Preacher Profile: Carl JenkinsBy Jeremy Smith Published 1:01pm Monday, April 18, 2011
Where are you originally from?
Where did you go to school?
I attended Memphis School of Preaching (MSOP) for two years. I met a graduate from there and was highly impressed. He had great knowledge of the Bible, but was also taught what to expect in a preaching life.
What do you find to be the greatest challenge of modern evangelism?
Today’s society is mainly run on a philosophy that says there are no absolute truths other than what you feel is an absolute truth for you. The ironic part is that ideology is held as an absolute truth itself. Trying to teach the unchanging Gospel of Christ and the Law of Christ to a nation that holds each man as his own law presents great challenges. This isn’t new though. The book of Judges opens and closes with the statement that each man did what was right in his own eyes. Despite this, God’s preachers kept preaching and were strong in it.
What do you feel is the most important thing a congregation can do to help its preacher?
Work with him. A lot of people think the preacher works for the congregation or the elders of a congregation and that isn’t true. He works under the eldership, but he works for God first and foremost. He is simply another Christian in the congregation fulfilling the duty to serve God’s kingdom. He can’t do it all by himself though. Offer to go on visitations with him, as that is every Christian’s duty. Offer to go out and evangelize with him. Sometimes just drop by his office and offer him a kind word and let him know you appreciate what he’s doing there. Finally, don’t expect him to be perfect. Preachers are people too with strengths, weaknesses, faults and temptations.
When and where was your first sermon and what was the topic?
My first sermon was sometime in the year 2005, though I can’t remember the exact date. I preached “The Excuses of Moses” which looked at the excuses Moses gave to God in Exodus 3 and 4 and the response God gave back. We still make these excuses today, making it an important study.
You are a young preacher. How often do you get adverse reactions because of your age? What do you feel are some of the advantages of your youth?
The number one question I get when people learn what I do is, “Are you the youth minister?” It’s a bit discouraging at times actually, but there isn’t much I can do but laugh about it and try to grow a little more facial hair to look a bit more mature.
That’s usually the most common reaction, but it doesn’t cause me any real problems. Sometimes in deeper theological discussions and studies though it can be brought up. The assumption is usually that because of my age, I don’t have ability or experience to really understand what the scriptures mean. I am always learning or growing, but people shouldn’t assume that others might be less knowledgeable of God’s word due to their age or education. One of the most intelligent preachers I’ve read of was the late Marshall Keeble who only had a third grade education I believe, yet his knowledge of the Bible was immense.
What is a typical work day for you?
Every day is a work day, even my “days off.” My “official days” are usually spent in morning study, and in preparation for Sundays and Wednesdays. My afternoons are more open. I might spend more time in study if needed, but I also spend it preparing bulletins, visiting the shut-ins and the sick or trying to find someway to get involved in the community. We only arrived in January though, so I’m still in the process of getting to know the area and the people here.
Who has been most influential on your personal faith?
There are so many that it’s hard to name just one. Reading about the late Marshall Keeble always reminds me that I don’t have to have a doctorate to preach God’s word. Keith A. Mosher, an instructor at MSOP, has always been someone I can call and seek advice. He was a bit scary at first, but he really is one of the most caring and loving Christians I’ve met. My father-in-law is an elder where he attends, and he’s taught me a lot of patience, meekness and a good work ethic in how he serves.
What advice would you give to the Christian trying to balance a faithful personal walk with life in the secular world?
Have patience. Not only with others, but more importantly with yourself. So many people struggle and just think that if it’s this hard for them, they must be doing something wrong. The Christian life isn’t always going to be easy, but it’s worth it. God has patience with me, and I should try and mimic Him. It doesn’t mean I just shrug off the mistakes I make, but remember that that’s what they are, mistakes. I have to pick myself up and keep going.
What is life like for you outside of ministry? Family? Hobbies? Interests?
I have a wonderful wife, Kristen, and we are blessed with our two-year-old son, Benjamin. Kristen and I both enjoy reading, and there isn’t much better than simply running around with Ben outside. I’m a 24-year-old male, so like most of us, I also enjoy music and video games, though the latter seems to be more rare once a family steps in. I openly admit that I’m a nerd, but I also enjoy the outdoors: camping, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, etc. I’m blessed by the many here who offer those opportunities and will be glad when the weather calms down so I can try to get out more. On a final note, I may be 6’7, but basketball is not one of my interests or hobbies. I’ve tried to play, but I just wasn’t blessed with those skills, so if you see me in the community, now you don’t have to ask that question.