Pastoring and Planting on the Block

by Dr. Tommy Kiedis

June 23, 2017

Posted in: Other

Dr. Tommy Kiedis is the senior pastor of Spanish River Church in Boca Raton, Florida. He is a member of the Corporation Board for LBC | Capital, helps to coordinate the college’s master of arts in ministry efforts in Boca Raton, and serves as adjunct faculty member for LBC | Capital. He earned his doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and his doctorate of philosophy in leadership from Sothern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Shannan have six adult children and 16 grandchildren.

Doug Logan (’16) is the founder and lead pastor of Epiphany Church of Camden. Logan is married to Angel, and they have three adult sons and three grandchildren. He serves as a board member of both Thriving and The Acts 29 Church Planting Network. Logan completed his master of arts in ministry at Capital Seminary and Graduate School through a partnership with Spanish River Church in Boca Raton, Florida.

Recently, Dr. Tommy Kiedis sat down with newly-minted Capital graduate Doug Logan (pictured above – you might know him from his recently released book, “On the Block”) to discuss how God used his education to shape and equip him for ministry, what he’s doing now and how God is using him.

What piqued your interest in higher education and why did you choose LBC | Capital?

It was a combination of my mother’s prodding and my desire to be a better pastor.
She said that I needed to go further than what she could. My mom always told me education was the way. She said many people had made it possible for me to do that, people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Jessie Jackson. I went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University because that is where Jessie Jackson went. I majored in Political Science because that’s what Jessie Jackson did.

My mom said, “Education equals influence and impact. Education will get you to the table and once you get to the table . . . God might let you be in charge.” I also knew I needed theological education to become a better pastor. I had passion and a plan, but I needed more. I needed information to improve that plan. Theological education was that improvement plan.

Ultimately, I chose Capital. It was accessible, affordable, practical and solidly theological. It was a balanced, comprehensive program that fit my life. I was also learning things that I was able to apply immediately. I came out of the class on The Life & Work of the Leader and taught it to my elders within a week.

If you were to distill your experience down into two practical ways that LBC | Capital has equipped you to further your ministry, what would you say?

First, it has expanded my view primarily in the area of leadership. God has used this experience to stretch my brain and connect the dots. My view of leadership is changing my actions as a leader. My elders can feel the difference, and that is beautiful.

Second, it has given me a deep desire to implement the model of education I have experienced in my own context. I am currently doing a one-year, cohort-based leadership development track for men and women in ministry that is focusing on ecclesiology, Christology, and missiology.

I am particularly excited about how God is using this to equip our women. We have neglected to train and encourage women to be theologians. We’ve taught women about Martha, Mary and about Proverbs 31, but I think we’ve fallen short on teaching them on exegesis, Christ and missiology. I think that Dr. Karen Jobes’ commentary on 1 Peter is considered one of the best. Though there are many, why aren’t more women aren’t deep theologians? I think it is because we have ignored teaching them in the realm of theology.

The Lord has given you a burgeoning national platform. For example, you are serving on the board of both Thriving and The Acts 29 Network, but you are serving in Camden, New Jersey of all places. Why?

The reason I have any platform is because of how God is using me in Camden. It is because souls are walking around Camden who have been saved because God chose to use a raggedy, old joker like Doug Logan. The inner city has been neglected too long. By God’s grace, I want to change that.

Timothy did whatever he had to do to minister comprehensively (Acts 16:1-3). I love that. So, I am willing to become part of a predominately white denomination (Presbyterian Church in America) and church planting network (Acts 29) to learn so I can contextualize what I have gleaned for the inner-city reality. I’ve developed some great life changing friendships in both organizations. And God has advanced His name in my city through many of those relationships.

Whatever little platform Jesus has graced me to have, my focus is to stay faithful to the city that he has called me to – Camden. God has called me to Camden to lift up his name on these rough streets. I’m just importing and contextualizing what I am learning from a host of godly and faithful leaders. I have a vision for the inner city, for African American and Latino church plants that are planting other churches on the block.

Growing up in Paterson, New Jersey, and attending many traditional African American Baptist Churches, I often saw many of those churches in a long-term position of “survival mode”. It is my desire to plant churches and to help existing churches move from survival mode to thriving mode. Capital’s program has better equipped me to do that in my ministry and help others to do the same.

How is the Lord using your Capital experience to advance the gospel work in general and in Camden in particular?

I implement so much of what I have learned. I incorporate it in my Sunday messages and my training and coaching of Epiphany church planters such as Charlie Mitchell (Baltimore, Maryland), David Rosa (Hollywood, Florida) and R. Derrick Parks (Wilmington, Delaware).

With respect to Camden, my master’s degree gives me a seat at many more tables. By God’s grace, I have some opportunities to teach at seminaries and Bible colleges and share with others seeking to be trained for ministry. That is a big deal, particularly in Camden. To put this in perspective, according to Town Charts, 10 percent of New Jersey has a master’s degree, but those figures do not hold true in Camden. There, only two percent of the population has an advanced degree. I’m glad to say that three out of four of our elders hold master’s degrees from biblical institutions. We have one of the most educated teams of pastors in the city. God doesn’t need that, but he uses it.

Doug, give the readers a little sense of the vision God has given you for Camden and the inner city.

We believe God is going to build a gospel ecosystem for the inner city. By that I mean that we want to create a self-sustaining, church planting residency program that identifies, houses, equips and sends church planters to launch reproducing churches. We have a church planting model and a business model to make that dream a reality.

Too many churches in the inner city are in survival mode. They can’t think about launching another church because they can barely sustain the one they have. They have good preaching, a good choir, but often lack infrastructure and finances.

You can’t build the church just on bake sales – you must build it on the generosity of the saints. Right now, we are supporting six churches. Some people say, “You’re crazy!” I say, “No, we are Christian.” What did Paul say? “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means” (2 Corinthians 8:3). We want to be a contributor to church planting. We want to give wisely from our poverty. God takes care of us. He has graciously provided all the resources for us to plants churches in the poorest and most violent city in America: Camden, New Jersey.

Sadly, the most unsupported church plants by African Americans are African American churches. Our model, which involves providing affordable housing, is helping to improve the local economy, enhance the training of local church planters while at the same time creating long-term sustainability for our entire residency program. Our goal, by God’s grace, is to move from “survive” to “thrive.” We are creating a ministry that is thriving and advancing from our doors in Camden to other inner cities and beyond.

Any final words?

I am grateful to LBC | Capital for its desire to enhance urban education. My education has made me a better pastor to the men and women with whom I serve and train. But we need that kind of training on a grander scale. That is why we are working with LBC | Capital, Spanish River, MCUTS, PCUTS and others to create an affordable, accessible, accredited education so we can get more people to the educational table. We need the prayers and partnership of others to make this a reality.

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