B21 recently had the privilege to interview Pastor/Church Planter John Chambers. We are so thankful for him and his kindness in taking the time to answer our questions.
Quick Bio: John is a church planter in Rock Hill, SC, which is right outside of Charlotte, NC. John is an Acts29 Church Planter and his church also partners with the Southern Baptist Convention. John planted Remedy Church in January of 2009. Remedy Church,“exists to build a Biblical community in our city, so together, we can know, look to, love, serve and glorify Jesus Christ.” John completed his MDiv degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and plans to begin his PhD in North American Missiology at SEBTS soon.
1.) Why as a church planter would you pursue a PhD?
This is a great question. Remedy Church is only a year and a half years old. And I have 4 children who are all very young. So, what am I thinking by wanting to go back to school and get a PhD? There are a few reasons why. Before I list the reasons, the PhD I’m pursuing is in NA Missiology in Applied Theology, which isn’t exactly what we think of when we think of PhD’s.
So, the first reason I am pursuing a PhD is to get better and improve as a pastor and church planter now. Education and learning can’t be overrated when it comes to improving at something. While there is always a place for hands-on experience, being able to read and be taught by men who are older and far wiser in regard to planting a church and being a pastor is invaluable. As I look over the past year and a half of planting Remedy Church, the constant thing I am aware of is that I don’t feel like I know what I am doing. So, I pray, read the Bible, try to grow closer to Jesus, listen to podcasts, have conversations with pastor/planters, read books, etc.. But, it doesn’t mean that I’m reading the right books, or having the right conversations, or even thinking about the right things. So, having the benefit of men who are wiser who can teach me is awesome. I look forward to being taught, and, Lord willing, improving as a pastor/planter. This degree is exactly what I am doing right now, which is trying to plant a church.
The second reason is that if the Lord chooses to use Remedy Church, we would love to be a church-planting church. Since we want to be a church that plants other churches, when men are attending our church express an interest in church planting, we want to be able to train and equip them to be sent. So, a desire of mine is to educate myself in the field of church planting, so that if the Lord wills, I am knowledgeable and can provide them with all the tools and resources necessary to send them out to plant successfully. I would want to create a training course and let them go through it, and prepare them for planting.
Lastly, and probably the least important, is that I just love school. This is a new occurrence for me and didn’t happen until I was getting my masters degree. But, now I really just like learning and being pushed academically.
2.) Has your MDiv. been helpful for you as a pastor and planter?
The time I spent at Southeastern (2001-2004) was and is unbelievably shaping for me. God used both in the classroom and and the local church (Northwake Church) I attended while I was in seminary. I absolutely needed both of them.
I thought I knew the Bible and some theology before I went to seminary. That was just naïve pride. Once in seminary, God helped me realize that I had a lifetime of study ahead of me to help be in ministry. Seminary provided me the tools and the hunger to be able to pursue a lifetime of study. Even now, I realize just how much more there is to improve in and learn. Alongside seminary, what prepared me as a pastor/planter was attending Northwake Church. I had never been in or “done church” like that before in my life. I had already worked as a staff member in two previous churches before I came to seminary and never experienced a church like that before. I experienced a real community of believers who really cared about each other, authentic worship, and the most humble pastor I had ever met.
God used both of these things in my life to help me prepare for ministry. Much of what I teach theologically and do methodologically is from what I learned at Southeastern and Northwake Church. I am so thankful to God for the time I got to have in seminary and learn from all the professors.