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LETU Partners with Shepherd's Heart Ministry to Serve Local Pastors


LeTourneau University announced today it is partnering with Shepherd's Heart Ministry of Tyler, which seeks to mentor pastors and their families dealing with the stresses of ministry life as well as to train and equip them to minister to others suffering from burnout, depression, grief and other serious issues.

Started by Dr. James and Linda Dill of Tyler, Shepherd's Heart Ministry understands that many in ministry are inadequately trained for the heavy demands of ministry and the public scrutiny that comes with leadership. According to statistics published by George Barna, 1,500 pastors leave the ministry every month in the United States, nearly half of pastors end up in divorce and 70 % report they do not have a close friend or mentor.

Dill served for 26 years as senior pastor of Rose Heights Church of God in Tyler and has planted nearly a dozen churches and pastored eight churches during in his lifetime. He understands the need for mentoring, because as a young pastor in California 50 years ago, he was overwhelmed by the responsibilities of shepherding his fledgling church and meeting the needs of his young family. He was mentored by an elder pastor and has launched Shepherd's Heart Ministry at the age of 71 to help others in ministry leadership, just as his mentor helped him.

"LeTourneau University has chosen to partner with Shepherd's Heart Ministries because we know so many occupational hazards are facing pastors today," said Dr. Tim Watson, who is the Assistant to the President for Outreach at LETU and served as a church pastor for 24 years.

"Our goal in LETU partnering with Shepherd's Heart Ministries is to encourage and help pastors, because we feel if pastors are healthy and fulfilling their God-given potential, they will be better equipped to lead their congregations," Watson said. "A healthy pastor and a vibrant congregation is then poised to advance the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, which, for us at LETU, is articulated in our unique university vision that challenges every Christ-follower to claim, 'Every Work Place in Every Nation' for Jesus."

Classes and workshops on the following topics will be conducted by the following people at a variety of local churches and at LeTourneau University in the coming months, all coordinated by Shepherd's Heart Ministry:

• Burnout - Dr. Ron Wells, founder of Centrepoint Ministries, Tyler, TX
• Depression - Dr. Tim Watson, Director for the Center for Faith and Work, LeTourneau University, Longview, TX
• Forgiveness - Dr. Roy Sandiford, President of Youth With A Mission, Garden Valley, TX
• How to effectively implement a successful music program - Pastor Mike Parks, Director of Music Department, Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, TX
• Basic Guidelines for Church Growth - Dr. James Dill, Founder, Shepherd's Heart Ministry
• Dealing with Grief - Dr. Mike Daniels - former Psychology Department chair at Louisiana Baptist University.

Special counseling sessions will also be made available to ministry leadership, as needs arise, Dill said. Any pastors interested in attending any of the workshops or in learning more about Shepherd's Heart Ministry can call (903) 617-6830 or (903)241-2816 or visit the website at www.theshepherdsheart.org.

LeTourneau University is an interdenominational Christian university located in Longview, Texas, offering academic majors in aeronautical science, business, education, engineering, health care, the humanities and sciences. LeTourneau University also offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs for working adults online and at educational centers in Austin, Bedford, Dallas, Houston and Tyler.

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