My position in ministry began as a volunteer without any theological study or training and a couple years later extended into a full-time ministry role. Having an understanding of how to maintain a ministry is one thing, but I wanted the opportunity to learn ways to sustain the ministries to the best of my ability. I was encouraged by my colleagues and peers to pursue that education through seminary. Several of my peers are Truett grads, and I was impressed with the quality of education they received and continue to use in their own ministry roles. I have an appreciation for Truett’s holistic approach to student development and its “Vision for Life Together.” I chose the Truett-Houston program because it gives me the opportunity to continue to work at Willow Meadows Baptist Church while completing a master’s degree at a pace that I can handle.
The study of Scripture and theological discussions inside and outside of the classroom have aided me in creating more meaningful experiences in worship planning. Remembering stories from the Bible is not the same as studying the meaning behind the Word. I used to spend a lot of time during worship planning trying to create an atmosphere for people from all different ages and backgrounds to experience the presence of God by choosing songs that fit with a theme, that would satisfy the congregation members, or that was suggested by a secondary source — not by taking the necessary time to reflect on the meaning of the music and experience worship myself.
I am grateful to have had colleagues, in addition to those at Truett Seminary, who have mentored me and expanded my knowledge, helping me see and experience worship planning differently. Studying and reflecting on Scripture for the Sunday worship service is now part of my own worship experience because I have a better understanding of what I am reading. Being surrounded by classmates from a variety of ministries and cultures has also given me a deeper understanding of the trials and triumphs we are all facing in ministry today. It is a place where we find comfort in one another’s support as we all learn together.
The few classes I have taken so far have revealed ways in which I can empathize better with those whom I am leading in ministry, as well as challenge them at a rate they can handle. My hope is that the challenge leads to continued spiritual growth and that the eyes of those in the ministry are open to new ways of being the disciples of Christ we are called to be.