Articles by Benjamin C. Shin



  • Talbot Magazine

    Shelf Life

    Recent publications from our very own Talbot Faculty.

    Sheryl Silzer, James M. Petitfils, Benjamin C. Shin, Walter Russell, Greg Ganssle — 

    "Mos Christianorum;" "Sustainable Church;" "Tapestry of Grace;" "Our Deepest Desires"

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Whether you know it or not, pastors in the church work very hard. They do a lot of things publicly like preaching, teaching, visitation, and leading; but they also do quite a bit behind the scenes like counseling, studying, planning, and praying. Unfortunately, for many pastors, it has become a thankless job. For this reason alone, it would be important for you to celebrate this upcoming October because it is Clergy Appreciation month.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    It’s wedding season and there are many ways to celebrate on that special day for the bride and the groom. One of the best ways to celebrate this occasion is through the traditional toast that is given during the wedding reception. However, I’ve recently seen that what should typically be one of the high points of the reception just flops miserably... This is not what we should do to the bride or groom! I’d like to offer a few suggestions in this blog of what not to do in a toast and then what one should do in order to make the celebration a wonderful and meaningful one.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    We have previously been working through some of the unique and distinct challenges that Asian-American couples face in regards to preparing for weddings and marriage. This blog has raised some of the issues that typically come out during pre-marital counseling sessions. The goal of this series has been to try and understand some of these cultural dynamics that may be vastly different from the many books that are out there on the subject of pre-marital counseling and marriage that may be written from a Western perspective. Some of these differences include dealing with parents, setting up appropriate wedding venues and services, transfer of authority between parents and spouses, guest lists for the wedding, and other potentially shame based challenges. This blog will now give some general and practical advice on how to resolve some of these tensions.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    In my last blog, I explored some of the key differences of the dynamics of Asian-American weddings specifically in relationship to “honoring” the parents and their guests at the wedding ceremony. In this blog, I’d like to discuss some of the challenges related to the relational dynamics of the different families prior to marriage. This will include “family matching,” approval of different vocations, and the transfer of authority from the father/mother to the husband and bride ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    In my last blog, I discussed the concept of how the parent-child relationship is viewed differently from an Eastern Asian style than a Western American style. With this difference comes the difficulty of “leaving and cleaving” as found in Genesis 2:25. This also relates to obedience from parents for a lifetime since being a child is viewed more as a permanent status rather than an age range. This is also coupled with a long-term care of the parents supported by passages such as 1 Timothy 5:8 which states that if one does not care for his family that he is worse than an unbeliever.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Recently, a friend contacted me and asked for a resource in pre-marital counseling that would be specific to some of the unique cultural needs of an Asian-American couple. I thought about this for a while and realized that I was not familiar with such a curriculum. I explained to him that I typically use material by Family Life’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey and add my own insights on some of the challenges for Asian-Americans in preparing to get married. This first blog will summarize some of those insights ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    In my last blog, I attempted to explain some aspects of shame and how it is different from guilt, as well as to show how shame should be defined more in terms of a relational understanding rather than simply a judicial aspect of exchange. This blog will show a connection between 1st century Roman culture and 21st century Asian-American culture and the lessons that can be learned from studying and comparing both.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    The dynamics of shame are one of the greatest cultural dynamics of the New Testament. This paradigm is key in understanding other concepts and various texts accurately especially as it relates to topics such as approval, reputation, glory, and status. While these practices were prevalent in the 1st century of the Mediterranean, they also have current bearing to different segments of society today, specifically Asian-Americans in the 21st century. This blog will be the first in a series of blogs that will demonstrate the correlation of Paul’s use of shame in light of the framework of Roman cultural practices as well as how it relates to modern 21st century Asian-American spiritual tendencies.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    In my last blog, I wrote on how to invite a guest speaker to a retreat well. This included knowing how to choose a speaker for your group’s needs, giving enough time to prepare for the retreat, and serving him well as he arrives to the retreat. The goal for the time at the retreat is to serve the speaker well so that he would gladly want to return in the future without a second thought. This entry will concentrate on how to host the speaker well at a retreat.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Being a retreat speaker can be an enjoyable time but can also be a challenging time. The difference maker for which outcome occurs is largely dependent on the host for the speaker. Over the years, as both a speaker and also as a host, I’ve seen some excellent treatment of speakers and also some situations that could use a lot of improvement. This will be a 2 part series of blogs in which I hope to highlight some ways to invite and host a guest speaker in which he would feel very well taken care of throughout the whole process. In this first part of the series, I will focus on how to invite a guest speaker to a retreat.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    I love my office. There are many reasons that I love my office. One is that I can store the many books that I own in there. Second, it is a place for study or reading in a quiet setting. But what I love most is that my office is a place for ministry and discipleship to occur. In other words, it is a safe place to meet students who are not only facing the challenges of academia but also the hardships of life. For this reason, the value of my office hours is priceless!