Three Questions: Adam Buyer

Three Questions is a semi-regular series introducing individuals across the NAB by asking them about their story, their ministry, and what they are learning. This week, we hear from Adam Buyer, lead associate pastor of Terwillegar Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta. (Adam will also be leading one of the morning devotional times during Triennial 2024. Don’t forget to register!)

What’s your story?

I was raised in Edmonton, Alberta, an NAB pastor’s kid to Lyle and Jeannie Buyer (maybe you know them!). Naturally, I was heavily involved in the local church. At a young age, this looked like children’s choirs, snow shoveling the church sidewalks, and helping out with various events. As I grew up, I served on worship teams and the youth ministry team, as well as summer camp. I’ve always loved the local church. I began adulthood by marrying my high-school sweetheart, Jalene. We spent our first year of marriage serving at a ministry base in Scotland.

When we returned to Canada, I began pursuing a career in carpentry. For several years, I was building houses all around Calgary while my wife attended school. During this season, my wife and I served at our local church in various ways and engaged in our own music ministry, writing and recording an album in 2013. We were also really engaged in summer camp ministry. During this season, a call to full-time ministry was stirring in my heart. This call resulted with me transitioning from carpentry to being a full-time Bible college student at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta.

I finished my bachelor of arts degree in Pastoral Ministry in 2017 and accepted a call to serve at Terwillegar Community Church immediately following my graduation.

I’ve been serving as a full-time pastor there for seven years in a few different roles. During this time, my wife and I have had three miracle children. They are miracles because we were told after a six-year infertility journey that we would never have kids; but that diagnosis wasn’t the Lord’s plan. In addition to starting a family and beginning in pastoral ministry, I was able to complete my master of divinity at Taylor Seminary. I was ordained in 2023 and have taken up running marathons as a hobby.

What’s ministry like for you?

When I think about ministry, I often think about one of my favourite verses, Colossians 3:1–2: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (ESV). I see in ministry the opportunity to help other followers fix their eyes and their minds on Jesus to help them live out this verse. This has always been one of my favourite aspects of worship leading, too – guiding others in reorienting their hearts and minds to Jesus. This element of ministry shows up often, in foyer conversations over a coffee with a friend, writing a church newsletter, or preaching from the pulpit. Whatever I am engaging in, I hope to help others “set their minds on things above.”

I do this in my role as a lead associate pastor in a few ways. I give leadership to our adult discipleship initiatives at our church, keeping the goal of Christlikeness before our various ministries. I get to do it as well through preaching; I LOVE preaching and teaching the Bible. I get to do this while I lead our men’s ministry. It is such a blessing to walk along others in this way.

What are you learning?

The Lord has been teaching me just how true it is that the Holy Spirit is the one who brings about fruit. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Psalm 127:1). “I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7–8). I often catch myself labouring in ministry as if it is my effort and work that will bring about fruitfulness. I often trade in prayer for restless worrying and endless sermon editing. I go about discipling relationships as if it is my job to convict others of sin, or righteousness. In the midst of my exhaustion, God’s gentleness has been inviting me to greater prayerfulness and trust in the work of the Spirit in the lives of individuals and in his church.

There is a meme I think of often. A white-haired gentleman is looking at a computer and says, “I write a great sermon, and no one likes it. I preach a bad sermon and everyone loves it.” The next frame he is looking into the camera and says, “I have no idea what I am doing.” Maybe it is just me, but that resonates a little too much! Yet, it is a reminder that eternal fruit is not the product of a great sermon or spot-on pastoral advice. I’m learning and re-learning that Jesus is ministering in his church, he is working in the lives of his people, and he has graciously invited me to join him in his work. This is a lesson I imagine I will be learning and re-learning for many years to come.