ABILENE—As a student at Logsdon Seminary and youth minister at Potosi Baptist Church in Abilene, Hunter Brown knows what it means to be mentored by professors and church leaders, while at the same time learning to mentor the next generation.
Brown earned his undergraduate degree in ministry from Hardin-Simmons University in 2016, and he anticipates graduating from Logsdon with his Master of Divinity degree in December.
He credits Mike Auten, associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Clyde, with teaching him many of the practical aspects of ministry.
“I had a great mentor who taught me things about engaging with people,” he said. “Now I’m breaking away from having mentor/mentee relationships into a place where I’m by myself.”
Brown is not afraid to try new things. When Rodney Watson, pastor of Lytle South Baptist Church suggested a collaborative DiscipleNow weekend, Brown agreed wholeheartedly. Before long, four other churches joined them in the student ministry event, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas provided financial assistance.
“We had the plan of making it an associational-based D-Now,” he said. “We got funding from the BGCT, and they said we’re the only association in the state of Texas who has done anything like this.”
Brown has introduced his congregation to new experiences such as the flowering of the cross at Easter.
“My church had never seen it before, and we had a large amount of people say how unique and cool they found it,” he said.
As part of Holy Week observances, Brown also created an experience similar to the stations of the cross. Church members went through three rooms including the Lord’s Supper, three crosses to reflect on the crucifixion, and a video about the resurrection.
Serving in a variety of roles
When the pastor at Potosi Baptist left earlier this year, Brown gained more responsibilities. He has preached some weeks and helped with administrative duties. With all the responsibilities of school and ministry, Brown remains optimistic.
“It’s been great with me,” he said. “My mentor taught me that sometimes ministry means doing kids’ stuff on Wednesdays, helping out with the youth, taking the van to get inspected, knowing when to clean up and be the janitor and when to participate in worship. I’m used to needing to be in different roles.”
While Brown knows church members can differ about many things, he sees some biblical principles as straightforward.
“Jesus’ love is really simple. It’s very clear in the Bible—love other people,” he said.
Brown shows this love to his students by spending time with them outside of Bible study.
“One of the most enjoyable things is hanging out with students, when we get to go places and spend time together,” he said. “It’s really easy to get down in ministry, and it’s really hard to remember the good parts of church. When we do things at my church that are fellowship-based, and they shine through, that’s really helpful to me.”
Influence of Logsdon professors
In addition to his church mentor, Brown has found his professors at Logsdon to be especially uplifting.
“All of them care about you, and they ask more about your life than just the academic part. They’re really helpful with the ministry part too,” he said. “There have been several instances where I’ve felt defeated with church, and going to those different mentors and asking their advice is really helpful.”
Brown also has learned to recognize the connections between his classes and his ministry.
“The Bible courses are helpful to understand how we read and interpret Scripture in new ways,” he said. “There are definitely things that I want my congregation to learn. In small-town West Texas, even though lots of people say they are Christians, there’s not much knowledge about the Bible. Logsdon has helped me prepare to teach these things.”
He also says his theology classes have been helpful in his spiritual formation.
“Christian philosophy was really great in helping me frame out what I think about God and to help me realize that I don’t have all the answers,” he said.
Brown said his ethics courses have helped him engage with his context and in the wider context of the church. He also said his general ministry classes encourage him to keep pursuing his calling.
“Church history has helped me see how we’ve moved from one point to another in Christianity,” he said. “There are some things that we need to focus on, and there are some things that we need to move on from and learn from.”