My band of brothers in the DMIN program.
I got back Wednesday evening after a 10 day intensive of the first module of my Dr. of Ministry program at Alliance Theological Seminary. Classes ran from 8 AM - 5 PM everyday except for Sunday.
My cohort has 11 students and then I was in a smaller group of 4. We will study together for the next 3 years, gathering twice a year for this same immersive experience.
My journey to this particular seminary is quite interesting. I was actually prepared to study at another larger and better known seminary. But God stepped in and changed my direction. It happened through a Christian family camp in the Adirondacks that we attend every summer. Camp of the Woods is a beautiful Christian resort that brings in top rate speakers and has an excellent children and youth program.
This year Dr. Martin Sanders of ATS was one of the speakers. He spoke on "the soul". Felicia, my parents and I were profoundly moved by his messages as he spoke about the importance of cultivating a soul that is close to the heart of God.
During the week, I spoke to him about my interest in doctoral studies in theology. He shared about the program at ATS. It piqued my interest. But, once we got back, I put it out of my mind. Martin was gracious enough to reach out to me and invite me to continue to think and pray about applying to the program.
After some time, Felicia and I felt the time was right to start the program at ATS. As I started the reading, and looked at the classes, it appeared the initial phase of the program is geared towards wholeness and health of a leader. We also start on the early stages of our dissertation which is a rigorous academic exercise.
I have to be honest - the 10 days at ATS were some of the most powerful and transformative days of my life. This is due to the fact that the classes and exercises forced us to focus down into the state of our souls - are we healthy leaders?
Are we carrying unhealthy baggage into our leadership and our churches?
Are there things we need to repent of?
How have we been wounded?
Have we grieved past hurts?
Are we walking int he spiritual authority that God has given us?
I was especially blessed by the small group I was placed in. 2 pastors from New Jersey and one from the Upper Hudson area. I love these guys - they are truly brothers in the battle as we shared openly and honestly about our lives and ministries.
It is hard for me to summarize succinctly what I walk away from the program with. I think one of the things is that I long for people to enter into everything that God has for them.
So often, we shield our hearts form God's love and the love of others due to past hurts. God has so much more for us!
So much more love!
So much more power!
We simply need to open up our hearts and choose to walk in the light and love that He has for us.
What do you believe God for? He can do it - and actually will do more than you can ask or imagine - Eph. 3:20.