A Strange Trend for Seminary Students

16 04 2008

I find that more students in Seminary (at least at Truett) are finding themselves in a strange situation – we don’t really want to work in a church.  What is more, we don’t really know exactly what it is that we want to do.  And so the big question is: What in the world are we going to do with an MDiv degree?

The common theme is that we all feel called to do the work of God.  We want to participate in the ministry of the Kingdom, and we feel that Seminary is one of the best places to learn about that ministry.  And at the same time so many of us are frustrated with the traditional/institutional way of doing things – so much so that it leaves a bad taste in our mouths.  And so much so that it makes us dread working in a church.

But we certainly can’t support our families and make any kind of income with an MDiv degree outside of the church.  So what are we to do?  I feel that I would be doing a disservice to the church if I were to work in one right now, namely because my attitude would not be right.  At the same time, I need income, and I don’t want to work at Target.

It seems that there are a couple of possibilities to pursue.   Church plants are an appropriate option.  Establishing a community of believers who are committed to a similar purpose outside of the institution seems like a good option.  Another option might be volunteer ministry.  One might work full time for a business or teach at a public school and get involved in organizations like Mission Waco.  An MDiv would  certainly be an asset for this kind of ministry.  Then there’s the more difficult road of doing PhD work, which involves more school and more money spent.

But that’s all the ideas I have for now as far as long term plans.  I know that there are more of you out there with this problem – I’ve talked to you.  Any other ideas?  How can we use our MDiv outside of the institutional church?


Life is good, hard, hectic, beautiful, joyous, frustrating, exhuasting, energizing, fun, hilarious, blissful, tedious, incredible, etc.

8 11 2007

I’m not sure what to think about life right now.

I’ve got a baby on the way. That’s exciting, to say the least. I love my wife. Every moment with her is just… peaceful. My favorite part of the day is when I get to just be with her.

I’ve got a new job. It’s pretty cool, I suppose. There are some fun people there. And I’ll make good money for what it is – a transitional, part-time job. But, dang, training is not easy. Passing the menu test is definitely doable, just incredibly taxing, stressful, and time consuming.

Class is great. I love Truett. Next to family it’s the best part of being alive. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I have truly seen the love of God at this place. But, dang, the work is tedious at times. Dr. Ngan’s assignments make me not like the Bible – I didn’t think that could happen.

Leaving Western Heights has caused a flurry of conflicting emotions. I am sad about leaving my kids, to be sure. I will miss them greatly. I will miss teaching them, hanging out with them; I will miss trying to show them what Jesus is like. But I am surely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and the newfound freedom on Sundays that I will have.

Life is strange and confusing, really, when you sit back and reflect.

Through it all, may each and every one of us pursue love, joy, peace, faith, and hope. And may God bless those pursuits.

Jackson, TN, Recruiting, and B. Mac at his best

9 10 2007

I’m in Jackson, TN right now on a recruiting trip representin’ Truett for Union University’s seminary day.  I’m pretty excited, to say the least, as I’ve never been on a recruiting trip, so I hope that I represent my beloved seminary well.

Anywho, I acquired Brian McLaren’s new book Everything Must Change and read 1/3 of it on my flight to Memphis (rather than study for my massive scriptures 1 midterm).  I have to say, it’s quite good, and it may indeed be the book that he was “born to write” (HT: MH).

More thoughts later.  I’ve got to go to bed.

Big day tomorrow.

Busy Times Three

13 09 2007

Community is key.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one struggling to keep up with the “details, details, details” (as my dad used to say in football practice). And quite frankly, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of people out there that are even more busy than I am.

You’ve got Hebrew vocabulary that’s piling up on you along with the new grammar rules that you have to memorize. Then your other classes are 3 times more intense than you expected them to be in the first place. Then you’ve got your youth ministry that you can’t neglect. All of these things that we have to do, then, get in the way of the most important things in life like spending quality time with your wife.

I thank God that she’s understanding and caring and patient with me.

Today in our covenant group (that’s our small group/spiritual formation group at Truett) it was nice to hear that I’m not alone. Collin started talking about all that he’s struggling with, and I didn’t really have to say anything when it was my turn to talk other than “diddo.”

It’s just nice to know that you’re not alone. It’s nice to know that people care and understand. It’s nice when you’re not in competition to see who the “busiest” person is. When you have a group of people around you who actually care about what’s going in your life there seems to be a load taken off your back.

Basically, people need community. We need a place where we can go. Last night in the high school guys’ small group we talked about church and what church should really be. One of our student’s definition for ‘church’ was a group of people who come together for the purpose of serving others.

I like this definition.

When we have the kind of community that is oriented around service and unconditional love, we can sense something beautiful about life. We can sense why God put us here. Sure, we can still get weighed down by the everyday, but there is relief in community. There is joy in community. There is a sense of belonging. The community of church, the community of a group of people who serve one another, brings us closer to God and closer to experiencing life to the fullest. No matter how busy or bogged down we are, there is grace and peace and relief found in the people of God.

Yes, it is in a selfless community of believers that we see the person of Christ.