Trading the podium for the pulpit

Professor Mickey Klink prepares for his last semester at Biola before he makes the move to the Midwest.


Bible professor Mickey Klink checks student worksheet during his Greek class. Spring 2014 will be Klink’s last semester as a Biola professor, as he will be a full-time pastor at his church. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES

Jackie Grade, Writer

Professor of biblical studies Mickey Klink checks a student's worksheet during his Greek class. Spring 2014 will be Klink's last semester as a Biola professor, as he will move to the Midwest to pastor a church. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES


After his ninth year at Biola, associate professor of biblical and theological studies Mickey Klink will pack up his wife, three kids and 900-plus page John commentary-in-the-making and move to the familiar territory of the Midwest. As the spring 2014 semester will be Klink’s final one at Biola, I sat down to hear more about his teaching experience and new senior pastor position at Hope Evangelical Free Church in Roscoe, Illin.

Jackie Grade: How did you get started at Biola?
Mickey Klink: I did a Ph.D. in Britain, and Biola had an open position. I had a connection with Dave Talley and John Lunde that kind of opened the possibility for me to have interviews. They had already narrowed the position down to 10 people and they let me be the 11th. Somehow by God’s grace, they gave me the post … and I started in August of ‘05.

JG: What classes do you teach normally?
MK: New Testament history and lit, the gospel of John, Greek, biblical theology, John Calvin, biblical backgrounds — a few. And then some for Talbot as well for the graduate level.

JG: What classes are you teaching next semester? Anything different?
MK: I’m doing an advanced study in the gospel of John and then biblical theology and principles of interpretation. Those are the only three.

JG: Where exactly are you going next year?
MK: I’m going to the Chicagoland area. I will be the senior pastor of Hope Evangelical Free Church. It’s at the edge of the Chicago suburbs in the same county I grew up in. We didn’t plan on this — my wife and I. It feels good to be going home. My wife was born in southern Wisconsin. I was raised in northern Illinois. This is right on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin.

JG: Your wife and family are all on board?
MK: Oh yeah, my wife and I have been talking for a while. Ministry life is different. Your family is in a bit of a fishbowl kind of thing. So that is going to change the dynamics a bit. There will be extra pressure on the kids that they don’t feel now. To make a long story short, for the last three or four years, I have been sensing God pulling us toward the local church. I love being here. I feel like what we are doing here is serving the church — we’re training students to go and serve in the world in their professions. But I just feel God pulling on my heart specifically to serve in the local church myself. At the end of 2012, my wife and I … realized that God might be moving us. So I shared it with some of my close colleagues and had them praying over us, and basically, in January or February I started having conversations with various churches and pastors. And then this one church was just the right fit.

JG: And it’s right where you are from?
MK: It’s in the same county I grew up in. I haven’t been back there in 20 years. We moved closer to Chicago when we first got married and went to seminary. I lived in Britain for several years and lived here. I basically haven’t been back to that county since I graduated high school at 18, and I am 38 now. My elementary school librarian goes to this church and classmates that I had in elementary school. That feels pretty cool.

JG: What church do you go to now?
MK: I am serving right now in Garden Grove Evangelical Free Church. In this year of transition while my wife and I are preparing to leave, we decided to help a friend out. This church has kind of been struggling, so I have just been helping them out.

JG: Are you going to be doing any teaching in Illinois?
MK: Not right away, but eventually. There are two schools nearby. Wheaton College is right there. I have already got a dinner with the dean next month. And then the school that I went to, Trinity, is not far away. Eventually I would like to serve as an adjunct professor. I will miss the classroom. I will miss the student interaction.

JG: What do you look forward to most?
MK: I think I just look forward to being a pastoral shepherd, working with people. The hardest part out of being here is that you guys leave us. Most of the time I get students who have maybe one or two classes. Some of the big survey classes, I learn about 30 names. That’s about it. So, I am looking forward to being in a multi-generational context — in the church directly where I get to help lead and guide a church. I am looking forward to not just being with 20-year-olds, but 70-year-olds. I love teaching, but I think I’m craving preaching. And I love working with our students, but I think I’m craving the multi-generational aspects of it. We are preparing people to go out. But in the local church we are out. We are in that place — in that community. Doing weddings and funerals and hospital visitations and all the parts of life. I think God is just calling me more and more towards that and to proclaim the gospel to those who may not know it.

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