Dr. Tom Zempel – Model of Grace and Truth
This past Lord’s Day, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, co-laborer in calling the church back to biblical discipleship, and new friend entered the glorious reward of faith. Though I cannot say I’ve known Tom for a long time, the conversations we had together the past few years left me with a vivid impression: Tom loved Christ and others. His was a rare combination of grace and truth, kindness and commitment to Scripture. Tom was a pastor and seminary professor who dedicated his life to equipping others to minister the Word faithfully. It is an honor to have called him my brother and friend.
Tom and I resonated with each other in at least three ways.
- First, we both believe that pastoring includes counseling. In other words, you can be a counselor without being a pastor, but you cannot be a pastor without also being a counselor. The best counseling easily and naturally flows in the river of shepherding God’s people.
- Second, we both believe counseling is not primarily a specialized ministry, but is part of the discipleship strategy of the local church.
- Third, we both believe the best seminaries are those which intentionally and ruthlessly remain deeply connected to the life of a local church where a man may be tested outside of the classroom and his gifts may be confirmed by the members.
For these reasons, Tom’s ministry heartbeat was a blessing to all and he will be missed.
P.S. I was really blessed by Doug Bookman’s tribute, Goodbye for Now.