In my undergrad at a large university, I never made a connection with a professor that extended beyond the classroom. Central Seminary was different. The small classes, deep subject matter, and professors who valued the callings of their students emboldened me to take the relationships further. I can remember on one break during a New Testament class with Dr. May, asking if he wanted to toss a frisbee around in the grass beside the seminary. He accepted and we took a huge step towards friendship in those ten minutes of fresh air.
When I started at Central in 2011, I also came on staff at Maywood Baptist Church in Independence, MO. A few years ago I became the senior pastor of the church and, like many young pastors, have felt overwhelmed at times. I reached out to Dr. May and asked if we could meet for coffee. This grew into a tradition of getting together for two or three hours every three months.
Our conversations vary wildly. We discuss what we are reading, how things are going at the seminary, and each of our ministries. We bounce ideas off each other. We share tech tips. We talk about bike riding and working on houses. We share about joys and sorrows from our families. We linger, generous with our time.
Ministry comes with so many challenges, including keeping alive on the inside. Pastoring has at times been incredibly isolating for me, and I am so thankful Jesus has blessed me with some key relationships like the one I have with Dr. May. He is a source of wisdom and joy to me.