Discovering the Touchstone Course

Joseph Kim HeadshotI started at Fuller because I felt called into ministry as a youth pastor. I started interning as a youth intern at my home church as soon as I started at Fuller. When I started my 2nd year at Fuller I also started an official position at a new church as a part time youth pastor.

I thought I’d know everything there is to know about being a youth pastor because I grew up in church and I interned for a year and served in youth ministry for such a long time. If anyone has ever youth pastored, or pastored for that matter, they will probably agree that there is no way to be fully prepared and the best form of learning so far has been through trial and error. Not necessarily the most fun way to learn.

I’ve just started my 3rd year at Fuller and it has been quite a journey. I’ve never been the “school” kind of guy so I’m surprised I’ve made it thus far. I honestly came to Fuller thinking that Fuller will teach me how to be a pastor. In the beginning it seemed that there was a lot more learning of theology and not as much of “how to be a pastor.”

Then the new MDiv program kicked in. I made the decision to switch over to the new program. As I was making the switch, I took a leadership class that Scott Cormode was teaching from the old program. I ended up liking him a lot as a professor and noticed he was teaching another class (Touchstone) that was part of the new program. I decided to take the class with him since it was a requirement either way.

As I was picking my classes I honestly had no idea what the class was supposed to be about, but I knew it fulfilled a requirement so I decided to knock it out of the way. To my pleasant surprise this is the class that has been the most helpful in my journey as a pastor. The things that Scott Cormode and Tod Bolsinger have been teaching have been things that I have been immediately integrating into my current ministry position as a youth pastor.

Although this was a phrase that I had already learned from Cormode during the leadership class, I was reminded again during the first week of class: “Leadership begins with listening.” The following Sunday in ministry I shared this statement with my staff as well as my student leaders. As I mentioned before, the best way to learn to be a good pastor is through trial and error. Taking this Touchstone class (at least from what I can gather so far) seems like it will help prepare me for fewer errors during the trials. And while we cannot be perfect and should still expect error, the Touchstone class has also been teaching me to reflect on the errors so that I can actually learn from them.

There is so much more that I have to say, especially with issues like working at an immigrant church and having to adjust to certain cultures that are not really addressed in a theology book – and I’m also excited for the spiritual formation groups that have just begun. I look forward to sharing my thoughts through this blog and sharing more about the Touchstone class and answering any questions you might have for me! Peace out ya’ll~

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