Graduation Reflections

Graduation Reflections

Since 2019, I have had the privilege of studying for my Master’s Degree at Southern Adventist University. This past Sunday, May 5, my friends and family celebrated with me at my graduation!

What have I learned in the five years I’ve spent studying? Many things, for sure! I have grown closer to the Lord, no doubt, as I’ve wrestled with concepts and applications of Biblical truth in ways that I never have before. I’ve explored a world of knowledge that, in some ways, I never knew existed. Perhaps my greatest take-away has been the knowledge of just how much I still don’t know!

I am so thankful for all our friends and family who came to celebrate this great occasion with me! Here are the photo highlights from the graduation service — special thanks to Kimberly Kodimer and Ernie Brandt for taking these great photographs for us!

Coming into pastoral ministry from an outside field, I have been incredibly grateful for the opportunity to gain this education, and have found the material that I learned to be practical and relevant in my ministry work. The overall experience has been edifying and mentally stimulating, enlarging my worldview and opening up many new fields of personal and professional inquiry.

When I was called into full-time pastoral ministry in the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference, our conference administration encouraged me pursue a Master of Ministry degree from Southern Adventist University. I chose the Church Leadership and Management track because it most closely aligned with my previous education in business and technology. I particularly wanted to learn more about Biblical hermeneutics, gain tools for evangelism, and hone my leadership skills.

In this program, I have discovered a new appreciation for the vast field of historical and linguistic knowledge the surrounds our understanding of Biblical doctrine. I now realize that our Adventist system of Biblical understanding does not stand as an island in time, but is a product of a long line of historical Biblical interpretation. I’ve been inspired to continue to plumb the depths of the well of knowledge and to share this deeper understanding with those that I minister to. Learning about history, doctrine, hermeneutics, and Christian ethics has helped me to think differently about why we do the things we do, and how we teach others right and wrong.

My most memorable experience in the program was taking the class on Equipping Laity for Ministry, taught by Pastor Mark Finley. It was one of my first classes in the program, and I felt as though I were sitting at the feet of a spiritual giant! I came away inspired to lead my churches better, and every class since then has built on that inspiring foundation.

I plan to continue reading and listening to books that support my particular area of ministry and that expand my horizons of knowledge. After recently traveling to Israel and Jordan, I have a strong desire to return to that part of the world (when it is safe to do so) to see and photograph more of the places where the events of Scripture and history have taken place.

In addition, I have a particular interest and passion to explore the growing field of generative AI and the applications of this technology in a ministry context. I am currently helping to lead a project to collect and distribute high-quality AI images and media for use in ministry and religious teaching, and I hope to continue and expand this and similar projects in this field.

I want to explore ministry initiatives that reach beyond the local church congregation and seek to improve the reach of God’s church in the world. While I do not currently have plans to pursue a second master’s degree or a doctoral program, I have not ruled out the possibility of doing so in the future.

In conclusion, my experience at Southern Adventist University has been both eye-opening and life-changing. I have gained many new experiences, and the class learning has opened my eyes to worlds of knowledge that I never dreamed possible.

1 Comment on “Graduation Reflections

  1. Very nice, Son! I’m so thankful that you have chosen to dedicate your life and talents to furthering God’s work.

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