I experienced a call to ministry in my early 20’s (in 1973) and did my undergrad work in Christian education with a minor in youth ministry. I began working as a youth director while still in college and enjoyed it. My college offered a master’s degree in youth ministry so I decided to complete this as well.
At this time, I did not really want to lead a church or be the preaching pastor. What I had learned in my undergraduate and graduate studies was that there is a lot to know.
I began to discover that the Bible was not as simple as I had once thought and that ministry was not just helping people know what the Bible said. The more I learned, the more I saw how much I needed to know.
My denomination highly valued the MDiv seminary degree, and I could see that I would have a brighter future in whatever role I was called to with more education. So I began seminary, taking one class a quarter as I was working full-time. It took five years to finish, but as I was using the things I was learning in my ministry, the length of time it took was not an issue.
By the time I was 30, I had two master’s degrees and decided that I did want to be an ordained pastor and that someday I might like to be the pastor of a church.
I am very grateful for my seminary education. It strengthened my ministry and protected the church from the bad theology I might have imposed on it without this education.
I eventually did become the pastor of a church and then head of staff and head pastor at four other churches. I also chose to go back to seminary in my 40’s to do a DMin. This process, again spread over five years, sustained me and enriched my ministry in countless ways.
After 35 years in church ministry, GCU offered me a position as an instructor for the College of Theology. What I have to offer as an educator came from my experience serving the church and from all the guidance I receiving in seminary. We studied practical ministry issues and methods, systematic theology, ethics, preaching, hermeneutics and, of course, the books of the Bible. The professors influenced me greatly and showed me how to combine faith and scholarship.
I highly value my education in seminary.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.