Name: Jan Luca Fürschbach
Age: 20 years old
Education: High school graduate
1. What are your talents and strengths?
I see my strengths as being in teaching and preaching. In addition, I’m a very visionary thinker. I’m technologically talented and good at handling information.
2. What career did you want to pursue before you became a believer? What were your passions?
I wanted to study civil engineering, because I was excited by the idea of following projects through to fruition and calculating construction work that would later be visible.
3. In what ways were you shaped by your parents and your home environment?
I was raised to be independent. In addition, my mother placed a high value on cleanliness and tidiness.
4. When and how did you become a believer? How did your change of heart to become a pastor come about? Was there a specific situation that acted as a catalyst?
It came about around the time when Angela Merkel was the chancellor of Germany, that a little eleven-year-old boy confessed his sins and asked a gracious God to forgive him, because he had been told that if he didn’t he would go to hell and suffer for all eternity. Maybe that sounds a little strange, but that’s how it was (I think).
I just continued on somehow, but my life didn’t change until I visited the church’s youth group when I was seventeen years old. I started going to youth group regularly and somehow my heart changed with time. During one of the youth group services, there were missionaries from Africa. I thought they were so cool that I thought, “I want to go to Africa too!”
So I thought that after graduation I would go to Africa. But it didn’t turn out that way. Through various circumstances I found “JMEM” through a friend. I did an apprenticeship program in Freiburg. During this program I received the vision and calling to become a pastor.
5. Aren’t you worried that a pastor’s life can be boring and stressful? Sacrifices, high moral requirements, continual interactions with annoying people or even unemployment?
I find it difficult to imagine that a life in which one experiences how God works miracles, heals people and changes their lives can be boring. Additionally, only those things one does for Christ count towards eternity. So there is nothing as fulfilling as working for Jesus.
6. Couldn’t you build the Kingdom of Heaven just as effectively as an entrepreneur or politician?
I can also try to bake bread if I’m a butcher, but it won’t work very well. A butcher makes the sausage that makes the bread taste delicious. Similarly, a farmer produces grain and meat. Each of these on its own is not really useful. The good comes from the combination of the different parts.
In the same way, it depends on the calling that I have.
Only when I am following my calling, can I implement my talents and passions efficiently.
Whether I have a calling in full-time service, in politics, or in entrepreneurship doesn’t make a difference at that point. The important thing is to follow one’s calling and the commandment to make disciples.
7. THS-Academy you receive realistic insights into the everyday life of a pastor – what does it look like? What do you especially like about this, and what don’t you like?
If I want to build a good work as a pastor, I have to work just as hard as I would in any other job. Maybe even harder.
I have to structure my everyday life well and work with discipline. Waste as little time as possible. I like this as much as I also don’t like it, because it takes a difficult learning process to implement this type of discipline. But if one succeeds, one can accomplish a lot.
In addition, there are those people with whom one is entrusted, and one is allowed to see how God changes their lives through us.
8. What must a developing pastor absolutely learn?
Dependence on God alone – I can’t let my success be dependent on the opinions of other people.
Humility – A pastor should know who he is and live accordingly. He should never allow an outward impression to develop that he is somehow better than others.
For I believe that when people see that the pastor is a person just like them, with problems and weaknesses, they are more willing to follow him.
9. Many pastors dream of great breakthroughs and church growth and are ultimately disappointed. Some leave. Why do you think this is?
If pastors make their success dependent on numbers, that is already wrong.
I believe success is exclusively measured by whether I fulfill God’s will for my life.
If God is pleased with me and that is the measure of my success, then it is unimportant how big my church is; I will always be able to continue on.
10. Why did you decide to undertake your studies through THS-Academy, rather than through another theological college?
Other colleges that I know of are too theoretical for me. As a pastor I need a good mixture of practical experience and theology. I believe that THS has the right mixture of both.
11. So far, what have you learned most? How have you changed through this program?
I believe this program leads students more and more into a leadership position, as this is what we want to become. We want to be leaders in the body of Christ. And the THS-education shows us over all three years what it means to be a leader in God’s church: the responsibility, preparation and hard work that comes with it, but also the fruit that comes from it.
Through active work in the church, one sees the lives of people change, character formation, and healing of the broken.
12. When you imagine a typical week in 10 years – you can dream big – what does it look like?
I would spend a lot of time on the phone, making plans with spiritual leaders of all denominations about how we can lead God’s church forwards and bring unity. I would prepare sermons and teachings for my colleagues. I would plan events and spend a lot of time with God.