Today I had the opportunity to sit down with a dear friend; my father in law, and my former pastor and boss Dr Tom Lambshead. Tom is now an interim pastor at a local Waterdown church, as well as serving as the Director of Professional Development with Pioneers Canada. Dr. Lambshead has had a life time of experiences in the world of ministry, and thankfully he was kind enough to sit down with me to answer some questions and share some of those with us.
Could you share a bit about your testimony?
TL: I was born into a authentically Christian home – it had its struggles, but it was authentically Christian – and that made pursuing Christian faith attractive.
When/how did you know you were called to your ministry?
TL: For me being called into ministry has been a progressive journey (it wasn’t a “Macedonian call”, Acts style) in doing ministry and being given opportunities to do more. During that process, I began to understand my call a lot more.
What are some of the difficulties you have faced in your time in ministry as a pastor and now as a missionary?
TL: In pastoral ministry one of the difficulties was the pace of change; the church by nature is a preserving organization and therefore change is often difficult for people. A big challenge in my missions ministry is that the implementation of the training that I provide will be different for every mission team around the world. This requires more and more time coaching the principles taught on a case by case.
How did you know what to preach on?
TL: Besides observation of the needs and life circumstances being faced by the congregation, there are some truths in the scriptures that a congregation simply needs to know – whether they think it is timely or not. A discerning blend of both was how I personally decided.
Are there any preachers/authors/theologians you learn from that you’d recommend?
TL: Don (D.A.) Carson, partially because he’s exegetically astute and is relevant today, and Scot McKnight who wrote the Jesus Creed. I’m attracted to academic writers who can write for a wide audience.
What would you say is a difficulty faced by the church today?
TL: I think a big issue facing the church today is consumerism vs missional minisrty. The church is intended to facilitate God’s mission in bringing people into His kingdom. However, it’s easy for the church to live as if it exists for its own purposes.
What would you say was your biggest struggle as a person in pastoral ministry?
TL: One of the bigger struggles in pastoral ministry is the isolation that a pastor and a spouse can feel. Since a pastor is called to lead people into the unknown future, the congregation may not understand him or want what he is doing. This often results in few, if any, friends within the congregation.
What are some of the ways you see the Lord at work in Canada?
TL: I see a growing movement of authentic, adventurous, and intentional young millennials. With proper training and mentoring, they will become great kingdom servants.
What were some of the ways you have seen the Lord at work in your missions experience?
TL: The number of “divine appointments” has been amazing to me. God has providentially provided opportunities for us (myself and my wife) to meet people who have helped us to understand mission work and expand our ministry.
And finally – what would you say to someone thinking about pursuing ministry (pastoral, missions, or other) as a career?
TL: I’d say two things. The first – submit to getting biblically trained in formal education setting; be that through a degree or certificate online [Editors note: I’m personally doing one through iTunes U, it’s the Dimensions of the faith program through Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, great learning experience] or a seminary. The second – spend a significant portion of your early ministry in an intentional mentoring relationship by serving on a church team. You learn best by paying your dues and submitting to that mentoring process – challenging you to do things that you don’t want to do, that makes you grow and gives you experience you need – experience you didn’t know you needed.