One week down…

Two months ago, I announced that I had been accepted into the Master’s of Divinity (M.Div) program at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. Although most of this program will be online, after much preparation, this past week, my seminary officially journey began with a trip to Marion, Indiana.

And what a week it was! Along with 22 others, I spent Monday through Friday, 8:30a – 5:00p, in a classroom becoming oriented to seminary life and learning about the role of the pastor and how s/he is to relate to the church and world. This week, I have to write two papers to officially complete the class, but I wanted to take a few moments to share my biggest takeaways.

First, I went to Indiana uncertain and, if I am to be honest, a bit frightened. There are days when I feel overwhelmed by the gravity of pastoring. Would I be adequate to the task of seminary? Throughout the week, though, I found myself affirmed in a variety of ways, and as I pointed the van toward home, the greatest thing I took away was a sense of encouragement. Many of the ideas which had been bouncing, unspoken, through my mind for years had found expression in the readings. Many of the questions I had contemplated in the quietness of my office had been discussed in the classroom. And many of the things I had been doing as a pastor had been validated.

A second takeaway from this first week of class was a bevy of new resources and ideas. From sermon topics to message preparation, outreach ideas to counseling and personal growth resources, I have pages of notes and pointers and tidbits and recommendations that we can start utilizing almost immediately. And this was just the first class!

And the third thing I took away from my week in Marion was a cadre of colleagues and friends. When we first arrived at Indiana Wesleyan, we were collectively referred to only as MDIVO26, but as we left, after hours of class and dining and ice cream and studying and living together for a week, we were already beginning to see bonds formed which will grow only stronger over the next three years.

So here we go. One week of the M.Div program down. There is now only about 183 weeks to go, assuming everything goes as planned!

Thanks for going on this journey with me!

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