In Ephesians 4, Paul commands us to equip or prepare the saints for the work of ministry. However, equip also means to mend. With the heart of a pastor, Dr. Steve Seamands equips students for ministry using healing prayer and a heart for worship.
“A lot of mending needs to happen in people’s lives, and I really believe this is one of the main reasons why God brings students to Asbury Seminary,” Dr. Seamands, Professor of Christian Doctrine, said. “They need to learn how to preach from a sound theological foundation, exegete Greek, and gain leadership and preaching skills, but they also need mending from the brokenness in their own lives.”
Both in and outside of class, Dr. Seamands helps students put on the whole armor of God. Each piece indicates the process or action needed in order to wear it. For example, to wear the belt of truth, you must confront areas of denial. To don the shoes of peace, you must face the anxieties that rob you of peace.
Although prayer isn’t listed as part of the armor, for Dr. Seamands, prayer undergirds his entire ministry. Each morning, he begins his day with prayer and Bible reading.
Dr. Seamands challenges students to find a routine that works to connect with God daily. He believes that since most of us figure out a way to eat three meals and take a bath everyday, both he and his students can connect with God in meaningful ways daily.
“My ministry flows out of my intimacy with Jesus,” he said. “That’s the key to fruitfulness in ministry. Jesus said if you abide in me, I’ll abide in you. If He abides in me, that overflows into ministry.”
Before Dr. Seamands could help others heal from painful events in their past, he had to confront his own grief. He grew up in India, the son of missionary parents, and attended school at a missionary boarding school. The time away from his parents, although not traumatic, was filled with great loneliness. Early in his teaching career, he brought that pain to the feet of Jesus.
“I got connected to that pain of isolation from my parents in my early years as a professor,” Dr. Seamands said. “I got set free from that, and as a result it set me free to connect to the pain of other people.”
As a reminder of the freedom and healing he experienced in Christ, he keeps a sketch of a boathouse from the boarding school’s campus on the wall in his office. This image marks God’s faithful hope in his own life, as he shares that message with others.
Dr. Seamands pastored for 11 years while he earned a master of theology degree from Princeton and a doctor of philosophy degree from Drew University. Throughout his ministry, he’s sought to live his life according to Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (NKJV).
“God has been faithful as I’ve sought to live my life according to that verse,” Dr. Seamands said. “I find my joy, not in what I do in my ministry or in anything else good, but in Him. He’s the real delight and all other things become more delightful, too.”
Dr. Seamands is the Professor of Basic Christian Doctrine at Asbury Seminary. In addition to that class, he also teaches Introduction to Spiritual Warfare, Introduction to Healing Prayer, and a class studying the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
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