiate their wedding and perform their wedding counseling. I agreed to this and during the course of the wedding counseling we were discussing having a God-honoring relationship and what that looks like, and then the conversation turned to baptism. At the end of that pre-marriage counseling session, we were on our way to perform a baptism. I not only got to perform their marriage, I got the honor of baptizing them into Christ. In that situation, I learned the importance of living life together and the power of a simple authentic conversation.
Being involved in a ministry while attending Central is one of the best decisions I have made to increase my preparation for full-time ministry after graduation from Central. A weekly ministry consistently shows me the value of the content of the lectures and the classwork we complete here at Central. I often find myself making a note of something mentioned in class that I will use and apply to my ministry immediately. Involvement in ministry while at Central causes me to listen to the lectures and complete the homework with a completely different level of interest.
Being involved in this ministry has shown me that I am in the right place and following the correct life path. If it were not for my involvement in this ministry I may still be wondering and considering exactly what I am going to do, and how I am going to be involved in ministry after my graduation. Involvement in ministry has solidified God’s calling of me into ministry, and the more involved I get the more I know I am right where I am supposed to be.