This Fall I’m starting a new chapter in my life. It’s a chapter I have tried to start several times, but in the past it never quite fit, this time is different. This Fall I will start seminary.
Where it started
I spent many years in vocational ministry. My first ministry was co-starting and co-running a non-profit to put on teen youth rallies (and run a coffee shop ministry). After that I served as a youth minister, a student / community minister and a lead pastor of a church plant. I have always felt called to ministry, specifically to teach, and I think this is my next step in that calling. I will be pursuing a Master of Arts in Old Testament. This is not a conventional seminary degree, so allow me to take a moment to share my vision for where I want to go with this education.
Several years ago I had the good fortune to receive a scholarship to go on a teaching tour of Israel with Jim Reimann. As it turns out, this trip would dramatically impact the remainder of my life. While in Israel I fell in love with the places, the people and the fantastic Jewish heritage that undergirds the Christian faith. While in Israel I was amazed at how much understanding I have missed when reading the New Testament, simply because I didn’t really understand the Old Testament and the Jewish context of Jesus’ and the early church’s teachings. While on the trip to Israel the scriptures came alive in a new way for me and that life has thrived ever since.
What I want to do
Somewhere along the way I began to realize that if I could do anything in the world I would want to write books about the Jewish heritage to the Christian faith, teach on the subject and lead tours to Israel. I don’t expect this to be a full time ministry, in fact, I don’t have any expectations at all of where it will end up, I simply know that this is my passion, this is what I want to learn and this is what I want to teach to others.
How I plan to get there
Many experts in the field of the Jewish heritage to the Christian faith are self-taught, or they went to Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I can’t go to the Hebrew University, and trying to go the self-taught route it is hard to build credibility. So, a Master of Arts in Old Testament is just the place to start to build a foundation for this kind of teaching ministry.
With a Master of Arts in Old Testament I will learn the languages of the Bible in depth. I will also be learning theology, church history, interpretation and exegesis. All of this will provide me with a firm understanding of the Old Testament and from this foundation I will have the ability to extend my learning to better understand Jewish context, culture, theology and history. This degree also paves the way for PHD work should I want to pursue it in the future.