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Looking over a resume in order to hire a person for ministry can be trickier than one realizes at first. This is especially true because they typically want to give the benefit of the doubt to one’s accomplishments and experiences as listed on a resume. However, it has been the experience of this writer that what is often listed on a resume may not actually be the truth. There are those who like to “stretch” the information or possibly “embellish” the facts to point in favor of the applicant. Then there are those who just flat out lie about who they really are and what they’ve done. This blog will highlight some clues or signs of “red flags” that may show up in ministry resumes.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Forming the right kind of pastoral staff or leadership team can be a very challenging endeavor. Getting the right people to work together for the long run is much more difficult than people imagine. Sometimes great individual leaders do not necessarily mean they will work well together in a team. So, how can this be remedied? But before this question can be asked, there is another important preliminary question that needs to be raised. What elements need to be in place or need to match in order to build a strong and cohesive staff? This blog will examine three aspects that need to match well in order to build a good, strong, and cohesive staff.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    I am very excited to announce that Talbot School of Theology will be launching a new Doctor of Ministry track in Asian-American Ministry in June of 2013. This is a 2-week residency that will run from June 3rd to the 14th, 2013. This track will be taught and guided by some of the most experienced leaders, instructors, and practitioners in Asian-American ministry. The track is geared towards anyone who pastors or leads Asian-Americans in a church or parachurch.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Life can be busy. This just seems to be a reality of life. And especially within the Christian world, busyness sometimes seems to translate into godliness. I have known this to be true in my own life. I have the privilege to teach each week at the seminary and interact with students and colleagues regarding very important eternal matters. I also served as the lead pastor of a church on a “part-time” basis. I’m married with two little boys who were always wanting daddy’s time. And I was finishing my dissertation for my doctorate. Just a little busy!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    The different tasks of leadership pose many challenges for a leader. It requires that the leader have a good sense of knowing the people well enough to relate to them but also for him to have a good sense of direction in terms of where he wants to lead them. Fundamentally, however, one of the most neglected aspects of leadership entails knowing exactly where the leader is in terms of self-awareness. In other words, the leader must have a good read on his own strengths and weaknesses in order to know how to best lead the people he shepherds over. This requires a strong sense of self-awareness of the leader in his giftedness, his personality, and his leadership style. This entry will examine the biblical encouragements for self-awareness and the hindrances that prevent his success in leadership.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Leading people is never an easy task. It takes great skill and character to lead people effectively. It also takes time, effort, and patience to work with people and to lead them well. All of this is part of building a relationship. Unfortunately, many leaders take “shortcuts” in trying to work with people especially in the church. These leaders are not so concerned about the well-being of the common good but may be more bent towards controlling the people with biblical power sources such as the Bible. This entry will explore and potentially warn against these misuses and will respond with appropriate biblical refutations.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    One the trickiest situations within leadership, has to do with how many people should be leading the church. Many people and cultures would strongly suggest a singular or monarchial type leader for the church while others would suggest a plurality of leaders. Which one is correct? Which model is the wisest? And what does the Word of God says about this? This entry will suggest that the Scriptures prescribe a plurality of leadership as being the wisest and most widely practiced model for leadership for the church.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Choosing the right leaders helps determine good leadership. This is true for every organization that requires leadership. Even the business world understands this important axiom. Jim Collins for example in his book Good to Great uses the analogy of getting the “right people on the bus” before any kind of leadership could move, develop, or flourish. This is not only a proven principle from experience but also something that the Pastoral Epistles certainly emphasizes. This is why following the prescription of what makes a good leader according to the Word of God is so crucial for the church. Without referring to the qualities mentioned in the Scripture, potentially wrong criteria could be imposed in choosing leaders for the church and this would be tragic!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    The whole mentorship movement continues to increase in popularity especially within the church. Many young people today are seeking out mentors. This even seems to be a value for the younger generation. But in actuality, this movement is not a new one at all but rather one that dates back even to the first century.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Leadership in the church is certainly not an easy task. It requires great diligence, faithfulness, time, energy, competence, and spirituality. The weekly demands of a pastor, for example, is much more than just preparing a sermon (even though the prep time certainly takes up a good portion of the week!). There are staff meetings, visitations, administrative duties, and many other responsibilities. Add to this, the personal responsibility of family and home life and you get a pretty full week! So how can a leader in ministry keep up all of these things, maintain a Spirit-filled life, fruitful ministry, and do so without going insane?