I thought it would be good to keep a record of my seminary journey so that I could look back and see an overview of what God has done in me through this time. Also, I share because I know others might be wondering what it’s like being in seminary or attending Truett so here’s an overview of my third semester, Fall 2021. This Semester started mid- August and ended the week before Christmas. A lot happened for me in Semester 3, my final semester (credit wise) of my first year in Seminary. Read below for highlights: praises, classes taken, and prayer requests as I look ahead to the next semester. I am pursuing a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degree and Certificate in Spiritual Direction from George W Truett Theological Seminary embedded under Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Other blogs about my Seminary experience can be found here.
In this video I talk about:
- A few of the professors/ courses that really stood out to me this semester and why.
- My prayer for Truett Women In Ministry (TWIM), a student led, staff supported organization created to equip, encourage, and create community for women and men that support women in ministry.
- A few of my personal prayer requests.
- Photos from the third semester.
Thanking God – A Few Praises for this (third) Semester
I certainly cannot name ALL THE THINGS that happened and that God has done this semester, but here are some significant things I’d like to remember and you might enjoy!
- Preaching – Preached twice a month at various churches on Sunday (except October, only once) from August 2021 – January 2022. All sermons are listed here. God had me wait on stepping forward (multiple times) until it was time. I look back and I thank God that I waited because I know God did it, not me here.
- Truett Women In Ministry (TWIM) Team Leader planning and coordinating monthly, in-person devotionals, weekly equipping and encouraging opportunities in-person and online via private GroupMe platform, and held one off-campus fun ‘retreat’ to close the year. TWIM also hosted guest preacher, Beth Moore, to Truett Chapel. Attended my first ordination of a woman, which was just as meaningful and supported by the local church as the men I have seen ordained in the past at other local churches. (Again, this was my very first time witnessing this!)
- Baylor’s 9-11 tribute interview here and also participation alongside other Veterans of Baylor for first home football game on September 11, 2021 here. That was 20 years after the attack on our Nation’s soil; I remember that day like it was yesterday.
- Texas Baptist Women In Ministry (TXBWIM) Advent video contribution here. What an honor to participate!
- Baptist Women In Ministry (BWIM) Mentoring Cohort – met monthly with 3 other ‘out of the box ministers’ led by Dr. Bryan. Participated in BWIM Book club for In My Grandmother’s House: Black Women, Faith, and the Stories We Inherit by Rev Dr Yolanda Pierce. Great book and discussion which brought up a lot of questions for me as well in my journey.
- Committed to encourage a friend in her ministry and celebrate Zumba at Fort Hood with Sasha, a fellow military spouse. First gathering here! Fort Hood newspaper article here – do you see me?
- Attended the 3 day African American Preaching Conference, 2 day spiritual direction retreat,
- Spending time with loved ones camping with family late Nov, late Dec kayaking and hiking, visit friends and date trip with hubby in Jan before class began.
- Roasted by my first Bible professor during our seminary’s Truett Christmas dinner; it was totally unexpected! Video here.
- Supported by friends in Seminary when I asked them to pray for me, so I showed up for them as they stepped forward in various ways here.
- Loving our neighbors isn’t easy and I’m constantly questioning if and how ‘do I really love my neighbor’ as my actual neighbor continues to teach me hospitality here.
Summary of Classes Taken – Seminary Semester 3 (Fall 2021)
- Spiritual Direction I. Dr. Angela Reed & Ben Simpson lead this 2 year certificate program which I love. I had no idea this ‘spiritual direction’ existed before coming to Truett but now I know this will definitely be a part of my ongoing ministry. I have masters level education in counseling but that wasn’t what I wanted to do. THIS is more like it!
- Preaching I. Dr. Alcantara incorporated cultural awareness and sensitivity in his teaching and preaching. This was the most valuable aspect of the course for me, a mixed-race female student who before coming to Truett in January 2021 didn’t consider ‘preaching’ something I would do, but found Truett to be affirming towards women. In this class, however, every devotional taught and affirmed each of us as preachers and Dr. Alcantara would call us preachers. He talked to us as preachers and responded to situations as a Christian. For example, one student, surprisingly to him, lost his composure during his first sermon to the class and Dr. Alcantara invited him to pause, stop the recording, and prayed for him briefly, to which the student went on and it wasn’t really mentioned again. Dr. Alcantara is a wonderful professor.
