Welcome to my website. I’m Agshin (pronounced Uhk-sheen), and here I share the joys and challenges of doing cross-cultural ministry with emphasis on teaching the Bible and comparative theology, the call of my life. I bet we share a sense of the call if after reading the list below your heart skips a beat or two. See which question makes you say, “Yeah! I was wondering about that!”
Do you ever wonder how to benefit spiritually from puzzling and sometimes downright embarrassing passages of the Bible without being defensive about it?
Do you look for open-ended, thought-provoking, and conversation-based Bible study aids that bring in various perspectives to deepen your faith?
Have you ever been interested in teaching the Bible cross-culturally like teaching it to someone who grew up in another faith?
Do you want to do a one-on-one, in-depth Bible study adjusted to your context and needs?
If you said, “Aha!” as you read any of those questions, then you are in right place. Be my guest; let me share with you my 10+ years of experience that combines doing ministry, studying Christianity and Islam, teaching the Bible to internationals and immigrants, and communicating the depths of a mature faith to believers.
Our lives become better and meaningful when we share it with others. So… join me in this journey, and let’s grow into Christ (Eph. 4:15).
If you are interested in checking my credentials, please continue reading.
I graduated with a BA (1998) and MA (2000) in law from Baku State University, Azerbaijan. Have you ever heard of that nation? (Why don’t you google it?) From then on I worked as a lawyer in the constitutional court and as an instructor in the university.
As a former lawyer, I bring to Bible studies an attention to detail, an openness to conflicting perspectives, deep yet simplified hermeneutics, and a keen eye for patterns. I systematize and present complex issues in easy-to-understand language.
In 2009, I gained my MDiv degree from Western Theological Seminary, Holland MI, and was ordained in the Reformed Church in America. Then in 2016, I got my ThM degree from the same school.
As a minister I’m good at designing and leading cross-cultural Bible studies and in-depth Bible teaching. I speak several languages (English, Russian, Turkish, Farsi, Azeri for communication, ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek for research) and I love comparative theology. In my Bible studies, I use the Socratic method for the intellectually gifted and draw upon a wide variety of sources from many cultures of the world.
In ministry I wear many hats, but so far, four of them show up over and over again: 1) campus ministry with international students; 2) teaching and preaching in churches (and in seminary whenever invited) with a focus on comparative theology of Islam and Christianity; 3) hospitality outreach that connects churches with refugees and helps refugees to adapt; 4) consulting pastors and ministers on cross-cultural ministry and Christian-Muslim relations.
I live in Southwest Michigan, and my ministry spans between Grand Rapids, Holland, and Kalamazoo.
Now that we more or less got the formal introduction out of the way, let me tell you why I created this website and what you will find here.
I created this website because I believe blogging is one of the few mediums where my love for writing, ministry, and entrepreneurship can be united. I love writing, but my day-to-day ministry requires a lot of talking and meeting with people, which is great. But then what to do with the itch that is only soothed when I write? Of course, write some more. And share some more.
So here you will find lots of posts about ministry, practical tips and tricks about ministry, reading the Bible, teaching the Bible, and reflections on how to surrender yourself to the Spirit so that God may grow a mature faith within you.
I love doing ministry, but what should I do with the vision that doesn’t fit into the rigid box of institutional ministry? My answer? Start creating my own vision-based ministry with a blog.
So here you will find my once-in-a-blue-moon rants about mission work and the politics of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. But then I may rant about Dostoevsky or Rumi or argue about why the Qur’an should be read in context of the Bible just to help you see how complex and tangled these books really are.
I love entrepreneurship. Years ago when I was a lawyer, I created a firm and worked there until I left the company. But nowadays, I have to — how do I say it? — settle for a risk-free life. Which is a bummer, however you look at it.
So what to do? I decided to create this website to offer my services and provide people with a value that deepens their faith and broadens their vision. I decided to take a chance and do online ministry by combining my skills, education, itch for writing, and the urge to create a self-sustaining work.
That’s it. Now you know who (and why) writes long posts on this website.