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Physician ordained as bi-vocational pastor

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. Feb. 3, 2014 – A Union University student recently accepted a calling to a new ministry – as well as a new career.

A Master of Christian Studies student at Union University Germantown, Buffy Cook was ordained as a pastor Jan. 19. But when he felt God moving his life toward a new ministry several years ago, becoming a bi-vocational pastor was the last thing on Cook’s mind.

“I knew God wanted me to do something deeper,” said Cook, who had served as a youth pastor in 2006. “I was just waiting to see which direction he wanted me to take.”

Cook juggled his youth ministry responsibilities between working full time as a board-certified family physician and raising four children with his wife, Vicky. After sensing a need for a more formal theological education, he also began pursuing his master’s degree at Union in 2012.

Ken Easley, professor of biblical studies, said Cook flourished in his classes, as he exhibited a passion for Christ and God’s Word. Although Cook never imagined God would lead him to shepherd a church, he began to sense a need to preach in January 2013.

Resigning from his position as youth pastor in February, Cook began serving as a supply preacher at local churches, where he filled in for pastors when they were unable to preach. By November, Cook was offered a full-time job as the pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Brighton, Tenn. – a position he said he accepted only after many prayers and godly council.

Currently balancing two jobs with classes, Cook hopes to graduate from Union in 2015. Until then, he said he is not only gaining a deeper understanding of God but also learning how to better prepare sermons for his congregation.

“Becoming a pastor excites me and terrifies me at the same moment,” Cook said. “While it is a great privilege, it is also a huge responsibility, as I know I will be held to a stricter accountability than other people. But it excites me to lead a group of people to be more mature in their faith, to grow a church and to lead people to God’s kingdom.”

By Beth Knoll

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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