Well, you "clicked" the "Bio" option, so I guess you want to know a little bit about me. First and foremost, I am honored, and am not really sure where to begin, so...
Ahem, ahem.. (Clearing my throat)
I have often noticed, when you click a “Bio” option on a website for someone, you normally see a long list of “academic credentials” to follow. Whether it is a first level associate's degree (2 years), second level bachelor’s degree (four years), third level master’s degree specializing in a discipline requiring two years after the four-year bachelor's degree, or the fourth academic level of a doctoral degree (spending an average 10-15 years after first entering college), you are not going to find any of these “academic credentials” on my “Bio.”
A bit surprising? Who does this guy think he is?
I am what is known as an “autodidact.” An autodidact is someone who believes that self-education, self-learning, and self-teaching, without the guidance of a centralized institution with teachers or professors is just as or maybe even more beneficial.
This is because for the past nine years, I have been able to choose subjects I WANT to research and study, to my own rhythm, on my own time, and on my own dime (which is not much...). I research and study very intensely, both pro and anti Christian materials. I do my best to keep up with the latest trends, and so far none of it has pulled me away from believing in Jesus' Resurrection. All this study has only increased my faith in a biblical worldview and exposed many errors. If I found some type of certain evidence that it was all a "sham," with a heavy heart, I walk away from the faith, but I am a seeker for truth, and will not believe a lie, no matter how difficult it would be to change a world view. I have had some “formal” education obtaining certificates and training when and where I feel it will complement an area that will be beneficial for and to me in the ministry as well.
The problem for me and autodidacts in general today, is that we are but a small minority of people that do not choose to pursue an advanced academic education, therefore we do not have the “academic credentials” that jobs are looking for today.
“Sorry sir, you are not qualified, you do not have a degree in…”
“But, but, I have a ton of experience..”
“Sorry sir, you need a degree in (insert here), you are not “qualified”, but have a nice day.”
Door slams, and on to the next waste of time…
I imagine this is happened to many folks out there, looking for work in both secular and church institutions, because employers need to see that you have and paid for that 1st level associates degree costing between $25,000 and $30,000, 2nd level bachelor’s costing possibly another $24,000 or more, 3rd level master’s costing between another $30,000 and $120,000, or the honorary 4th level doctorate, costing another $100,000 or more. Please correct me if I’m wrong with these figures…
Many autodidacts, such as myself, fall into another level which would be categorized as a 5th level. This consists of being “experience based.” This comes from many years of personal study, research, and practical life experience, which is just as hard and grueling work as higher education offers.
Employers nowadays place more emphasis on a degree rather than experience, so autodidacts have a serious problem when they are looking for employment. While “experience” and “self-learning” may be “good” to add to a resume, if there is no “degree” on there, your resume is usually instantly put to the side. It’s clear that people who have a degree in higher education have significant advantages over their peers.
According to my research, most employers look for the following attributes, in decreasing importance (notice what is listed first) when hiring: Relevant work experience, good work ethic/attitude, degree subject studied, ability to be a team player, mature attitude, class of degree, easygoing, cheerful attitude, reputation of university attended, ambitious and career-minded, and natural leadership.
Not to dwell on this subject too long, but I am actually more saddened to say, that most people view what level of degree you have as a type of social status as well. With that being said, I do tend to think that society has put an excessive reliance on academic degrees, over-emphasizing them, and determining an achieved social status based on academic merit.
For my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ, who have attained some type of formal theological training and “frown” upon people that choose to be an autodidact, before you do, please take into thoughtful consideration the next time you reference A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, and/or Watchman Nee (just to name a few), as they also were autodidacts among countless others. There were and are many influential people that have chosen this path of “self-learning.”
I lived most of my life as an unbeliever and became a believer when I was 32 years old. I am now 41 years of age, and I view Scripture as “authoritive” in my life, and take great comfort in verses such as Acts 4:13. If you do not know it offhand – read it. It is about two common, ordinary, unschooled, or as some translations say, “uneducated” men who “amazed” the religious elite of the day with their courage and boldness. Without them impacting the spread of early Christianity, who knows where we would be today!
What I have learned over the years and have been able to share with unbelievers and believers all over the world are a wide range of topics from apologetics, evangelism, and pastoral care. I advocate Biblical beliefs, teachings, and explore the changing shape of evangelical Christianity and the evolving culture around us.
