Master of Divinity (MDiv), Northwest campus
Afraid that seminary would diminish my faith, I found instead that Fuller has made me a better minister of the gospel than I was before.
When I came to Fuller Northwest, I had read fewer than ten Christian books in my adult life. I believed everything I needed to know was in the Bible. I thought that people who believed the same things that I did were Christians and everyone else was suspect. I was suspicious and “on my guard” when I attended my first classes, certain my teachers were going to try to strip me of my faith. I had heard the horror stories of Christians going to seminary and coming out as atheists. I was not going to let that happen to me.
I came to Fuller because God wanted me to go to school to prepare me as a pastor. I did not know what that was going to entail; as usual that was a good thing. The education at Fuller Northwest was rigorous academically, but more importantly it pushed me on many core beliefs, especially the one that everyone had to believe the same thing I did to be a Christian. As I attended classes with others from various denominations -- Amish, Greek Orthodox, UMC, Lutheran, Reformed -- and studied church history, I was able to look at that core belief and many others, and realize I had added things to the gospel and put myself in the place of God.
God took me on a five-year journey to shake me out of some harmful thought patterns and behaviors. Fuller prepared me to enter a conversation that has been going on since God revealed himself to humanity. It is the place I discovered my calling and learned to embrace it and walk in it. This happened through professors who love the Lord and view students as the next pastors and theologians. It came about through ample opportunity to read books I never would have picked up myself and through discussions I would never have dared to engage.
I never imagined myself in seminary. I was not studious; I did not have the money; I can’t even type. God overcame all of that. Now I believe that every minister should take the time to come to seminary. I had been in full-time ministry for over 20 years, and Fuller has made me a better minister of the gospel than I was before. With God, all things are possible.
Photo above: A discipleship group Michele belongs to at church.