Dr. Charpentier is a native of Louisiana. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biblical Studies and New Testament, respectively. His D.Min. work focused on personal disciple-making in the context of pastoral ministry. Dr. Charpentier has served in various ministry roles for over 30 years. He and his wife have been married for 25 years and have two sons.
I was born and raised in south Louisiana, and I became a Christian during my early adolescent years. Six months after my conversion to Christ, I began preaching weekly at a local nursing home and subsequently began traveling to preach for various church-related events. Then, a year after I became a Christian, I sensed God’s call to preach the Gospel vocationally. In light of this, my high school years were interesting, to say the least. My friends became employed at local grocery stores, and God opened doors for me to preach in local church revival meetings! By the time I graduated from high school, the Lord provided opportunities to travel throughout many of the southeastern states and even to Central America for preaching engagements.
While I knew in my heart that expository preaching would always be a focus in my life, my sense of God’s call was broadening beyond an itinerate ministry in vocational evangelism. I developed a deep desire for studying Scripture and sharing its truth with others in personal disciple-making relationships. In fact, this has become the passion of my life.
My heartbeat to invest in others for God’s Kingdom purposes is what fuels my focus in the classroom. As a full-time professor at GCU, my interaction with students in both formal and informal teaching settings provides great opportunities to partner with them for spiritual growth. Basically, Paul’s words to Timothy summarize my view of classroom interactions: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1-2, ESV).
What advice do I have for theology students?
If I had the opportunity to emphasize a few key biblical truths for theology students preparing for ministry leadership, I would encourage them to learn how to rest daily and joyfully in Christ’s all-sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Ministry performance – either “good” or “bad” – does not define believers. The identity of God’s servants is settled in his love for them because of their security in Christ’s perfect and complete redemptive work (Ephesians 1:3-6). The weight of ministry exceeds human abilities, and the flesh will always buckle beneath a load of local church responsibilities and expectations. Inconsistent performances in ministry will breed either defeat and depression or pride and legalism.
However, the Spirit’s power enables God’s leaders to engage fully in his service as they rest in the merit and resources of Christ’s finished work and his on-going strength in their lives (Colossians 1:28-29). The heavenly Father’s unconditional love liberates and motivates his children to serve joyfully out of gratitude for his salvation. As ministry leaders live and labor in the glorious light of the gospel, they flourish in God’s work. Before believers lead in ministry, they live as God’s adopted children. This is their true identity in Christ, and it stabilizes them throughout the turbulent storms of life and ministry service.