I found out today that I have been accepted into the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. So, I’m going back to school. By choice. And because I want to have a big impact on the world. This decision has been in process for at least 6 years, which happens to be the last time that I applied to Fuller.
I’ve hesitated for 6 years because of many things. One main reason is that I don’t believe much in credentials. I don’t believe that a Master’s of Divinity proves anything about a person’s ability to successfully lead, pastor, and teach a church (my friend/pastor Charlie pokes fun at his degree all the time). Unfortunately, the church doesn’t see eye to eye with me on this.
Credentials unfortunately matter.
But, I don’t want a Master’s of Divinity. I don’t care about most of the things that are lumped into that degree program, whether at Fuller, Dallas, Moody, or Loyola of Chicago. I think its an antiquated degree that the church still finds to be of utmost importance in proving one’s calling and ability to be a pastor. But I don’t buy it (no offense to all of my close friends who have this degree).
There’s this deep-seeded belief in me that the things the world thinks are important are not really that important. So, I’m attempting to blaze a new trail in this endeavor. I want to be a pastor. I believe that’s what I am supposed to do, and in so many ways I am already doing it. And that’s cool. I don’t need a title to do what I am supposed to be doing. I learned that the hard way (a long story I won’t get into here).
But, I also know that there is WAY more that I could do, and I know that I don’t know everything that I need to know and have not been challenged in ways that I think I need to be challenged in order to accomplish the things that I could do.
So, I’m going back to school, and I am completely uncertain about what happens next. I’m not getting the “pastor” degree, but I am going to an awesome school that has produced some of the greatest changers in the church today. That excites me.
This also excites me: When I was a youth pastor for 5 months in 2004 in the northeast corner of California, in a town of 3,000, in a county of 9,000, there was an 8th grader who I believed then had a lot of potential to do great things in the church. He just posted this today on my Facebook page: “Hey, me and my old youth pastor are going to the same seminary!” That’s sweet, meaning cool and satisfying all at the same time. 9 years later, the former youth pastor and the former 8th grader are studying at the same school to make a difference in the church and the world. That’s something I will never forget, and feel very proud of.
Further up and further in.