Let me share a little of my past with you.
I started serving in part-time youth ministry in 1996. By 2000, I was hooked and I felt God calling me into ministry. Over the next two years, I went through the license and ordination process for our local Southern Baptist Association, and was officially licensed and ordained as a minister. In 2002, I felt that the next step should be to start working on my seminary degree, so I started online at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
After just taking a couple of classes over the first two semesters, I realized that working a full-time job, serving as a part-time youth minister, and parenting two small children (Drew wasn’t here yet) was a recipe for disaster. I was spread too thin, and I simply couldn’t do everything that was required of me. So I walked away from seminary with no plan to return. I kept serving in youth ministry, and I continued to grow in faith and confidence in ministry. In 2007, God really changed my plans and I started full-time as pastor of Cornerstone Community Church.
Two years ago, in 2011, I started thinking about finishing up my seminary degree. I did some checking, found a scholarship, and re-enrolled. And now, I am proud and extremely happy to say that I finished my Master’s Degree! I received a M.A.R. in Christian Leadership this month. It has been a tough year and a half balancing family demands with school and ministry. I’ve written more papers and read more than I ever did in Engineering, but it feels great to be done.
A few people have asked me why I decided to go back. My biggest reason is that I felt I needed to grow my knowledge and skill. I have had some natural leadership ability, but as our church has grown, I have been stretched far beyond my ability. It has been a sink or swim opportunity, and although I’m trusting God to keep me afloat, I have a responsibility to do everything I can to preach, teach, and lead effectively. I’m thankful for Liberty Online. They have allowed me to continue in ministry and still go back to school. Now, I’ve got some catching up to do on my reading. I can actually start reading books that I want to read again.