Student Spotlight: Joseph Tobias
Joseph Tobias has a heart for social justice and the church. As an MDiv student at Logsdon and a ministry associate at Broadview Baptist Church, he is involved with both.
Tobias is one of many international students at Logsdon and is from Nigeria. Because of immigration laws, Tobias cannot work for pay outside of the university. However, he has been doing his internship under Broadview’s pastor and volunteering as the church’s youth minister.
Teaching and Learning with Youth
Tobias started working with Broadview this spring. Since then, he has helped grow the youth group from 15 students to over 25.
“Since I began working here, I’ve gained a real burden for young people,” he said. “There’s a real apathy about God and confusion about the future. Many students don’t think that they need God. Anxiety and depression are prevalent in their lives.”
Tobias says youth ministry has also helped him to be more patient with people. “I’ve learned that where I am in my journey isn’t always where they are in theirs. We are called to journey with them in their difficulties,” he said.
As a youth minister, Tobias says his most rewarding experience is when students experience a lightbulb moment, understanding something for the first time. “As I journey with someone who is struggling, I try to draw them deeper. Often, we underrate the minds of young people,” he said. “I try to push my students to see Christianity as something more than just spiritual, by something that affects their daily lives.”
Social justice issues are especially important to Tobias, especially racial reconciliation and women in ministry. “As a man, I want to arouse the conscience of other men on issues that really matter. I believe that the Holy Spirit has poured out on all believers, including women. Jesus Christ came for liberation, and he still stands with that,” he said.
Tobias says being a non-White, non-American has been a difficult experience for him. “For them (White Americans), their competence is assumed, but I have to prove myself. People have so many stereotypes, but I’m trying to help them see beyond them,” he said.
Tobias reminds his church of their role in racial reconciliation. “The Bible says that every tribe, tongue, and nation will be a part of the kingdom of God,” he said. “We can’t pray ‘thy kingdom come’ without wanting more diversity in our churches. We should start praying for a church that looks like the kingdom of God.” Tobias is working on developing an international ministry at Broadview along with another Logsdon student.
He also reminds his congregation that Jesus did not call Christians to a life of ease; he called them to take up their crosses and follow him. “There is so much ease and comfort in middle class American churches,” he said. “I have escaped poverty and hunger, but I never want to be comfortable in my faith.”
Education for a Cause
Tobias will graduate from Logsdon this May. He says he was drawn to Logsdon’s community, where he felt accepted and affirmed.
“People genuinely care about how you’re doing here,” he said. “Because of that and because of my scholarships, I can focus on the needs of my church. It takes a big weight off. It’s an environment that enables me to be more effective.”
Tobias says that his courses at Logsdon have helped him to be a better minister. “My classes have been amazing. The reading has challenged me to understand things deeper,” he said. “My relationships with my professors have been great as well.”
After graduation, Tobias hopes to work on his Ph. D. in leadership, ethics, or social justice. “We need to think about how we preach the gospel and how we teach young people. The world is changing, and we need to change as well to communicate to meaningfully.”
After his Ph. D., Tobias hopes to organize leadership conferences and ministry opportunities in Nigeria and start a church there.