I am sure that there are many unique stories about how people end up getting to seminary. On our forums there is a topic describing peoples top choices in regard to different schools. I didn’t chime in because the only school that I applied to was Asbury. Here is a quick version of how I ended up here.
I grew up a preachers kid so the usual entanglement with religion that PK’s have was a part of my life. In high school I learned about what the church could offer me, so we can just say that my level of involvement was just enough for me to have benefits from it. My life really changed when I hit college. Through a series of events that stretched out over several years I had tremendous experiences with God and also managed to screw things up pretty good too. When I was around 18 I felt a call to vocational ministry, but had no idea what on earth that looked like. My life consisted of various stages of pleading for forgiveness to God and thinking that I had everything together.
You can say everything changed with my life hit rock bottom when I was about 22. I wasn’t quite done with school, but I had cleaned up (literally inside and outside), was working at a small Southern Baptist church (the denomination I grew up in), and was dating the girl who felt called to be a preachers wife. I was presented with a great opportunity, but some friends felt that I wasn’t “religious” enough, and everything pretty much fell apart. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and a bout with alcoholism.
It was at this time that I started doing sound engineering for money and ended up touring with a great group of guys leading worship all over the country. I meet a local college minister and we would talk from time to time. By now, I was realizing that I could make nice money running sound at a mega-church and was planning to enter that world when I finally graduated from college.
Life went forward for a few years, and I met my wife Meredith. My plan was to sell furniture while waiting for her to graduate after we got married. One day I was slipping through the Louisiana Tech Wesley foundation, the home of our previously mentioned college minister. After finding out about the furniture plan, he offered me a job interning at Wesley. I spent the next year and half ministering there.
Wesley changed my personal view of ministry. There was alot that I didn’t say in this little essay, but we can say that my view of God was completely re-organized. One of the things that was promised to me was not ever running sound. While I did end up doing it, I was thankful and I understood why this “rule” was made. My director Scott had been watching me for years, and knew that I had other skills that had never really been brought out. While I was there I learned that I was gifted in organization, teaching, discipleship and just making friends.
You are probably starting to wonder where seminary comes into this…..
I had been thinking about seminary for years, since I was around 20. While touring I always carried a few books with me and attempted to teach myself Greek. Most people knew that I was thinking about seminary. In fact, the first time I sat down with Scott (my director at Wesley) was under the auspices of Asbury Seminary. It actually took around 3 years to get to that conversation. I was raised on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and I had friends that went to plenty of other seminaries around the country. There was something about Asbury graduates that made me want to check the school out. After spending a weekend here, I saw that many of my own interests were shared, specifically how liturgy can used in the 21st century. What sealed the deal was spending time in the chapel office with J.D. Walt, and seeing how the school puts together a reader for every season of the church calender. Asbury just made sense to me.
I tell people now that I wasn’t sure why I wanted to come to seminary. But I knew I wanted to be at Asbury. I would have come to Asbury if it was a welding school because of what the Holy Spirit has done and is doing in this place.
When searching for a seminary, the most important thing is to find the place that makes you stay up at night with excitement. Asbury is part of my soul now, and I pray that your choice in attending seminary will be part of yours.
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