For Parkside’s pastoral residents, Hunter Hanson, Robby Lacey, and Kolby Thomas, no detail is too small to consider when discerning the call to pastoral ministry. “They keep asking me about games to play,” said Hunter. “What else is there other than Dodge Ball?” Robby and Kolby laughed knowing that they will all get a turn in middle school ministry helping to run games along with everything else.
These three men have embarked on a year-long exploration to learn the day-to-day complexities of life as a pastor. Each resident will spend time shadowing members of Parkside’s pastoral team and will get hands-on experience such as teaching large groups, observing one-on-one counseling sessions, assisting with hospital and benevolence visits, and attending youth events and retreats. Throughout the year, they will get an up close and personal look at church life from the point of view of the pastor.
Why Pastoral Ministry?
“I think seminary trains you a lot in doctrine, but not necessarily a lot in teaching the Word by discipleship, counseling, and caring for people in their daily lives,” said Kolby, who earned his Masters of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “That’s why I was eager to come here to get experience in those other areas.”
Robby, a graduate of Kent State University with a degree in business marketing, felt the call to ministry while attending college. “I was going around Kent State and I just saw so many people and wondered, Do they know any truth about God? Do they know anything about the person of Jesus Christ and the work that He’s done for all these people? I got involved with Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ) and realized that there’s a lack of knowledge of the Bible, of God, and of Christ on the college campus and that really weighed on me. How do we reach these people? It really hit me that I wanted to go into the ministry in order to reach the lost.”
“I grew up not really knowing the Bible much at all,” said Hunter. “I grew up Catholic and attended Catholic schools, but had very little knowledge [of the Bible] even after I got saved when I was 15. I still didn’t really know it, or read it, or have anyone to help me understand it until about five years [later when] someone mentored me and really started to teach me the Bible. With that experience, I really had a desire to help Christians and non-believers to know God’s truth. That’s where the burden was placed on me.”
About the Residents
Robby is a homegrown Parksider, having attended with his family since he was in the fifth grade. He attended Aurora High School and Cedarville University before transferring to Kent State where he graduated with a degree in business marketing. Robby enjoys working out, reading biographies, hammocking, and playing his Nintendo Switch.
Kolby, and his wife, Kali, both hail from Oklahoma, but met while they were both in seminary. Kali, who earned a master’s degree in counseling, will be working with Fieldstone Counseling during their time in Northeast Ohio. Kolby grew up in a small, rural town of around 3,000 people. He loves sports, having played baseball and football while growing up. He and Kali are looking forward to getting settled in and exploring the area. As an encouragement to the congregation, Kolby notes that the residency is a unique opportunity for young men who are looking for work in the pastorate but need to gain experience and education.
Hunter, and his wife, Emma, are from the Mississippi Gulf Coast where Hunter grew up enjoying fishing and playing football. They most enjoy sharing a meal with people and getting to know them. “In Mississippi, there isn’t really anything to do, so that’s just what you do – eat and talk to people,” says Hunter. They just welcomed their first daughter, Georgia, and are also excited to experience their first full winter in the north. “It’s a big transition. Honestly, I’m nervous about the weather,” said Hunter. “I’ve never gone through a whole winter somewhere and haven’t experienced much snow before. A fleece is like the warmest thing I have. I’ve never driven in the snow and that’s why we tried to live close to the church!”
How You Can Pray
- Please pray for clarity as Robby discerns the call to ministry and is just starting to investigate the possibilities. Please pray that he will learn to teach and preach the gospel rightly.
- Please pray that Kolby and Kali would get to know people and make friends in the church quickly as they have only a year in residence.
- Please pray for Hunter, Emma, and Georgia, for all of the new adjustments in their lives – having a new baby, living in a new place, and exploring a new career.
Please join us in welcoming this year’s class of pastoral residents!