In my case that's a bit complicated because I've left
two or three times to do two or three different things.
I was pastoring a church in Vancouver and left to do a
doctoral studies in Britain so from my point of view I was not
leaving pastoral ministry I was simply taking a hiatus to study
a little longer.
Eventually through complex circumstances I ended up back in
Vancouver where I was pastoring a church on the side but also
teaching in a small college and seminary and then when I left
there I moved down to Chicago and ultimately took up a
teaching post at Trinity.
Since then I've never been a full time pastor but I've often
done a lot of pastoral work so it's not as if I was leaving to
go to another church nor was it leaving so that I could become a
From my point of view I was leaving one form of pastoral
ministry, namely the primary pastoral ministry that takes
place in a local church, to join a situation where I was devoting
myself primarily to the training of pastors.
So in that sense it was a bit unusual, the way the Lord called
me to make those changes was not suddenly it was through a number
of circumstances, the experiences of life, challenges
from people who saw my interests, and this element or
The one time that I almost left Trinity to go somewhere else was
not to go to another seminary or back to university but to become
pastor of another church.
And then I had two or three senior Saints, Carl Henry and
Kenneth Concert, who descended on me like the voice of the Lord
and told me that at that particular time they thought it
would be a mistake for me to do that because they thought that
what I was writing was urgent enough that I shouldn't do
anything that would reduce that output.
Whether they were right or not, who's to say, that's a question
for the Lord to answer in eternity.
But it's not as if I've ever thought of myself as abandoning
pastoral ministry but switching from a primary focus on the
local church to a secondary focus on the local church by the
means of training others for the local church.