After this past year of taking off of school to work and get married, I am ready to get back in the saddle. I have learned a lot during this time, especially through spending a great deal of time with my beautiful fiancee Caitlin. Although I have had time to be with my family, work, and study on my own, I really have an itch to get back to school. Caitlin and I decided awhile back that we believe our gifts and abilities would best be suited by traveling to the foreign territories of New England in order to attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Caitlin and I had prayed through a lot of decisions and options for school, but Gordon-Conwell seemed to fit the best. We had a lot of wisdom from many people but it boiled down to three basic benefits from choosing GCTS: the degrees, friends and family, and finances.
First, GCTS has the degrees that will best suit my purposes. In thinking through this I really had to ask myself “What degree will best set me up for future ministy?” After a lot of prayer and conversation I decided to pursue dual degrees: a Master of Arts in New Testament and a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages. This fits perfectly with what I believe the Lord has called me to do, which is to enter into the professional field of Biblical Studies. I had applied to a couple other seminaries, and none of them had the specific tracks that GCTS provides. This way I can really focus in on a field of study to continue my education after GCTS.
Even more, as someone who is interested in Languages and Biblical Studies, a program that was language driven was a non-negotiable. Gordon-Conwell has the reputation for strong languages. They really emphasize them in a way where they permeate the entire program. They see the languages as so important that you really can’t progress until you have taken Greek and Hebrew. This alone helped in deciding what degrees I would pursue.
Second, we have friends and family in the area. This is huge for Caitlin and I. We love spending time with people, and what better situation where we can be supported by family, and two of my best friends. Dan Hoffstetter and Greg Parker are two guys at GCTS currently, who I have been in ministry with and have prayed with for many years now. They are also married, and their wives have graciously expressed a deep desire to care for Caitlin as well, which has made our decision a lot easier. These relationships and friendships already established will be the ground Caitlin and I stand on when times get rough. We couldn’t ask to be placed into a better situation where we have support and care, where if we had chosen another school we might not have such a close bond already developed.
Thirdly, and certainly not most importantly but still very important was money. Gordon-Conwell has provided me with a wonderful scholarship. It is a full-tuition scholarship call “The Partnership Program”. This is a great program for students trying to enter ministry and come out with little to no debt, if possible.
The Partnership Program is a fund raising scholarship in which I will raise support, similar to how missionaries raise support. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons. First it allows me to develop relationships I already have with the church, friends, and family. They are assisting and affirming a call that the Lord has put on my life. It is so encouraging when people ask to support Caitlin and I. All the supporters that come along side Caitlin and I also benefit because all support sent in to GCTS on our behalf is tax deductible. Even more, supporters get monthly email updates keeping up on our time at seminary! We see both of these things as a great benefit to our supporters.
Another benefit is I am not raising this support alone, not only is Caitlin helping me, but the school helps on two fronts. They set me up with a cohort of fellow students, coming in the same year, to raise support as a team. We will work together to aid in raising support, which will also benefit us in developing relationships and making connections with fellow Christians seeking to enter into ministry. The school also sets Caitlin and I up with seminars on how to budget and raise support professionally. Again, Gordon-Conwell as proved itself to be primarily concerned with training men and women devoted to Christ like behavior in every area of life. You can find out more about the Partnership Program here.
Seeing all the provision and help the school has already provided, I only look forward to entering into the classroom to see how the faculty will also meet the same caliber as the staff.
If you are interested in supporting Caitlin and I please feel free to email me! I would love to have as many of you praying for us and supporting us as you are financially able. You can email me at email@example.com to ask questions.
These are just brief summaries as to why Caitlin and I chose GCTS as the school we want to invest our time, money, and energy. We are excited for the future and what the Lord has for us.