We are now approaching the half way point of the third term, and as a graduating senior, the looming reality of life after seminary is becoming all the more realistic. In the midst of looking ahead to the next stage, I have also been drawn into a retrospective posture looking back upon my seminary experience over the past three years. I can remember well the feeling of coming to Orientation with a sense of excitement and wonder about what the next few years would entail. I recall the personal struggle of wrestling with my own sense of vocation and God’s call for my life. I can see how the Lord was working through my time here to lead me gently into waters which I had no plan or desire of treading. I can vividly recollect the anxiety of sitting in my first year classes wondering how long it would be before everyone would find out that I had no idea what epistemology, eschatology, parousia, hypostatic union, or ontology meant.
From my present perspective as a graduating senior, however, I also have the luxury of seeing how God has used the course work, reading, interaction with my peers, discussions with the faculty, and field education to build my confidence and shape my theological and pastoral identity. I have been challenged in the best way. My time at PTS has given me the tools to critically evaluate and question what it is to do ministry, to be the Church, and what the purpose of both really are. Looking toward what lies in the future as I prepare to step into a leadership position of a worshiping community as a teaching elder, the difference in my comfort level now compared with where I was at Orientation is as different as night is from day. I certainly have a healthy level of humility knowing that this is only the beginning of my theological education and that storms yet unseen lie ahead in my path, but I know that my foundation for ministry has been set firmly on bedrock and for that I thank the risen Lord who has promised that He will never leave nor forsake me.
Jon, Senior MDiv student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary