“Godly wisdom … is best cultivated within a community of believers.”
Michael Glodo

St. Paul’s was packed. Young and old alike gathered at the church on the first Lord’s Day of 2023 to launch a new Sunday school series on the book of Proverbs taught by Mike Glodo, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at RTS Orlando. It was not an uncommon scene. As people were catching up from the holidays, the hum of conversation filled the fellowship hall as moms and dads, newlyweds and singles, working folk and retirees, longtime members and newcomers took their seats in anticipation of the class to begin. Reflecting on Proverbs 1:1–7, Glodo defined wisdom as “skillfulness in living according to the masterful Creator’s ways.” To grow in wisdom, Israel needed Solomon, the primary author of Proverbs, children need parents, and students need professors. Godly wisdom, in other words, is best cultivated within a community of believers like St. Paul’s, a vibrant neighborhood congregation located in Orlando, Florida, just a few minutes north of downtown. Among those sitting in the class was Justin Borger, the senior pastor of St. Paul’s and a former student of Glodo’s.

Borger grew up in a Christian home as the son of a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was raised in the area surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee. Grateful for the faithful witness of his parents and grandparents, he came to saving faith in Christ when he was seven years old. From a young age, Borger was drawn to pastoral ministry, although he resisted that vocational path during his high school years. His sense of calling, however, was confirmed the summer before going to Covenant College. Working as a camp counselor at Ridge Haven, the PCA’s retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, Borger had the opportunity for the first time to lead someone to faith in Christ. He knew then that he wanted to be a pastor. After studying philosophy at Covenant, he decided to follow in the footsteps of two friends, Drs. Kelly Kapic and Jason Hood, who both graduated from RTS. In 2008, Borger arrived at RTS Orlando ready to study for the ministry.

Glodo was born to modest, hardworking Christian parents in a small farming and coal mining town in southern Illinois. Having openly professed faith in the sixth grade, he experienced significant growth as a Christian during his sophomore year at the University of Illinois through the ministry of Cru. Although Glodo considered going to seminary after college, he decided to serve Christ by embarking on a career as a CPA. As Glodo gained experience in the workplace, he received encouragement from his pastors and elders to attend seminary. By the spring of 1987, he was ordained as a minister in the Central South Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), where he served as an assistant pastor at Sutter Presbyterian Church, a small, diverse congregation in the western portion of St. Louis County.

Michael Glodo

Over the years, Glodo has worked in various roles in small and large churches, including two terms as the stated clerk of the EPC. In 1990, he was invited to guest lecture at RTS Orlando before being asked to join the faculty, where he has taught courses in Hebrew, Old Testament, New Testament, hermeneutics, preaching, and pastoral theology. As a pastor, administrator, and professor, Glodo is uniquely qualified to teach his students about the contents of the Bible and the demands of ministry.

As a student at RTS Orlando, Borger remembers sitting in Glodo’s Gospels and Acts class, struck by his professor’s ability to make textual connections within the Bible while reinforcing his point with a cultural reference or homespun illustration.

Commenting on his impressions of Justin in this class, Glodo recalls, “From the start, Justin struck me as humble and personable, yet curious, open, and keen in his intellect…. I particularly remember our time in Gospels and Acts where I sensed we shared a mutual conviction that the gospel was both joyous good news and serious business.”

As their relationship grew during seminary, Borger remembers enjoying hallway conversations, receiving constructive feedback on his sermons, and celebrating Thanksgiving dinner with the Glodo family.

“Mike is a great conversationalist and raconteur who makes himself wonderfully available to his students,” Borger remarks.

In this sense, Borger sees in Glodo a model of what Paul told the Thessalonians: “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess 2:8).

“Before I pastored here, I was pastored. Before I fed the flock, I was fed. Before I administered the sacraments, I received them.”
Justin Borger
Shortly after arriving in Orlando, Borger joined St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church (PCA) and became an intern. He’s been there ever since. In 2011, he was hired as a pastoral fellow. In 2013, he was ordained as an assistant pastor. In 2017, he served as the interim pastor. And in 2018, he was installed as the senior pastor. He met his wife at the church, and their three children have been baptized there as well. St. Paul’s has become his family.

“The thing I love the most about serving as a pastor at St. Paul’s is the joy of caring for my God-given family,” says Borger. “Before I pastored here, I was pastored. Before I fed the flock, I was fed. Before I administered the sacraments, I received them. The fact that this family experience overlaps and coalesces with so many of my former professors and classmates from RTS makes it all the richer.”

Among those who now sit under Borger’s ministry is his former professor, Glodo.

“I’m extremely proud of so many of my former students and would be grateful to have any one of them as my pastor,” Glodo says. “Justin is one of them, and I’m grateful he’s my pastor. I have a very strong conviction that seminary professors should be friends of the pastor…. I want more than anything to be part of the church’s life in such a way that Justin is glad I’m there. His humility and considerable ability allow him to pastor me and several other professors with generosity and confidence.”

Glodo’s words serve as a good reminder that students not only need professors, but professors also need pastors, some of whom might even be their former students.

Dr. John W. Tweeddale is Vice President of Academics and Professor of Theology at Reformation Bible College. He is an alumnus of RTS Jackson.