Story by Jim Bishop
Although Kevin A. Clark has 21 years of pastoral experience, this fall he will embark on a new challenge – to minister to students and professors at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
Clark has been an instructor in the area of spiritual formation at EMS since 1996 and was a pastor at Big Spring Mennonite Church near Luray through 2004.
“My training is in the area of spiritual direction and spiritual formation, but I also deeply appreciate my pastoral call and how that role is significant in terms of soul care,” said Clark.
Clark has given oversight to the spiritual direction program on campus for a number of years. This program matches students who desire spiritual direction with either students who are learning to give spiritual direction or with a trained spiritual director.
He also oversees and trains students who are learning to give spiritual direction.
“I was trying to discern whether my call was to move back into pastoral ministry when the campus pastor position came open,” he stated. “It felt like an opportunity to continue to use my pastoral gifts.
“I am always in awe when people connect with God in ways that assist them to discover identity and call, and it is a privilege to walk with them as they respond to the Spirit’s presence,” said Clark. “I am also encouraged by seeing people live out their call in ways that affect the variety of places they are called to minister.”
Clark brings gifts in spiritual formation and pastoral ministry to his new role along with ability to work with a wide range of people. He has pastored congregations in several denominations and has been involved in Blue Ridge Ministries, a local interdenominational retreat ministry.
The campus pastor will be involved in planning seminary chapel, meeting with students individually and collaborating with campus pastors from EMU’s undergraduate program.
“It will be a challenge to mentor students in creating meaningful worship opportunities twice a week,” said Clark. “I will seek to learn how to best free the gifts of others to plan and implement worship.”
Another challenge will be learning how to work as a pastor to faculty and to the other graduate programs. Clark has a vision for changing what has traditionally be called “seminary chapel” to a worship rhythm that is hospitable and open to other graduate programs within the university.
“My hope is that people continue to connect in meaningful ways with God through the gathered community in worship, to be formed and transformed in Christ,” Clark said. “I desire my pastoral ministry to continue to be about hospitality to God’s Spirit. The EMU community is not solely about academic study, but engaging the formative work of God’s presence in our lives.”
Jim Bishop is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.