Over the last year or so, we have been working our way through a number of RTS Charlotte alumni in the Where Are They Now? series. For the complete series, see here.
This installment highlights RTS Charlotte alumnus Jonathan Dorst, class of ’99. Although I never had Jonathan in a class, he was deeply influenced by our professors Bob Cara, Dick Belcher, and Doug Kelly.
1. What are you currently doing?
Last summer I left the church I planted in Stillwater, OK, Grace Stillwater (PCA), after 11 years to become the Executive Pastor at RiverOaks PCA in Tulsa, OK with Senior Pastor Ricky Jones (RTS-J, ’95). As Executive Pastor, my duties include Community Groups, Youth Ministry oversight, Visitor Assimilation, Men’s Discipleship, and various teaching and preaching responsibilities.
2. Why did you originally come to RTS Charlotte?
I originally went to RTS to study theology. I did not think I wanted to be a pastor; my dad is a pastor and I had seen ‘behind the curtain’ of the church, though I have always loved her I knew she had many warts. But in the course of my studies I realized I didn’t want to do anything else and pursued ordination after graduation.
3. Is there one thing that you learned at RTS Charlotte that has come back to you as you have ministered to others? A phrase, encouragement or advice?
I feel like I constantly use concepts and phrases that I learned from Bob Cara, Dick Belcher, and Doug Kelly. I am currently teaching a covenant theology course and am so thankful for having been taught the unity of the Scriptures and the centrality of the cross by those, and other, professors.
4. What do you enjoy most about your current ministry?
I enjoy preaching and teaching, but I also love getting to meet newcomers to the church and helping them get involved and working to disciple the men.
5. What has been a struggle in your ministry?
The 3 biggest struggles in ministry for me have been 1) delegating and equipping people, with the attendant anxiety of having to trust people and 2) angry people who impute motives to those in authority and 3) dealing with leaders I trusted who turned out to be completely untrustworthy.
6. If you could give any encouragement to a current student in seminary, what would it be?
My biggest encouragement for a current student would be to be humble and realize you don’t know anything about ministry until you’ve been doing it for 10 years at least, and to take as many opportunities to preach as you possibly can- you won’t be good at preaching until you’ve preached at least 500 sermons.