While the pandemic shut down much of our activity, it provided the opportunity to assess our work and home life. The Assessment Center is no different. In place of the regular in-person assessments that usually met five times each year, there were only two. Streamlined assessments done via Zoom covered some of the candidates that needed to be assessed right away. Now in 2021, The Assessment Center is going full steam with a strong regional emphasis, having met in Lakeland, FL, San Antonio, TX, Charlotte, NC, St. Louis, MO and planning on Boca Raton, FL in September and Atlanta, GA in November. Later this fall there will also be an Assessment in Toronto, Ontario and for the first time a Korean language Assessment. In 2022, look for the Assessment to be in some of those cities, but also in Seattle, WA and Cherry Hill, NJ.
The Assessment Center is a two-and-a-half-day event with assessors from various ministry contexts bringing with them a wealth of experience. With the increasing variety of locations and growing interest in church planting, we are praying for 60 couples to be assessed in 2021, a 20% increase from our previous highs. If you are interested in church planting or know someone who should consider church planting contact MaryEllen Garofalo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAMP Student Kyle Roque, a Miami native who moved to North Carolina, in 2008 experienced his share of ups and downs leading up to his walk with Christ. LAMP Seminary is so grateful to him for sharing his story with us.
Where He Began
Kyle speaks of many years of hardship while growing up in Miami as he tried to fill the void in his heart caused by his father’s absence. As he searched for a way to numb that pain he was met with many difficult situations including the loss of a good friend in a car accident. In many ways this loss set in motion the turning point in Kyle’s life, where he began to question life, the world and if there was even a God out there. “I had no hope, I wanted to give up but God did not give up on me.” Kyle began attending youth group because of his older sister. Admittedly, in the beginning it was difficult to accept hearing the gospel. It wasn’t until later that he would be ready to accept what he was hearing as the truth. On that evening, Kyle heard a word preached from Galations 3:26. He would learn that God welcomed him to be his son just as he welcomes all as his sons and daughters. Kyle shared how this changed something in him. “In that moment, the hole that I had from my Dad and the sin I tried to fill it with, was filled with the love, mercy, and grace of God.”
Answering the Call
It would be 2 years later when the Lord would make a way for Kyle and his family to relocate to North Carolina in 2008. At this time he found Colonial Baptist Church where he would learn and grow as a man and follower of Christ with a hunger for God’s word in reform theology, providing that to the local church. Kyle felt the call to ministry but like many, he struggled with a feeling of not being good enough. After speaking to elders and pastors of his church, his calling to ministry was confirmed and he would begin his journey with theological seminary to get trained for pastoral ministry.
Kyle served as a youth pastor for 9 years before meeting his wife Shameka, who would introduce him to his current Pastor Russell McCuthechons. This introduction began Kyle’s move to a church plant just outside of Raleigh. Currently his ministry involves First Impressions, Men’s Ministry and participation in local community groups. Kyle continues to disciple followers of Christ for Biblical and Life Literacy.
Kyle’s Time with LAMP Seminary
During his time as a student at LAMP Seminary Kyle has had the ability to sharpen the tools in his ministry toolbox, while challenging himself to think through new avenues of theology that the church holds to. He has found courses such as Biblical Counseling or Homiletics to be helpful in refining what he has been doing in ministry over the years, while refocusing on what he has been called to do. Homiletics has helped Kyle to assist the congregation to know the word of God and apply it to their lives. Biblical Counseling has enhanced his ability to counsel people in a different and deeper platform to help deal with sin and the effect of sin on their lives. “LAMP has sharpened my ministry. It has also enhanced it by challenging, stretching, and growing me to see the beauty of Covenant theology and its impact on infant baptism.”
Things That Have Been Helpful
Kyle has found that LAMP has been ideal for equipping the church for work in ministry. He particularly enjoys the involvement of Pastors and Leaders in helping him to grow in new theologies while providing practical wisdom and counsel as he applies it to local ministry. The low tuition cost has been very helpful for Kyle as well as many students who are looking for a practical and affordable option in seminary education. He shared, “Many black and brown brothers and sisters in Christ can not afford to go to major seminaries.”
As for the future of Kyle’s education and ministry. His hope after training and ordination is two fold. He would like to become a pastor who is a church planter in black and brown communities. In his experience, Kyle has found that healthy churches are those that come together from a group of churches sending people to advance the kingdom of Christ and his glory in a city. “I want to be a pastor that is shepherding a people to resolved discipleship, that is focused and based on biblical and life literacy.” Kyle’s prayer is that the Lord raises men and women to be a part of church plants within the local city and beyond. He would also like to provide a LAMP platform within his own city, that focuses on equipping black and brown people to be sent out to raise other disciples and churches locally.