중학교와 고등학교 시절에 저를 가르쳐 주셨던 은사 목사님과 목회자의 삶을 가르쳐 주셨던 선배 목사님 두 분이 떠오릅니다. 부르심에 순종하 여 두렵고 떨림으로 입학했던 신학교 시절, 헬라어 히브리어부터 시작해 서 성경을 가르쳐 주셨던 열여덟 분의 교수님들이 한 분 한 분 기억에서 되살아났습니다. 혼자 바둥거리며 외롭게 달려온 것 같지만, 오늘의 제 가 있기까지 힘써 주셨던 선생님들에게 얼마나 큰 빚을 지고 있는지를 깨 닫는 시간이었습니다. 오늘, 베델교회 담임목사로 있는 저의 설교와 목회 사역을 조금이라도 고마워하신다면 저를 가르쳐 주신 선생님들의 헌신 으로 이 모든 것이 가능했음을 말씀드리고 싶습니다. 온전한 설교 한 편 을 준비해서 강단에서 삶으로 선포하는 한 사람의 말씀 사역자를 키워내 기 위한 일심으로 세워진 신학교에서, 박봉에도 불구하고 헌신하시는 교 수님들의 수고와 기도로 오늘 많은 교회의 강단이 지켜지고 있다고 생각 하면 ‘스승의 날’은 마땅히 기억해야 할 날이라고 생각합니다.
오늘 때마침 우리 교회를 방문해 주신 저의 신학교 릴백(Lillback) 교수님 께 감사드립니다. 비록 제가 신학교 시절에 직접 배우지는 못했지만, 같 은 신념과 원칙으로 신학교를 이끌고 계시고, 세계 교회에 잘 훈련된 말 씀 사역자들을 배출하고 계시는 ‘목사의 스승’이십니다. 저를 가르쳐 주 신 모든 은사님을 대표하여 총장님께 감사의 말씀을 전하며, 옳고 그름 이 혼탁한 이 시대에 섬광 같은 진리의 말씀 사역자들을 훈련해 주시기 를 거듭 부탁드립니다.
Remembering Teacher Appreciation Day
Rev. Bryan Kim
Last week, I received messages of encouragement and appreciation from a few of my younger colleagues in Korea. May 15th is Teacher Appreciation Day in Korea, and few of my younger colleagues sent me letters. To my undeserving surprise, they said they were thinking about me on this Teacher Appreciation Day. I have received such letters intermittently in the past, but they never impacted me as they did this time around. To be honest, when I look back on my ministry, my schedule did not allow me to take time to nurture and focus on teaching younger colleagues. Instead, never having enough time, I was busy putting out fires around me. It doesn’t seem real to hear those young people say that they learned from me and that it helped them with their ministry direction. At a young age, I began ministry in an area where there weren’t any Korean churches. I longed for a pastoral companionship and yearned to learn at the time. I would stand alone on this ministry front, which felt much like a wilderness. I read books by pastors who were my role models, and tried to mimic them and attended conferences. Now, with many pastoral friends and pastoral staff in our church, I do not have much time to feel lonely anymore, but not enough time to think about my younger colleagues and their needs. However, these ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’ letters gave me a time to reflect on my ministry.
I remembered a pastor who taught me during my Junior High and High School, and an older colleague who taught me about pastoral life. And from seminary, which I enrolled out of obedience to my calling and with much fear, I also remembered each of my 18 professors, who taught me Greek, Hebrew, and Bible. Although it seemed like I ran this race struggling alone, I was reminded and realize now how indebted I am to these teachers who brought me to where I am today. As a senior pastor of Bethel Church, I want to tell you that my sermons and my pastoral ministry are possible because of the dedicated teachers who have taught me. In order to train a pastor to prepare, complete, and preach to proclaim the Word requires not only the solidarity of seminary school but also the prayers of those dedicated professors. Today’s church pulpits are kept through them. In that regard, I believe ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’ is definitely a day to remember.
I would like to thank Professor Lillback who is visiting us today from my seminary. I did not learn directly from him, but he is leading the seminary with the same principle and resolve. He is a teacher to the pastors, producing welltrained ministers of the Word to churches throughout the world. As a representative of all the teachers who has taught me, I would like to give my appreciation to the seminary President, and ask that he continue to train ministers of the Word who can teach the truth in this conflicting time of right from wrong.