Have you ever done something that you NEVER thought you’d do? Ride a roller coaster? Swim in the ocean? Eat a crazy bug? Breathe fire? Okay, the last one may be a bit extreme, but, hey, we all have to dream big! Today was one of those days for me. I never, EVER, saw myself in ministry, let alone preaching. And here I am, amongst some anointed young preachers at the Academy of Preachers where I just proclaimed the word of God from behind the sacred desk for the first time. I will admit that I was nervous. As Dr. Entrekin delivered an intro that made me blush, my heart began to beat a tattoo in my chest. My hands were clammy. I felt the perspiration forming on my brow. I could feel the eyes of the audience on me. I knew that the word I had was from God, but my flesh kept nagging me. It was taunting me even. What if you fail? What if they hate it? What if you lose your place? What if you don’t deliver like the others who have preached before you? Ironic that the theme for this year is ’Questions of the Soul’… As I stood and began, all I can say is that God is FAITHFUL.
It is more than a cliché to say that ’whom he has called he has qualified’ because today that has become my testimony. I am still processing all that has happened. I can say that, coming to the festival, I was wrestling with where God wants me – seriously wrestling. Like if God was right here in the flesh, it would be WWE! After today, I feel closer to my call than before and some things have been confirmed in me. And to think, this is only day one…
“The vocation of the “pastor-theologian” is one that appeals deeply to my personal sense of calling. I have never felt particularly gifted as a “shepherd pastor,” or a “CEO pastor,” but have always had an abiding spiritual curiosity that has led me to seek God both intellectually and in community. Working on a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree at Central gave me the valuable freedom to explore theology and biblical studies more deeply than I could have imagined. I not only learned how to conduct research in my field of New Testament studies, but I learned how to better form my own questions in search of answers. Central helped me to realize my own vision of making biblical scholarship accessible to the local parish, a vision that I hope to carry well into my future.”