AGTS Alumni Perspective: Robert A. Willis
Name: Robert A. Willis
Graduation Year: December 2020
Major: Master of Arts in Christian Ministries
Current Position: Campus Pastor
City and State: Lavaca, AR
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I have the privilege of serving as a campus pastor with The Link Church. We are a multi-site church, with five campuses across three counties in Arkansas. In addition to leading our Lavaca campus, I serve as the director for Link School of Ministry, which exists to equip leaders throughout the Arkansas River Valley region.
What is your favorite memory from AGTS?
In 2014, I had the opportunity to attend the second annual Faith and Science Conference at Evangel. AGTS offered an intensive that week that focused on Genesis chapters 1-11. Taking the class in conjunction with the conference was one of the greatest experiences of my academic career. Although the plenary and breakout sessions were heavily attended, there were only about five or six of us in the class at AGTS that week, including masters and doctoral students. The small classroom setting, under the direction of Dr. Steve Badger, provided opportunity for dialogue on the early portion of Genesis that significantly impacted my understanding of human origins and of the true value of the Genesis account.
How did AGTS help you identify/develop your calling?
Although I had a basic understanding of my calling before coming to AGTS, my journey here has enabled me to refine and articulate that calling in a whole new way. I have been continually challenged and enriched by my studies at AGTS. What I have especially appreciated is that my education here has been tailored to my role as a pastor. Although balancing ministry and studies has at times been challenging, I’ve never felt that the two were in competition. On the contrary, much of my education has had direct application within my current ministry context, and ministry has enabled me to draw from real life experiences for academic purposes.
How did your experience at AGTS prepare you for life after graduation?
Due to health complications, I was forced to withdraw from my studies for a good while, which means that my academic journey has taken longer than what is typical for MA students. During the intermediate period before I resumed studies, I continually drew from what I learned during my time here. Since returning to AGTS, I have once again found that what I am learning makes me more effective as a leader. Following graduation, I intend to continue in my roles at The Link Church. My AGTS experience has allowed me to draw from a variety of perspectives while refining the vision that I’m actively pursuing in ministry. This journey has been of inexpressible value to my role as a leader.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Students who are preparing for the workforce should not view their education in terms of theoretical application. On the contrary, I would encourage them to develop a clear vision for the future and to begin integrating what they are learning into that vision. At the same time, I would encourage them not to forget to build relationships with other students. They will not only find this personally enriching, they will also find those relationships to be a valuable resource in their future. Relationships provide the opportunity to continue drawing from various perspectives among those who are also applying academics in the context of leadership.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from AGTS?
When I first began attending AGTS, our leadership had much to say about “Knowledge on Fire.” This is precisely what I am looking for in terms of staff members. Those I will hire must successfully demonstrate the reality that a person can be both educated and anointed. Graduates who exhibit an unwavering dependence on the manifestation of the Spirit, while also demonstrating competence as preachers and scholars will have my full attention.
The following is a link to an article that Robert wrote for Influence Magazine that focuses on the irony of serving a God who works miracles while at the same time dealing with prolonged suffering:
Below is an article that was written by AG News about Robert’s family:
Below is a mini-documentary that was produced by The 700 Club: