Preach Responsibly

Musings on Preaching, Ministry, and Life


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I still love to preach.

I still love to hear great preaching.

I still plan to write a blog that talks about preaching responsibly.

But I’m not going to be a full-time preacher, at least not in the immediate future.  Like a Robert Frost poem, my life has taken a divergent path to a different sort of ministry.  Oddly enough, this ministry coincides on many points with my philosophy of ministry that I posted (ages ago) as my last entry on the blog.  It’s amazing how God works those things out.

So what am I doing?  I’m working with this awesome nonprofit organization in Memphis called HopeWorks.  A large part of my job consists of teaching GED classes.  The HopeWorks GED program recently expanded with the goal of enrolling 2000 people this year.  We’ve been blessed to have a partnership with the Holmes Road Church of Christ.  The members and staff at this church have been exceptional in terms of their involvement with the Adult Education Program here.  I am thankful for the space they have given us to use for our classes, but I’m more thankful for the people who are investing in the lives of our students.

What do I do with HopeWorks?  I teach High School Equivalency classes to adult learners.  Most people have heard of the GED test, which is often used to test for HSE, but there are other tests used as well.  At the moment, Tennessee uses the GED test, but will be switching to the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) in 2014.  I also act as sort of a “chaplain” for the Adult Education program.  I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of everything I’m doing, but those two hats (teacher and chaplain) seem to best describe what I do.

How does that fit with my philosophy of ministry?  The most striking thing is building something that wasn’t part of the HopeWorks Adult Education program before.  I get to build a formal spiritual component to add to the Adult Education program.  Spirituality was already part of our classes, but it was an informal part.  I’m working on lots of things to sustain and grow the impact we have on our students.

Some statistics to help you gauge our effectiveness.  First, our goal is to serve 2000 students over the next two years (running July 2013 to June 2015).  That’s a lot of students looking for a better opportunity in life!  Second, at the Memphis City Schools testing facility, 20% or more of the students receiving their GED have come from the HopeWorks program.  Of all the HopeWorks students testing for the first time, 75% of them are passing the math test.

How can you help?  Please check out our website for more information about the organization.  Your contributions go a long way.  If you’d like to make a donation, the website has a means to do that here.  Or, we’d love to have you volunteer some time with our students.

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