Interview with Clint Birkeland, NWNW Student Ministry Coordinator

New Wine Director Dr. Paul Louis Metzger recently interviewed Clint Birkeland, who has agreed to serve as the New Wine, New Wineskins Student Ministry Coordinator. Clint will be helping to provide leadership to Multnomah University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary students who desire to expand their capacity to incorporate New Wine values into their lives, work, and ministry ventures at church and beyond. We at New Wine are excited that Clint will be serving in this way!

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger (PLM): Clint, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Clint Birkeland (CB): I’m in my 3rd semester in the MATS program here in the seminary. I am particularly interested in reading Patristic theology. Theology is done best in community, both the community of the church now and throughout history. I am excited to talk with people about God, because the more I learn about who he is, the deeper my appreciation, wonder, and love for him gets. I live in Washougal, WA with my wife where we attend Gateway Community Church. We’ve volunteered on youth staff there for close to 10 years and have a passion for mentoring students.

PLM: What led you to New Wine?

CB: I grew up in a small town where I did not experience much diversity. I heard that New Wine’s goal is to engage with culture in meaningful ways without compromising our Christian convictions. I got to learn more about some of the events when I became your teaching assistant and decided that getting involved with New Wine events would be a great way for me to grow in engaging cultures outside my own.

PLM: How do you see New Wine benefitting your work in ministry in your local church context?

CB: The past few years we have been recognizing that we could be doing more to reach the entire community in our area. Working with New Wine, especially as we engage pressing issues in our society, will help equip me for engaging other cultures in our community. 

PLM: What excites you about helping students at Multnomah University and Biblical Seminary integrate New Wine values into their lives, work, and ministry ventures at church and beyond?

CB: I am excited about New Wine’s goal to help equip churches to more effectively engage with culture. Many of our students are going to be involved in church leadership in one way or another, even if they are not going to be pastors. It is important for us to engage our culture on the difficult issues we are facing in our society. New Wine can equip us to meaningfully engage on issues such as race and class, sexuality and gender, faith and science, and religious pluralism.

PLM: How can people connect with you in cultivating and honing their ministry skills in conversation with New Wine values?

CB: My goal is to make myself available. I am still struggling to learn how to engage other cultures more effectively, and I am excited to walk alongside other students in this. I would love to have conversations over email, the phone, or in person to carry on the conversations we are having in our forums and events.

PLM: What closing thoughts do you wish to share with our readers?

CB: I am excited about New Wine’s mission to transform the church’s conflicts. As someone who struggles with how to effectively engage cultures different from my own, I am convinced that it is necessary for us to learn how to engage the people around us with love and truth for the sake of our common good.