I met a girl while doing marching band freshman year of high school. Her dad said, "You can't get involved with my daughter unless you get involved with youth group." I thought, "Okay, I'll go to church, and gain her parents' trust so she can come out with me." I had been to church maybe three times before that.
I was immediately struck by the community I found. I asked for a Bible, and my mentor recommended beginning in the New Testament. I fell in love with Christ. I was amazed by this Jesus and who he hung out with and how he loved them.
All through this I've been with "the girl" from marching band. We got married in 2004 and we're going on eight years.
When the associate pastor of my church left, I became an assistant pastor. But I realized I hadn't been listening to God: "You need to go to school." In 2010, our church hosted the annual Pacific Northwest Conference of the Free Methodist Church, and Bishop Matt Thomas preached. I asked him how he felt about seminary education. He said it would be crazy for me not to go. "Seattle Pacific University is starting a seminary. You need to go there."
So we decided we were going to Seattle.
I was hesitant coming to SPS because it's a relatively new program. But after coming here I've been blown away. It's a lot of work, but I'm loving it.
I appreciate the way the "three A's" — Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate — work together. You start off seminary with an "Abbey" one-week "intensive" at Camp Casey and move on to an "Apostolate" one-week intensive focusing on ministries.
I love the community aspect of seminary. The students have dinner at each other's houses, and study together in the Library. Some of the guys play basketball on Monday mornings together.
The other thing I like about seminary is how involved the faculty are in the students' lives and how much they care. Even scruffy Dr. Wall. Seeing him tear up in class reading Scripture was one of those pivotal moments.
Dean Strong has made an effort to be involved in our community. He invites students to his house for get-togethers. It's great to have someone who is so busy and has so much responsibility make an effort to be involved with the students.
I feel the call to full-time ministry, but who knows exactly what that means. I'm wrestling with whether to plant a church or take an existing church, and with where I'm supposed to go, whether it's home or somewhere else. I'm waiting on God.