- Introduction to Christian Witness and Mission. Dr. Stroope is a wonderful person and very knowledgeable professor that expects us to engage with the materials presented and offer our thoughts while being open to hearing other’s thoughts. I appreciated having Zoom calls with others around the world who are doing ministry in different contexts. There was a LOT of reading from different authors and perspectives. I now have a bigger picture about missions/ world witness and this has broadened my outlook regarding what I thought I was going to do after seminary, written on my entrance essay!
- Christian Scriptures II. It was inspiring for me, as a female student, to witness a female scholar engage the Bible with a deep-rooted understanding of the text, engaging and expecting students in every class to learn and to remain aware of the questions that might come up from our people about these books of the Bible. Dr. Rebecca Hays also reached out to me via email to make sure I was okay when I expressed my thoughts about violence in the Bible or how this teaching didn’t align with my previous understanding of the Bible. It is obvious that Dr. Hays loves the Lord, God’s Word, and us as students. She prepared us for the ministries we will have for preaching or teaching the Old Testament texts – prophets and writings – well.
- Spiritual Formation II. I’m not sure if all seminaries incorporate journeying with a group of the same fellow students together for 3+ semesters, but this aspect of staying connected with my core group has been beautiful. We read, practiced, and journaled about different spiritual disciplines all throughout the semester while continuing to meet weekly, learn together, and pray for one another. I appreciated seeing and learning from how Dr. Noel Forlini led our time and sparked more interest (for me) in spiritual formation and spiritual direction.
- New Testament Greek I. Yes, I’m learning a foreign language! I had ZERO knowledge of Greek before this semester, now I am familiar with about 266 words! This, according to the Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar textbook means that’s about 79.22% of the total word count in the New Testament!! Is that crazy or what?!?! The best thing is that Dr. Weaver teaches Greek with ease and aims to make learning as painless as possible (while also requiring a standard)! He makes us laugh too, while also passing along lots of review and reminding us how much we know and how far we have come.
Looking ahead to Spring 2022, I want to keep these things in mind (pray for me):
- I’m officially done with my first year (30 credits of 87 required) of Seminary! Second year student, that’s me!
- Hosting an online book club on leadership and women which will run through the beginning of May.
- Looking around to see if a more culturally, financially, racially, educationally, and generationally diverse church exists or if that is something I want to work towards creating in the future. Why do we have to stay so segregated in church? I get it that it might be easier on us but what does God want? Unexpectedly, I’ve been thinking about this often.
- Continuing to have conversations with others in person and online because I want to either: grow in my own perspective and learn from other voices. I want to listen to and empower others around me in the work they are doing. I want to continue to grow as a well-rounded minister that can hear and respond to other’s point of views while also continuing to examine and refine my own faith with the direction of the Holy Spirit.
- Continuing to preach and remaining open to the ways God is growing me as a minister, who is also a woman in ministry.
- Future work will include to provide spiritual accompaniment /friendship (traditionally called ‘spiritual direction’) to others, in particular to those who lead.
- Remain present and available to my teenager children here.
- We celebrate 15 years of marriage right after the end of this Semester!! Say wha??? It’s been a journey ya’ll!!!
I hope and expect to keep doing these Seminary updates at least one per Semester at a minimum throughout my Master of Divinity (MDiv) journey.* I remember looking online and didn’t find anything like this when I was searching for which school to attend and to get a sense of what going to Seminary would be like. Perhaps this might be helpful for you in some way or have been following and praying for my family and I. Reach out to me however you like and if you have thoughts to share that others might benefit from reading, be sure to comment on my post.
* Note- everything shared here regarding my experience at Seminary are my own thoughts and views documented and recorded (without compensation from Truett Seminary or Baylor University) for the purpose of helping others who might wonder what going to Seminary is like. It’s also for myself to remember the steps taken throughout this journey. I have had a positive experience thus far at George W. Truett Theological Seminary and if you know me or have taken a look around my blog, you’ll see that I share about a variety of things here for the purpose of helping to equip and encourage others in their journey with God. Again, feel free to reach out to me with comments or questions or just add your thoughts here!
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