Spring Routine

Posted on April 2, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Although I am often perceived as a compulsively organized person, my life has never been one characterized by a “normal routine.” With all the travel, meetings, administration, writing, speaking, public relations events, church and family, it would be impossible to describe a typical day or week at any point over the last 40 years. I have been multi-tasking all my life and taking on responsibilities to the extent that the last bit of margin is squeezed out of the work schedule. I am a slave to calendar commitments and the “to-do” list.

However, a commitment to teach in several forums this semester has required me to stay at home. Set class schedules each week eliminate the usual flexibility to do what I want to do when I want to do it. It seemed to be too much to fill the core days of the week in the classroom and the preparation lessons entailed and then travel to speaking engagements on the weekends. Having resisted filling my Sundays with preaching opportunities around the country, I have found myself locked into a routine weekly pattern this spring.

This includes the blessing of worshipping and feeling involved at our home church, Morrison Heights in Clinton. Knowing I was in town, our life group (Sunday School) teacher asked me to fill in while he took a 3-month sabbatical from teaching. Though I have not been in Sunday School for 45 years, I now find myself teaching a class of age-group peers each Sunday morning. Devoting time to in-depth study of the Word and leading discussions on applications to life today is a refreshing departure from the usual sermon preparation with a missions emphasis.

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning finds me in the classroom at Mississippi College; the Christian studies faculty invariably assigns the 8:00 am class to adjunct professors which is all right with me. I am home by 9:30 for a casual brunch with Bobbye and still have quality time available the rest of the day. The course on Evangelism and Missions allows me to share out of my years of experience with 33 students who are in this elective class because of their genuine interest in missions and serving the Lord.

Since my retirement, my longtime friend Dr. Tommy King, president of William Carey University has sought to entice me to teach at this sister Mississippi Baptist school in Hattiesburg. Though somewhat smaller than MC with around 3,000 students, including a branch campus on the gulf coast, it has always been known for ministerial training and a strong focus on missions. In fact, I am in consultation with them to develop a missions major which is a rarity among Baptist colleges.

I have resisted making the leap to try to teach an online course, preferring face-to-face interaction with students and the flexibility of “chasing rabbits” in classroom discussions. So, I did agree to drive the 95 miles once a week to teach a 3-hour course on “Principles and Practices of Missions” on Tuesday nights. The fatigue factor of teaching three consecutive hours that extend past my usual bedtime is offset by the engaging dialogue with students passionate for missions.

Since I stay overnight following the course, the William Carey Center is providing the opportunity for me to teach an “Impact Your World” course to pastors, students and church staff from around South Mississippi on Wednesday mornings. The interactive materials, written in consultation with IMB staff, are an 8-week course designed to mobilize local churches for missions involvement around the world.

My own church has been encouraging me to teach the course and guide them to a new dimension of effective, personalized mission involvement. So we have been able to convene 40 staff, church leaders and others for an “Impact Your World” course on Wednesday nights following prayer meeting. The church is launching a new building campaign under the theme “Proclaiming the Light” and wants the campaign to feature more significant global impact as well as providing additional local facilities.

So, Monday is usually focused on preparations for the week, Tuesdays teaching at MC, driving to Hattiesburg and teaching at WMU. Wednesday teaching IWC in Hattiesburg, driving back to Clinton, teaching at Morrison Heights in the evening, and then back in class at MC Thursday morning. But that leaves a long weekend, the rest of Thursday, plus Friday and Saturday, for yard work and other things (including preparing the upcoming Sunday School lesson).

2 Comments on “Spring Routine”

  1. Allen James

    Is the “Impact Your World” class you are teaching something you developed or a ciricumlum you found? Anything you can share about it would be appreciated. Thanks! Allen & Steph

  2. Jerry Rankin

    Allen, it is a interactive course I wrote for LifeWay with workbooks, DVD and leaders manual to go with my book, “Empowering Kingdom Growth to the Ends of the Earth.” This was about 8 years ago, and LifeWay has now turned the material over to the IMB to market it. It is designed to mobilize the local church for missions involvement and help them to understand appropriate strategies and how to partner with the IMB.

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