A Local Pastor Gains a Deeper Love for Christ and the Church
When Isaac Ampil began the Master of Arts in Theology and Mission program at Northern Seminary in 2016, he was already familiar with the school: he had previously worked as the admissions director. He says, “Through much prayer and discernment, I realized that I had wanted to personally benefit from all that I had been ‘promoting as a product’ in admissions. I already had some Bible school training through the Assemblies of God School of Ministry (Global University), but I also wanted to grow deeper in a more ecumenical setting.”
Ampil currently serves as the Community and Family Life Pastor at Oak Brook Community Church (OBCC) in Oak Brook, Illinois. He and his wife, Renee, co-lead a life group in their home, disciple families and individuals, and serve in children’s ministry. “From worship leading to preaching occasionally, counseling, and really any way God has us serve in the church, we have been actively involved by God’s grace,” he says.
As he completes his studies at Northern, Ampil is particularly grateful for relationships with students and faculty. In early meetings with his master’s cohort, he appreciated how his classmates opened up about their own experiences. “When we would share how the readings were applicable to our ministry contexts and personal lives, it created a unique space for the Spirit to work in our midst. We became more open to what God was doing and began to surrender to Him through the hard, yet necessary, transformation process.”
While there are too many to mention them all, Ampil lists several specific highlights from his program. “The friendships I made in my classes, along with the excellent teachings from my professors, have become invaluable in my life. Classes with Dr. Scot McKnight made me look at Scripture from an entirely different lens, and he helped instill a deeper hunger for the Word of God. Dr. Cherith Fee-Nordling made me cry in almost every class, as she so beautifully articulated the harmonious fellowship of the Triune God that we’ve been invited into. Dr. David Fitch would often call me out in class and put me on the spot, despite how much I didn’t want to. And I’ve always appreciated the encouragement from the faculty and staff, including the pastoral encouragement from President Bill Shiell. I loved praying with my coworkers (Greg Armstrong, Nury Smith, Josiah Black) and journeying with my fellow classmates as we discerned our learnings together and shared life.”
As he serves in ministry, Ampil says, his studies at Northern have helped give him language for various issues he has had with the church in the past. “Instead of focusing on the threats of ministry challenges, Northern has helped me to lean more into God and to ‘endure hardship, pursue the work of an evangelist, fulfill the ministry’ (2 Timothy 4:5). I have a deeper love for the Lord and for His bride than when I first started in seminary.”
Currently Ampil plans to stay in his ministry context at OBCC, until God calls him and his family elsewhere. He has also been invited to pursue ordination within the Assemblies of God, as he is a licensed minister in that denomination. “Ultimately,” he says, “we are trusting the Lord with each step!”
Ampil concludes with gratitude: “All praise, honor, and glory to King Jesus! Without Him none of this would be possible. I thank God for my loving wife, Renee, our three children (James, Jada, Jonah), my parents, siblings, our Pastors Chip and Cyndi Block, and the entire church family of Oak Brook Community Church.”