So today I just paid for my last semester at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. I will be graduating in May. I am really excited for all the opportunities that I have had opened to me as a result of my studies and professors at Multnomah- as well as God’s work in my life. Sometimes people call seminary “cemetery” because of the amount of people who go have their faith deconstructed and burn out from all of the adversity of professors, the curriculum, or the financial burden (at least a few of my thoughts how seminary could be counted as a cemetery).
I am very thankful for the community of professors and peers who have lifted me up in prayer, given me resources for studying and ministry, and encouraged me to study, speak, and write well. Now towards the end of my experience I have been hired as the Children’s Pastor at Glenfair Church here in NE Portland and I am seeing how my involvement in pastoral, Bible, and cultural engagement projects and classes are paying off in “real” life. Here are a few lessons that have stood out to me that I will share with you:
1. We serve a loving, all-powerful, Trinitarian God
I have learned how to not just value the Trinity as some abstract theological concept, but as the living God of Scripture that are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit fully worthy of our worship and devotion. The communal and relational aspects of the Trinity have helped me realize how God wants us to relate with one another as his children.
2. The Christian life is full of suffering
Yet, the real kicker with this lesson is that we don’t suffer alone. We suffer in community and in relationship to the suffering that Christ endured with us. Christ walks alongside of us and holds us as we experience broken relationships, death, and grief. I have much deeper empathy for people and realize that God meets us where we’re at to bring us healing.
3. Our multi-faith cultural context requires new solutions for engaging our neighbors.
We cannot take the Four Spiritual Laws as the formula for evangelism anymore. We have to come to an understanding of what others around us believe, not just caricatures, so that we can have authentic communication about our beliefs. Truth is not only located in Christianity, but the way, the truth, and the life is located in the person of Jesus Christ- when we rightly identify him as God’s son who brings abundant and eternal life through his substitutional sacrifice and his resurrection. My participation, especially in New Wine, New Wineskins has been very helpful.
4. Look for God-sightings everyday
I think one of my favorite classes was Spiritual Formation. One of the assignments in that class was looking for how God was working in our everyday life. We called them “God-sightings”…I’d encourage you to do it and see how thankful and joyful you are to God for his faithfulness in your life.
5. Being a pastor isn’t all about the title
I have felt for the last 8 years, since I was 15, that God has called me into vocational ministry. I have so many people in my life that fulfill the pastoral role of shepherding, encouraging, mentoring, and corporate prayer that will never speak from a pulpit. There are many people whose gifting is pastoral- in either a care or wisdom sense- that don’t have the title. I think this is helpful because I know that no matter what I can impact others pastorally throughout my life, whether I am employed in a ministry job or not.
These are just a few brief thoughts, but I really wanted to share them and tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my time at Multnomah Biblical Seminary!