So, Monday is a pretty big day.
Monday morning, January 29th, I will defend my doctoral dissertation.

It’s been quite a ride, these past 3 ½ years.

The journey has been challenging, inspiring, frustrating and fulfilling all at once.
The course work, seminars, papers, research, project proposals, interviews and thesis writing (along with this little day job I have) have all served to confirm my belief in, and deepen my reliance upon, the all-sufficient and sustaining Grace of a God who is more than enough.

“More-than-enough” is not a bad way to think of God, you know.
According to Galatians 3:20, “…we have found this God to be able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” due to the great love and power that is at work within us.

This great love and power has expressed itself in the most beautiful ways over these past years. I find myself deeply grateful for the way in which you, as a congregation, have supported me in pursuit of this terminal degree. What has been a personal, life-long goal for me has been amplified (or as 2 Timothy 1:6 says, “fanned into flame”) by your encouragement.

DefendingBlog2Your regular inquiries, hallway conversations, and notes of support have meant the world. Perhaps one of the most delightful moments came when longtime JCBC member, Mallie Gilliam learned that I would soon be “defending” my dissertation. So, to help “fit me for battle,” she purchased and gifted me a Japanese sword to take into my defense.
Not kidding. An honest-to-goodness sword.

(One of our pastors suggested I wear it into the oral defense, strapped on the outside of my suit, and never acknowledge or address that it’s there. Just wear it. Like a boss.)

Ok. Think I will.

One of my greatest objectives as I began this journey, was that the pursuit of this degree would not interfere with (or diminish in any way) the effectiveness of my ministry as senior pastor of JCBC. One person who ensured that objective was met from beginning to end, was my Executive Assistant, Rhonda Byrd. Her professional attentiveness to every detail of our ministry enabled me to devote adequate time to my research, with confidence. Without her partnership in ministry, it simply could not have happened.

It also could not have happened without an amazing ministry staff.  More than any other group, the JCBC ministry staff knows intimately the kind of time and energy that it has taken to complete this journey. In many ways, they enabled it. Were it not for the high level of capacity and deep sense of call each one of them has for our shared ministry, I could not have accomplished this task. They understood and accommodated, and I could not be more grateful.

The journey is by no means complete.
If Monday’s oral defense goes well, I will then make final adjustments/edits, and then begin the process of submitting the work for publication. Then, we wait for May when graduation and a hooding ceremony signify the final culmination of this amazing journey.

(Of course, if things go badly Monday, I suppose another blog will be in order.)

Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.

Shaun King
Senior Pastor
Johns Creek Baptist Church

12 Comments. Leave new

  • Melba Franklin
    January 24, 2018 1:00 pm

    So proud of you!!!!!! Good job good and faithful servant. You serve your constituents above and beyond while working on a life-long goal. So proud of you and confident that the “hooding” ceremony is yours in May!!!!! Thank you for loving us!

  • Celia Bazemore
    January 24, 2018 1:36 pm

    Congratulations! We have loved having you for our pastor and watch church livestream every Sunday, since we are not able to attend. So proud to call you our pastor.
    Earl and Celia Bazemore

  • Celia Bazemore
    January 24, 2018 1:38 pm


  • David Blankenship
    January 24, 2018 1:42 pm

    Congratulations, Shaun, on yet another tremendous accomplishment and milestone in your life and ministry. Our prayers will be with you on Monday as you defend your Thesis. I have NO DOUBT whatsoever that you will do an outstanding presentation, with or without the sword that beautiful, loving Mallie provided. Neither do I have any doubt that YOU will be able to incorporate the sword into the presentation in your customary, very talented, creative way.

    I have not told you how I love you being my/our pastor, but I’m telling you now with very genuine, heartfelt feelings.

    Sincerest best wishes always My Brother.


  • You will, “fight the good fight” on Monday and win! I have no doubt! Dr. Shaun, Dr. King, Sir King, Dr. Sir Shaun??? Hmmmm? Soon, very soon! Prayers abound for you as you take this next step. Pam Lan

  • Congratulations,you have done and are doing a terrific job with so many irons in the fire.

  • Thomas W Williams
    January 24, 2018 4:41 pm

    I was on the pastor search committee at FBC Etowah that enticed you to be our pastor. I remember telling my wife Elizabeth that you were destined for “greatness” and now I see that has come true. By using the word greatness I do not in any way mean to diminish our great love and respect for you. We think God that you passed our way

  • I am sure you will defend your dissertation brilliantly just as you deliver the most insightful lessons and messages each week.

  • Praying daily for you and your staff. God speed!

  • Shaun the Lee community will be praying for you. You are an awesome pastor and we all know God has His hands on you .
    What an accomplishment God has lead you through.

  • I get goosebumps realizing that this day is about to arrive for you. And I also experience deja vu for a very special reason. In 1970 I had the great experience of participating at Wieuca Road Baptist in one of Bill Self’s focus groups as he prepared his doctoral dissertation. As I remember it, his dissertation involved a study of the most effective means of communication from the pulpit to the pew. Hey, there was no heavy lifting and I got to watch closed circuit TV for three Sundays. Now, although I have only been a cheerleader this time, I am so excited to see this day arriving for you. .

  • Shaun,
    Wow, so the time has arrived. I imagine that the past 3 1/2 Years have at times seemed an eternity and at others a brief whirlwind of activity.

    Speaking for Linda and I, we can’t imagine your service as our pastor being any better and your sermons being full of content and well presented. I’m looking forward to what you will have for us when your attention is no longer divided by study for your doctorate.

    Please let me know what time you will be making your presentation so that we may lift prayers for you at that time.

    Confident that you will do well and will soon be “hooded”.

    Have I told you lately that I love you being our pastor. Well I do.

    Blessings, Dennis


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