British by birth and a former missionary to South America, Dr. Pocock considers himself a ‘global Christian.’ And that’s the perspective he strives to pass along as a professor—a recognition of not just of the needs of others around the world, but also the value of their insights and perspectives. As a professor in the World Missions and Intercultural Studies department, Dr. Pocock has a platform to adjust the western-tinted lenses of his students.
“I would love to see Dallas Seminary become a ‘global seminary’…that is success to me,” Dr. Pocock said.
His own cross-cultural adventure began when he was a young teen living in England. His sister had fallen in love with an American airman and they were to be married in Michigan. She and her mother had already purchased their tickets to the states when her fiance broke off the engagement.
So, they decided to go anyway for two months and “look things over.” On their way to America (they came by ship), the two met a lady named Dorothy Mason, who was the librarian at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. She invited them to come and stay with her while they were in the U.S.
After several weeks, Dorothy and her husband offered to sponsor the whole family to move to America. One year later, the whole family moved to Maryland.
Once in the states, young Mike got into quite a bit of mischief, and he and some “unsavory” friends ended up stealing a car. The judge took mercy on him—instead of sending him to reform school, he only required that Mike go to church and join the boyscouts.
So, he began attending 4th Presbyterian Church, pastored by Dr. Richard Halverson, who would go on to be the chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Dr. Halverson was a dynamic minister and had a great impact in the D.C. area. It was through his evangelical teaching that Mike understand the gospel in a “new and fresh way.”
Within a year, Mike came to know the Lord and met his first missionary named Doug Miller. Doug had not yet been to the field, but was raising support to go to Irian Jaya. Mike was intrigued by the adventure of foreign lands.
“I think that God contextualizes his approach to delinquents like me, who are really just excitement junkies at heart…this seemed to me like the most exciting thing to do. Later I realized it’s also the most biblical thing to do.”
Realizing that he was called to ministry, likely the mission field, he set off to get the education he’d need—Bible training. So, he attended Washington Bible College, where he met his wife, Penny. Then he went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for his master’s degree.
During his seminary training, he began pastoring a small church of 35 members who were mostly Hispanic. “I don’t know whether I’m antsy or an activist, but it was hard for me to just sit still and listen in church.”
After graduation, he considered staying on to work with the church, which had then grown to a congregation of 65 members. One of his professors told him that a “store-front” church like that would never grow, so he should just figure out what was next for him.
Knowing he was called overseas and recognizing that one of his main gifts was teaching, he decided to get some teaching experience so he could eventually teach in a seminary in South America. He wrote to six schools to ask for the opportunity to teach and was invited to Taccoa Falls in Georgia. There he taught apologetics, homiletics and a variety of other courses, along with starting the school’s soccer team, which has gone on to become a powerhouse.
“I’ve found that I have a ministry of leaving,” he said about the soccer team. “Everything I leave gets better after I leave it…even the small church I left in Chicago now has 2,500 members.”
After two years in Georgia, the Pococks moved to Venezuela to plant a church and teach at a local seminary. The church thrived and Dr. Pocock loved to teach students at the seminary. So, when a few delegates from his mission organization’s headquarters came and asked him to come back to the head office as director of moblization, he was surprised. “I expected to be in Venezuela long term.”
But after prayer, he and Penny realized the strategic nature of becoming a conduit for other missionaries to enter the field. And since then, he has continued this strategic role as a professor at Dallas Seminary, where he has taught for sixteen years.
Living in the U.S. has not dulled is global perspective. “Everything I do relates to missions and trying to develop global Christians.”