Master of Divinity (MDiv), Orange County campus
Coming here from the business world, Fuller unexpectedly transformed my focus from doing to being.
I suspect that many enter seminary with an unmistakable sense of call, albeit sometimes unclear. We bring with us a perception shaped by the world – a fast-paced, business-focused, and tech-savvy world that influences our behavior and expectations far more than we realize. That’s why it’s so common for many seminarians, myself included, to pause along the way and ask, “What am I doing here?”
In seminary we are enriched in many ways, yet the gravity of the world still pulls, forcing us to wrestle with exactly what we are supposed to do when we graduate. Too often we allow the world to define us by what we do rather than who we are.
This sentiment was especially true for me entering seminary mid-career, my corporate instinct and business education trying to convince me this was a divinely influenced career change; and perhaps it is! I expected to learn about theology, biblical languages, and church history, along with all sorts of practical stuff too – how to do exegesis, pastoral counseling, family ministry, church administration – all the professional skills necessary for vocational ministry. But I didn’t expect to fall in love with liturgy, as I have. And it wasn’t until nearly the end of my journey when I realized that, beyond the vocational disciplines I was learning, God was working a deeper spiritual transformation through the totality of my seminary experience. I’ve become somewhat of a Presbyterian contemplative . . . how is that even possible?!
If I were to offer one bit of advice for anyone considering seminary it would be this: don’t overlook the formative impact of the seminary experience itself. Take time to find a rhythm of life and lean into it. Remember that ministry isn’t always about what you do, sometimes it’s about being present in who you are. In seminary I inadvertently learned how to live an “unhurried life,” which is counterintuitive to the corporate world from where I came, and it wasn’t explicitly taught in any course I took. Yet it is by far the most valuable thing I take away from Fuller, for which I am eternally grateful. Photo above: Jesse sailing, an activity in which he finds solitude.