I’ve come to realize that no amount of education, training or shadowing can fully prepare you for the role you will play in your ministry or workplace. There are just things you cannot and will not experience until you are officially thrown into the deep end and forced to swim.
The good news is that in my time at University of Mobile, I was educated and trained in such a way that when my name was called and I was thrown into my own ‘deep end’ of student ministry – I was as prepared as I could hope for.
The formal education side of things has been instrumental; however, I believe the best thing UM has to offer is its people. The reason the faculty and staff here prepare us in an exceptional way is because their leadership is not hypothetical. My professors are currently in, or have been in, a leadership position in their own respective ministries.
Dr. Jay Robertson of the School of Christian Studies is one of the many men and women who have deeply impacted me with the way they live their lives outside of the classroom coupled with the way they teach inside of it. He is not only a beloved professor, but also a faithful husband, father and full-time pastor of a local church. I have no earthly idea how he does it. The man is a machine!
Learning under professors who are also husbands, fathers and pastors has been the greatest preparation I could ask for, because they not only teach it; they faithfully model it. The faithfulness that the faculty here at UM exhibits is fully grounded in their theological foundations, and that is why education is a must for life and ministry. Thin, emotionally driven, theology will not sustain you in ministry or in this broken world. Which is exactly why UM teaches us ‘the whole counsel of God’ in the short time they have us.
I could go on and on about how UM has prepared me to be a student pastor at a local church while still finishing out my senior year of college. Every day I’m reminded of how much I’ve needed this time at UM to sharpen and prepare me.
“If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.”
Ecclesiastes 10:10 (ESV)
As my former pastor, Ed Litton, told me,
“You can cut down a tree with a dull axe, but you can cut down a lot of trees with a sharp one.”
University of Mobile is where that sharpening happens, through men and women being faithful to God’s word and to their students.