Where do the church’s teachers and preachers come from? They come from Paul’s words to Timothy, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Tim. 2:2). In that simple command, Paul summed up the strategy for the propagation of the gospel from Ephesus to Greenville.
With this in mind, meet Chris Gerber, our summer intern. This isn’t a paid or terribly high-profile internship. But it is a deep internship. Chris will be learning from books, and teams, and leading in a few key ways in the Word and in prayer. You can read about the shape of the internship here.
Our purpose in this internship is to see churches led by pastors who faithfully connect the Bible’s theology of the church to the church’s worship, life, and mission. In other words, to see churches flourish in the gospel and gospel work. Pray that Chris would be that kind of shepherd for a church in the years ahead.
You need to get to know Chris, so here’s Part 1 of a two-part interview.
You’re not from Greenville originally. What places have you lived and how did you get to Greenville?
I’m from Lancaster, PA. I was born in Hershey but spent most of my life in Lancaster. I went to Greenville for college at Bob Jones University in 2004 and have been here ever since.
You’ve been at Heritage for how many years now? Why did you stay at Heritage after visiting, and what has God done in you during that time?
I believe at the end of this summer we will have been at Heritage for 8 years. I remember this well because two weeks at the most into visiting, our apartment complex caught fire and we needed to move out immediately. We were able to save most of our belongings because we only had smoke and water damage. Thankfully the fire did not reach our unit. Our new friends at Heritage stepped up to help us. We had folks give us money that we had never met before. We had people help us move. Needless to say we were impacted by the love we felt from Heritage. God’s love for us was on full display. We kept coming back because we knew that much was made of Jesus at this place. I think a lot of what God has done for me has revolved around growing through the faithful preaching and then applying that knowledge in Shepherding Groups.
Let’s back up and learn about your conversion. How did God save you?
I am not actually sure when I was converted. It could have been as a child when I prayed for forgiveness from my sins. However, I believe most likely I was saved as a teenager. At a prophecy conference my church was having, I remember being struck by the fact that I did not know if I was ready to meet God. Previous to the conference, I struggled with assurance of my salvation. It seems that I did not fully know the grace of God. I was trying to add my own works, to get myself worthy enough to be saved by God. That night I sought counsel from my pastor. He showed me that I could add nothing to what had been done for me. There I bowed in submission to the Lordship of Jesus and accepted his grace by faith.
You desire to serve vocationally as a pastor. How did God grow that desire in you?
The pastor that led me to the Lord took an interest in me and we began to meet together. I was discipled by him and he began to show me how to study the Bible. It was here that an interest in the pastoral ministry began to grow in me.
You’re pursuing a degree. What degree and why?
I am about to finish a Master of Divinity. It seemed like a good degree to achieve for pastoral ministry. While I have much still to learn, I believe this has been a good foundation for learning how to study the Bible and rightly handle the Word of God.
Tell us about Jen! How does she complement and strengthen you as a husband?
Jen is the best! We just celebrated our 10th anniversary this week. Everywhere I am weak she is so helpful in shoring up that weakness. She has been most helpful in the raising of our daughter Julia. I remember having extreme anxiety about the future with a new baby, and Jen did a stellar job keeping life going for us when I was struggling emotionally. She is super talented. I love seeing her lead us in congregational singing through her skill with the violin on Sunday mornings.
So, you’re an intern for the Summer. What does that even mean?
I will be learning and leading: I’ll be learning by reading and writing on about a dozen books, chosen for how they connect our theology to ministry practice. These books will also help me understand some of the thinking behind our own ministry here at Heritage. I will also be learning about pastoral ministry by observing staff meetings, elder meetings, and shadowing on Sunday morning. In terms of leading, I will be leading through various public opportunities such as evening prayer and electives during the summer.