Following God's Call: On Mountaintop and in the Office
Some attend seminary to become a pastor, do psychological research, or train for mission work, but Don Dwyer (MAT '77) simply came to build his faith for life. "I became a Christian through Young Life, an organization that I have worked in as a volunteer and continue to support," explains Dwyer. "But as a young Christian, I came to the realization that I did not know very much about the faith I professed. I went to Fuller to try and fill in some of the gaps."
After seminary, when many of his classmates transitioned into full-time ministry positions, Dwyer moved into the marketplace. He has now spent nearly 30 years working in procurement, currently as director of contract administration for Metro, the agency responsible for providing public transportation throughout greater Los Angeles, and he sees his calling as similar to that of any other Fuller graduate. "I'm not sure I would make a strong distinction between the sacred and secular workplace," he says. "The call to follow and represent Christ is, I think, the same whether one works inside or outside the church. I try to remember that God loves the people I am dealing with--even the difficult ones--and to walk beside colleagues through the joys, difficulties, and frustrations of life."
To sustain this ministry, Dwyer's commitment to lifelong learning has been critical. "The spark of interest in theology that began at Fuller continues--I love to read, and I love to learn," he says. "For some, devotion to God is as natural and easy as love. But for me, God is hard work. I struggle with God daily, and the devotional side of my faith grows out of theological contemplation and study."
Connection with other Christians has played an equally significant role: "Considering that the secular work environment is so diverse, the need for connection with a close group of like-minded individuals is critical," says Dwyer. Some of his most significant spiritual and emotional support has come from a small group of men with a passion for mountain climbing--all Fuller graduates--who meet for a weekly lunch and frequent outdoor adventures. Being a part of this community has helped refresh his faith for almost three decades. "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of these hiking trips to me," Dwyer shares. "They are, sometimes literally, mountaintop experiences. We talk theology, we share our triumphs and struggles, and sometimes, we giggle like kids."
While seminary may not have answered all of his questions, Dwyer is thankful for the spiritual foundation he received at Fuller. "In many ways, God is as much a mystery to me now as then," he admits. "In my journey, I have learned to be more comfortable in that space between black and white." The relationships and academic groundwork built during seminary remain critical to Dwyer's faith, facilitating his continued exploration of Christianity and energizing him to humbly share its hope with others—a calling Dwyer lives out every day in the business office and boardroom.