I would like to think that I offer a fresh perspective on spiritual transformation and church renewal. I believe whole heartedly that there needs to be a spiritual awakening of the Christian laity and the church NEEDS to return to its biblical roots. It’s not that I am against institutional Christianity, but I do see some flaws in many approaches that need to be dealt with. We are to influence the culture around us, not have the culture influence the church. A lot of the services I have attended, it would seem to be that I walked into a rock concert, messages being preached from a stage, and the prosperity gospel often being pushed. Believers are not being taught how to defend the faith, have no idea what and why they believe what they believe, and Christianity is just “another way” to get to God.
Also, most institutional churches are led by a spiritual figure such as a “pastor” that is just not capable of doing what people expect them to do, which in all honesty, the functions people desire for them to do are not following proper biblical protocol. According to a New York Times article published on August 1, 2010 it states –
"Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”
It also states -
"1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.”
That was 8 years ago, and since it is now 2018 as I write this, I can only imagine that these statistics have increased at a higher percentage!
It’s not that I am proposing a shift toward organic churches, but this certainly is an option. If institutionalized Christianity were to pioneer a church experience according to New Testament principles, not run it like a business, and not treat the pastor like a CEO, then we, as believers would be able to restore what is obviously broken.
A little about me and then I’ll wrap this “Bio” up...
I was born on July 19th, 1976 on Long Island, New York. In 1987, when I was eleven years old, my family and I moved to Hilltown, Pennsylvania. I would say I had a pretty normal childhood, up until my parent’s divorce in 1992. I stayed with my dad and my sisters went with my mother. This is when I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol. I also started to see how challenging and difficult life could be with no hope as an unbeliever.
I talk about this in great detail in my book, “Blue Collar Believer,” which if you are interested in purchasing a copy, it is available in a hard copy or download digital form suit for a Kindle, Nook, etc.. I have the information on the Home Page. It is basically my testimony of my life before and after becoming a believer.
Anyhow, since this is not a testimony, just a short “Bio,” after living as an unbeliever for 32 years, after extensive research into world religions and a personal experience of a “Divine Intervention” that I could not deny, I became a Christian on the morning of December 8th 2008. My life has never been the same. I came out of the darkness and finally began to see the light.
Ever since then, I have to say that I have been “On fire for Christ.” I have dedicated my life to serving Him and sharing the truth of the Gospel message. I have been involved in multiple ministries before, but I feel as though I have been “led “to start this one.
This ministry is not designed to make a substantial profit. All my book, speaking engagements, wedding, and funeral proceeds will go to ministry expenses and funding to market my book which I was never financially able to do and is quite pricy. I also have intentions of making my book in an audio format, because I realize although I like to read, most of the world really does not. So any proceeds that are made from this ministry are for my ministry efforts, and my regular 40 hour a week “Blue Collar” job will go to feeding my family and keeping a roof over their heads.
I guess also on a “Bio,” you will read about a person’s qualifications, achievements, and personal quality, so I’ll address a little bit of that here. I specialize in personal pastoral care and I am extremely compassionate to those who need spiritual support and undergoing difficulties in their lives, or facing end of life issues, with a strong emphasis on spiritual distress.
I am self-disciplined in living the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). I have strong encouraging faith building skills and a high quality of oral and written communication skills. I have a demonstrated history of successful grief counseling and work comfortably and respectfully across cultures and various belief systems due to a pastoral apologetics mindset.
I enjoy writing, helping those in spiritual need, and in my free time, I read, am a New York Giants, New York Islanders, and New York Mets sports fan, but I value and cherish spending time with my family the most. I have been married for over eleven years to my high school sweetheart and we have three young children together.
I pray that this website will help and encourage many, and may it lead the lost to Christ.
The Lord has used me to lead unbelievers to Christ and help to encourage church leaders, elders, and laymen and women in a variety of ways. I have been told that people like my “Blue-Collar” style and approach, so if I can be of assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.
For information regarding the book I have written, "Blue Collar Believer," please go to the menu, and click the services tab.
It is available in hard copy or digital format versions.
My publisher, WestBow Press, did a phenomenal job in putting together a wonderful advertisement for it. It is also on the services page, so make sure you check it out and give it a "like". ;-)
Thanks and God bless.
Yours in Christ and humbly,
William H Schnakenberg IV
William H Schnakenberg IV
Blue-Collar Believer Pastoral Apologetics
1 Corinthians 15:19-20 – “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Romans 10:9-10 – “..if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”