Yesterday was my first official day of school at Lexington Theological Seminary. While this day brought much excitement as well as fear to my life, I would like to reflect a bit on my journey to get to this point so that you may get to know me a bit better.
From the age of two, I started attending First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Billings, MT. I spent 16 years growing in my faith with the church family in Billings, I was baptized at age 8, served as a deacon for several years, and also worked as a Sunday School teacher. By age 18 I had grown up in faith, but my time with my church family in Billings came to an end. A short while before my graduation from high school, Billings First Christian Church decided to leave the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. There was much thought that went into this decision by the entire congregation. At the time I felt like I understood their reasoning for leaving, but it would not be the end of my relationship with the Disciples. Another change that seemed to happen before my departure from Billings was that the attitude of the practiced theology seemed to change from how I grew up understanding it (and to be quite honest, how I understand it to this day). This change actually ended up having a pretty big impact on my faith in the coming years.
The following fall after finishing High School, I moved to Missoula, MT for College. At this point, I would love to say that I started attending church in Missoula, however that was not the case. My issues that I struggled with in Billings followed me to my freshman year of college. During this time I struggled with finding out who I was outside of the environment I grew up in. After a couple of years, my involvement in faith activities started to rejuvenate. I was invited to become a Camp Counselor at Cane Ridge West (The Conference and Retreat Center owned by the Montana congregations). Having grown up at this camp I leaped at the opportunity to serve, and worked on rebuilding my side of the relationship I have with God. So for two years, my main religious activities involved counseling at church camp, then at a retreat at said camp, I got the opportunity to speak with a kind gentleman who just so happened to be the pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Missoula. After speaking with him, I decided it was time to try going to church again.
Going to the Missoula congregation turned out to be a great thing for me, I felt like I had a church family again. After attending church here for several weeks, I finally committed to becoming part of the membership. It seems like not long after becoming a member in Missoula, I was asked if I would consider joining the office of Elder, which I accepted. By becoming an Elder, I felt a little whisper that I heard in High School. As a few years past, my faith felt replenished but I was still hearing this whisper that I began to think was a call to ministry. The struggle to try and discern this feeling was huge in my life. I was also struggling with what type of degree I wanted to finish up school with, what career did I want, the world just seemed all messed up. Then one weekend while up at Cane Ridge West for iCamp, a minister that had seen me grow up through camp approached me and told me outright that he though I should go into ministry. After thinking about this for a while, it occurred to me that perhaps I was right about the whisper and God was tired of me not understanding, so he started yelling through this minister. Not even two weeks past when a member of my congregation here in Missoula said to me the exact same thing as the minister at camp. In retrospect God was being abundantly clear about what he had planned for me, but me being the human I am still spent time thinking about it.
Finally, about six months later, I made the decision to start to follow this path. I got to meet with the regional Commission on Ministry and was taken under care. Not a month later and I was accepted to Lexington. And now, my journey has begun. At this point I am working on a certificate in pastoral ministry so that I might become a Commissioned Minister. This certificate will transfer credits to Lexington's Masters of Divinity program, which I plan to pursue. In addition to my ministry goals, I am also working toward the completion of a BA in Theatre from the University of Montana, and plan to pursue a BSN from MSU after that, all while pursing my ministerial education. I know it may seem a lot, but I feel that the experiences will be worth every moment, plus I do not want ministers pay to ever be a blockade from me serving a congregation, so perhaps a bi-vocational life I will lead, or perhaps God has other plans for me yet.
At this point, this is where my life stands. I hope that through this blog I can share in the excitement of my ministry and education. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Blessings unto everyone and may the Lord watch over us all.