This week I would also like you to meet Ed Carpenter, a student who is a deacon, Sunday School teacher, and lay leader in his church. He is taking seminary courses not because he is training to be a pastor, but to simply sharpen his biblical knowledge so that he can be a better leader in his church. If only the Lord would raise up more men that have the heart of Ed, but ultimately the heart of Christ.
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I grew up in a small, rural community in Mississippi (think less than 200 persons). I graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State and a Masters in Software Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Q. What is your testimony/call/ministry?
A. I grew up going to church participating in VBS, RAs, and normal Sunday activities. My salvation experience occurred at home with my mother at nine. As I continued to grow in the church, experienced and learned more about following Christ and committing fully to his guidance in my life. I probably get asked at least once a month, “Are you going to be a pastor when you finish seminary?” To which I laugh and respond, “I haven’t been called. Not saying He won’t call tonight.” Not negating the special call to pastoral ministries, I firmly believe that we are all commanded to ministry and we often overlook this commanding in thinking only about that special pastoral calling. Our calling is when, where, in what capacity, and for how long. My current calling is to serve at my job as a computer engineer in the US Army civilian workforce; as a lay-leader at Emmanuel Baptist in Athens as a teacher, deacon, and in other various capacities; and on short-term mission trips. While I teach classes at Emmanuel, I feel the area of my gifting is more towards one-on-one or one-on-two discussion and discipling. I enjoy seeing not just myself grow but seeing the other persons grow as we dig deeper into the Word and topics that these small sessions allow.
Q. Are you married? Kids?
A. Not married so I better not have any kids.
Q. What is your favorite sport to watch and/or play?
A. It depends. On TV, I love to watch college football. During the fall, you will likely catch me flipping between several football games on any given Saturday. My preference is the SEC, of course, and especially my Mississippi State Bulldogs, but I’ll watch any game that is interesting. I also love to watch baseball, but only if I’m sitting at the stadium. I enjoy watching the shifts and quirks of the players in the field and you miss this when watching on TV.
Q. What is your favorite seminary class?
A. I’m fairly early in my seminary courses so my list of classes taken is short. So far my favorite that I’ve taken has been the Hebrew courses. I enjoyed seeing, learning, and translating some of the great passages from the Old Testament. I look forward to Greek and doing the same with the New Testament but as I much as I enjoy the Old Testament, Hebrew may stay at the top of the list.
Q. Besides the Bible, what was the last book you read?
A. Not 100% sure. I’ve got a “to read” pile of about fifty books. I think last book I read not related to classes was either Clive Cussler’s Arctic Drift or Thabiti Anyabwile’s Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons; unless, I count The Complete Peanuts: 1981-1982 by Charles Schulz in that list. Been collecting this series through the years and catching up on all the old Peanuts comic strips. You’ve got to love Charlie Brown and Snoopy.