Media Helping People, Ministries Glorifying Christ
The Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., celebrates 15 years since his ordination this week.
Welcome to my work! My latest book of columns, "Race, Faith and Politics Today," has just won honors for Best Non-Fiction Book from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists and Best Book on Religion (Eastern/Western) in the national eLit Awards. I also presented the volume in session at last fall's Church of God in Christ Holy Convocation in St. Louis. See my COGIC news page.
My column, "Keeping Faith," also won an award this spring for best reporting from the Evangelical Press Association, the USA's largest group of born-again news outlets. This follows two honors for best newspaper series and one for best copy editing from the National Association of Black Journalists (along with a couple for best magazine single-topic series for my work in The Whole Truth, the official COGIC magazine).
Previously, the column took an honor for best use of the Bible in secular media from the longstanding and greatly respected Amy Foundation. The piece also has won awards for best standing column from the Evangelical Press Association, finishing alongside Christianity Today; religion reporting from the Religion News Association, the world's largest organization of journalists covering faith; and three straight yearly awards for general column writing given by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists plus another for coverage of issues of concern to minorities.
"Race, Faith and Politics Today," the aforementioned book compiling my columns on spirituality now out from Berean Publishing, is distributed by Ingram and available through Shopify and PayPal (as well as from several major Web portals and select bookstores). The book has Bible study and college course teaching guides available.
My latest book is good for those interested in a born-again lens on civic issues, America's racial divide, our increasingly secular culture, and a host of other trends & issues involving faith. You'll also find in it thoughts on Christian living, a practical take on theology and even the way of salvation if you'd like to pass it along to people curious about Christianity. You have the chance to read excerpts from the book and a recent interview with me about it.
I invite you to look around this website as it also has a blog on faith, Twitter feed, biographical informationand more. You may email me at email@example.com.
I love to hear from readers, so feel free to keep in touch. I welcome you to stay up with my work, too, through this site and other venues.
Elder Huckins ministers internationally by invitation at Church of God in Christ Holy Convocation 2016 in St. Louis.
Kyle's long history in media has opened doors for him to testify of Christ. He's shown doing a TV interview in Los Angeles on his first book.
The Rev. Huckins, pictured with visitors to Buggs Chapel Church of God in Christ, has ministered significantly to Caucasians, Blacks, Latinos, Natives and Asians.
The Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., column author; click on the photo to learn more about him.
As a shepherd in ministry, one follows God, teaches others how to do so, and loves the sheep. I celebrate this weekend 15 years since my initial ordination, and the occasion has me reflecting on laboring with the Lord’s people and those who would be.
Over the past decade and a half, I’ve had the chance to share the Word of God with dozens of congregations of a mixture of evangelical, fundamental, charismatic and mainline churches, some 17 different denominations and distinct movements within Christianity. This has allowed me to see how God works in diverse faith traditions and with people of widely varying social, economic, racial and other backgrounds.
I’ve heard that those who write down what they hear learn more than folks who do nothing specific with the information. An individual learns even more when vocalizing what’s taught as well as writing it down. One who teaches retains up to 95 percent of the information.
Sometimes that means we in the ministry have to recall the words of Jesus in Luke 4:23: “Physician, heal thyself!” Pastors are people, too, not sinlessness incarnated. There was only one perfect, and the world killed him for it, I often say.
Congregants often don’t realize clergy can face tests of faith, endurance, flesh and other aspects of spirituality. In fact, they may have more because the best way to ensure one has challenges in life is to accept a call to the ministry. “The devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and he knows if he can take down a preacher, he’ll probably get a few of the person’s followers, too.
These factors frequently translate into those in formal ministry not calling attention to self, insisting on titles or being treated differently from the rest of the body of believers. I’d say I agree with the pastor who said, “I preach from level ground with my members,” meaning all are equally important to God. However, I would differ with the minister who told his congregation he has no particular help for people’s troubles. If that were true, why was he in the ministry?
I think we clergy need to realize that while we’re human and should be honest about our failings, we also should aspire to high standards. We should conduct ourselves as role models for our church’s members, meaning we try to refrain from evil and meet godly requirements in every situation by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we ask God to help us, he can defeat our tendencies toward sin and help give us a good testimony.
I’m convinced we in pastoral ministry need to study to show ourselves approved, as 2 Timothy 2:15 encourages. I often go to the original languages of the Bible to glean new understanding for my congregants and always prepare beforehand for messages. I also compare translations to see what insights I can find from them.
That’s not to say one cannot preach without notes. I’ve had to speak spontaneously to assemblies many times, and I know God has helped me with his wisdom, authority and truth. The Lord supplies what’s necessary when his people must answer a call. However, failing to get ready to go before the people with the Word when one has warning is a dangerous practice.
I see one of the major problems with shepherds today is relying on automatic solutions to problems or the same tired answers to questions. The key to working with the sheep is relationship. Do our members know our voice, not just our doctrinal positions? There's a marked difference between a speaker who only comes to deliver messages and a shepherd taking responsibility for care of the flock. Unfortunately, I hear a lot that younger ministers are centered on events, such as preaching Sunday morning, but want little to do with anyone apart from that. Some don't even know what visitation is.
On the flip side, pastors are having to hit attendance and membership targets for annual performance reviews. Sometimes they even are forced to become fundraisers. This is not New Testament Christianity. It's organization without organism. Everyone in a church must work together in witness and to bear one another's burdens. If that happens, it generally results in more people coming and added money in offerings, but there is no absolute guarantee.
The calling of every church is evangelism and discipleship. Jesus Christ himself gave us the Great Commission, so we are to unite our various giftings to go forward and storm the gates of hell. The job doesn't end there, however, as our Lord told us to "make disciples." We are supposed to become complete in Christ, "lacking nothing," so we don't rely on the world, enemy or ourselves but God alone.
There are three essentials to every Christian life, I feel. They are prayer, reading the Bible and fellowship with other believers.
Prayer, as a member of my church recently said, “changes us and changes things.” Reading the Bible helps us grasp God's character and plan as well as the human condition. Fellowship wears off those prickly edges we can develop when left to our own devices too long.
We need each other in this walk of faith. I may have a word to preach, you a prayer to offer, someone else a song to sing. When we get together, all these make the meeting complete and supply what we can’t do by ourselves.
Being a clergyman isn’t the easiest calling, but it is one of the best, at least to me. Spreading the love, purpose and strength of God has blessed me – and I pray it has you, too. If so, give glory to the Lord, because it all belongs to him.
About the author: The Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., has an earned doctorate and taught both journalism and religious studies in universities, winning three honors for scholarly research on the intersection of faith and media. He's won 25 awards for professional media writing and production in a career stretching back to the 1980s and covering every mass medium. For 20 years, he's worked in public relations and marketing with outstanding results in placing articles, generating click-throughs, growing social-platform accounts, and more. Ordained in 2003, he's an elder in the predominantly black Church of God in Christ and has served congregations and denominations in numerous positions of pastoral, administrative and educational leadership. See below on this page andclick here for more on Huckins.
Huckins loves ministering to individuals and families and spent many years in both youth and adult work. He's shown with the First Family of New Bethany COGIC, the Huskeys.