I originally wrote this for Fuller Theological Seminary’s website, which was highlighting 2013 graduates.
I had been in paid, full-time ministry my whole adult life. My reputation was glowing, my job security in place and my future bright. In the moment that everything “should” have been perfect, I could sense my soul disconnecting more and more from the life and ministry I poured myself into each day. I couldn’t run one more missions trip, facilitate one more event, or even prepare another sermon. It wasn’t that I was burned out, it was that I knew God was doing something in me that needed space to grow and be cultivated.
Ironically, it was in the moment I stepped away from formal ministry that I had the greatest desire to begin seminary. I wouldn’t be attending to build my resume or reputation, but simply to better engage and be transformed by the Story I had loved all along.
My experience at Fuller not only met but exceeded my expectations. As any responsible higher education institution should do, it taught me not what to think, but how to think. It allowed me to formulate the right kinds of questions that would lead to a renewed set of answers. It created space for me to be captivated by the Story of God and the reality of Jesus in such a way that I couldn’t help but dive deeper into my study and practice. It not only created space for me to identify my calling and gifting, but it equipped me with the tangible resources and networks to be sent into it with both conviction and expertise.
And while I have been deeply impacted academically by my time at Fuller, I have forever been transformed by the highly relational environment that envelops and grounds the academic in the everyday realities of life in our neighborhoods, city, and world. Today, I live more fully into my Kingdom calling not because of the institution of Fuller Seminary, but because of the dynamic network of relationships it represents.