Karen Pettit

MA in Theology

Jesus told his disciples to count the cost before beginning to build a tower in order to ensure that they would have everything they needed to finish the job. (Luke 14:28-30) I'm sure many who are reading this are doing just that when it comes to taking the first steps to entering seminary. "Will I be able to commit the necessary time to my studies? Do I have the funds to pay for it? Am I absolutely sure that God wants me to do this?" are all valid and essential questions to ask ourselves before taking this momentous.

While lots of personal reflection is necessary, I have to thank my friend and mentor, Fr. Chip Nix, for giving me the best advice. I had been tossing around the idea of seminary for quite some time, feeling overwhelmed by the whole idea, when he said with a big smile and booming voice, "Just get started! Just sign up for a class at Fuller!"

I am forever grateful to Fr. Chip for those words. They put everything into a new perspective, one so much more simple and direct than I had thought of before. And so I began, and now I find myself, quite by surprise, in my last year of studies.

My first two classes were on-line courses. Since I had been out of school for quite some time, the structure helped me get back into the routine of regular study, reading, and interaction with my professor and fellow students. It was quite remarkable for me to have internet discussions with other Fuller students who lived all over the globe. Each would bring their particular experiences to our learning. Most importantly, I found out that I was a capable student.

For the most part, though, I have taken my courses at the Fuller Texas campus. Each class has been structured to provide ease of access for working students of all varieties…those working full or part-time in churches across the city, those hoping to work in ministry someday, and others who just want to learn all they can about God and His Word. The deep friendships I have enjoyed have been a true blessing. The depth of knowledge and experience of our professors amaze me each time I sit under their teaching, and I thank God that He has directed my feet in this direction.

My most recent classes, however, have been IDL, or independent learning classes. With this format, all classwork is distributed at the beginning of the 10-week period, and you're on your own to complete it. This demands responsible and continued diligence on the part of the student so that one keeps up with the course. But, it also provides time for creativity in your learning. For example, my classes, "Intro to Islam" and "Christian Apologetics" have worked together to encourage me to begin a weekly dialogue with a Muslim friend who owns a local Mediterranean restaurant. After several weeks of friendly conversations over hot tea, he set up an appointment for me to visit with the imam of our community's mosque. The friendships I have begun with him and other local Muslims have been a source of delight to me, allowing me to think deeply about my Christian beliefs and giving me an appreciation of theirs.

Perhaps it's your time to experience the diverse and rich education that Fuller offers. Why wait any longer? Go ahead, just get started!