This month, we sit down for coffee and a chat with Patrick Schlabs, Worship Pastor at St. Peter’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Patrick is working on completing his MDiv degree at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and also contributes to Three Streams, The Mission’s blog.Pull up a chair and join us in learning about his passion for cultural transformation and how he helps create ecumenical worship resources for the local Church.
What gets you up in the morning (energizes/motivates you)?
I love the idea of cultural transformation. I’ve always enjoyed people watching and participating in the normal rhythms of a city, but I’ve recently begun to develop a deeper understanding of how that fits into the Kingdom of God. And so of late, I’ve been obsessed with reflecting on certain aspects of culture and how they would look if the gospel took root and truly began to transform it. What aspects of the art, business, or education would be augmented? What aspects would fade away? What would the Kingdom of God look like as it takes shape in the reality of my neighborhood? That’s the question that motivates me these days. (Of course, none of that thought happens without good coffee, so that’s a factor as well.)
What is your daily devotional rhythm, or what does your own spiritual formation look like on a daily basis?
In my early 20’s, I had a season of intense discipline where I woke up really early and tried to read 10 or 12 chapters of the Bible every day. As you can imagine, I soon collapsed under the weight of that and didn’t make time for devotionals at all. I then spent a couple years back and forth between those two extremes. Thankfully, I’ve spent the last few years learning to balance grace and discipline within Anglican spirituality. That being said, most days, I read the Daily Office and pray the weekly Collect from the BCP. I also try to pray through morning or evening prayer at least once per week.
What is the most encouraging or memorable thing that happened in your life and ministry in the last year?
I am a part of a liturgical music collective in Charleston called Holy City Hymns. We’ve spent the last several years building relationship with like-minded worship leaders and partnering together to create resources for the Church. We’ve also had the opportunity to participate in ecumenical worship gatherings in the Anglican cathedral in the heart of our city. This past year, we gathered on Good Friday with over 500 people from churches across the city to reflect and respond to the grace of God revealed through the cross of Christ. It was powerful and so encouraging to hear so many voices lifting up the name of Jesus in Charleston.
What person has most impacted your life, and why?
It may sound a bit trite, but my wife has impacted me greatly. We married really young and have spent the last 10 years growing up together. She’s loved me through discouraging seasons. She’s taught me grace and daily dependence upon the Holy Spirit. She’s helped me grow as a husband, father and leader in the church. I am unspeakably grateful for her.
What is one accomplishment in the past that you are proud of, and what is one thing that you would like to accomplish in the future?
Honestly, I’m proud that I’ve been able to be in ministry for nearly 12 years. It’s been really difficult and discouraging at times, but the Lord has been faithful in the midst of it all.
I’m about 25% finished with an MDiV through Gordon Conwell and I would love to finish that in the next three years!