Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Seminarian | 03.23.15

Josh Schmidt
7140 S. 51st St.
Franklin, WI 53132

Dear Family and Friends,                                  

It is a humbling privilege to be a member of ACMNP’s (A Christian Ministry in the National Parks) first Advanced Leadership Development Program. There were over forty applicants but only six initiates. I am one of these “Sensational Six.” Other members include Masters of Divinity students from Yale, Wake Forest University, and Gordon-Conwell Seminary; a young man and his wife who have been leading a non-denominational church with a young adult emphasis; and a man who has worked as a witness and worship leader for ACMNP in various national parks including Glacier and his current service in the Virgin Islands.

The six of us met for the first time this weekend in Denver, Colorado. Before our arrival, we each partook in the Lion’s Lead leadership assessment tool. This allowed us to realize both our strengths as leaders and where we can challenge ourselves to improve. We met with the inventor of the tool who personally travels among major United States businesses and through-out the world (including Dubai) as well as his wife who both encouraged and strengthened our drive to become the best leaders possible. This program digs much deeper than just the summer ministry, but hopes for a life-changing impact, to form the best Christian leaders possible through the program.

As well as assessing our strengths and challenges, the weekend became a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow together. We explored the Garden Of The Gods and built a worship service for Sunday morning. The leaders of ACMNP all attended and continue to befriend us as we meet their opportunities for ministry head-on. It would be impossible to continue the program without their constant inspirational and loving support.

The six were able to bond, to organize and form our own team. We have each been given a separate park and a specific type of ministry to fulfill this summer. We discussed each opportunity and brainstormed ideas with each other. This support group may prove invaluable. We can use our iron to sharpen each other’s iron and be there for one another through-out the seasons. We will all be helping with the ACMNP National conference the weekend of April 19th where we will also be meeting the teams who will be serving with us in our retrospective areas.

Although, I had originally planned to travel to Sequoia National Park this summer, I have been granted the challenge of a mission plant. Near Lake Powell, there is an area known as “Bullfrog.” There hasn’t been a park ministry there for years. And, my goal is to assess the area, find opportunities for the ministry (including locating a worship space), and implement witness/worship. This is an exciting privilege as this plant may start years of worship, witness, and Christian life together in that area. There will be two other members on my team with the closest team of four over an hour away.

Please continue to pray with us. We will need inspiration to passionately lead; endurance to follow through; presence of the Spirit; safety in our travels; and funds to keep going. I can’t wait for this opportunity to begin. Yet, currently I’m here. I’m deep in study at the Concordia Seminary of St. Louis, working at the International Center of the LCMS, preaching this Wednesday at church, and hoping to lead Sunday School for a while before I go. God works through us, not matter where we are.

Let Him use you,

Josh Schmidt

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