Please welcome Penny to the blog. He is a friend, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and currently serving as an assistant pastor. I'll let him explain more himself, but you can also learn more here.
Please introduce yourself.
Tell us more about the work you are doing there, particularly your involvement with the Schaeffer Fellows.My name is John Pennylegion, most everyone I know calls me “Penny” and I am an Assistant Pastor at The Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC) in St. Louis, MO. I graduated in May 2009 from Covenant Seminary with an MDiv and started at CPC on June 1. I was married to my wife, Kat, in September 2003 and we have two daughters, Laine (3 ½) and Mead (1). When choosing names, we were going with different but not weird.
What have you learned during this process and the past year?While having regular pastoral responsibilities at CPC, my primary role is the Director of the Schaeffer Fellows Program. This is a new endeavor for CPC which began out of discussions between our Sr. Pastor (Ryan Lauglin) and some professors from Covenant Seminary. The Schaeffer Fellows program is a nine month internship where recent college graduates will come to St. Louis, work part-time internships, take seminary level classes, and be actively involved in the church community. The purpose is to help young Christians, who have plans to enter the marketplace, learn to integrate their faith with their vocation. Thus, we are seeking to train future lay leaders of our churches to be better equipped to engage the world through their vocation.The foundational premise of the program is that God-honoring, kingdom valued work can and does take place in the context of ‘secular’ vocations. It is based off of an understanding that when Paul says in Colossians 1 “by [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth...all things were created through him and for him…. and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” that he really means “all things” not just things that we determine to be “spiritual.” Thus, Christ’s dominion, his rule, is extended into every sphere of his world. And because of this, we act as his ambassadors not only by sharing our faith but also by extending his authority into our areas of vocation - be that the law, medicine, marketing, home building, home making, etc.
Since June, I’ve been working (with a board) to establish the foundational aspects of the Fellows program in preparation for the arrival of, what we hope will be, 10-14 Fellows in September. During these months, the thing that I find myself saying again and again in my prayers to God is, “I need your help.” I’m constantly confronted by the fact that I need more of Jesus; that all my hard work, determination, talent, etc. is all for not if Jesus is not intimately and actively involved. While this is not a new realization, over the last eight months it has become a more true realization to me. I find myself asking God for his grace and trust more often and desiring to depend upon him.