Below is an article published in our campus paper and written by Ben Hawkins. It tells a bit of my journey to Southwestern.
Tommy Kiker, assistant professor of pastoral ministry, long kicked against the goads before he accepted God’s call to the pastorate.
A pastor’s son, Kiker knew intimately the trials that ministers must endure as they work within the local church, and he had no desire to put himself through these struggles. For this reason, he accepted God’s call on his life at the age of 17, but with one condition: He would do anything for the Lord, but he refused to serve as a pastor.
Kiker’s transformation came gradually. During college, Kiker preached youth revivals for a whole summer, travelling up and down the eastern coast of the United States. As he did so, he grew to love the preaching ministry more and more. But his eyes were opened to God’s call only after he enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and moved into a trailer with three other students. Two of these students were training for missions, while the other one was preparing for the pastorate. Kiker came to realize that his own passions and personality aligned more with the roommate called to serve as a pastor. Soon, he surrendered to God’s will and confessed his desire to pour his life into a church.
Since that time, Kiker has grown to love the local church and the pastorate. In 2001, God placed him as pastor at Center Grove Baptist Church of Ahoskie, N.C., where he served until he entered the faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 2010. Kiker confessed that when President Paige Patterson asked him to consider teaching at Southwestern, he hesitated because he loved serving in the local church. He had no desire to leave the pastorate.
As Kiker spoke with the seminary, however, God instilled in him a vision and desire to train future pastors: “We need to show (future pastors) the reality of what full-time ministry in the pastorate is,” he said. “It is not easy. There are going to be some tough times.” On the other hand, he wants to show these students “the greatness of the call, and that it is worthy of our every ounce of energy and passion.”