Since graduating from United in 2004, I have been privileged to work on some important projects in the local churches I’ve served and the Indiana Conference. I’ve planned concert events, lead marriage workshops at a local bar, organized community church services, taught many Bible studies and helped lead people to deeper relationships with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have also served on a planning team for Our Life Together, an annual clergy-gathering, and was part of a gathering in Washington, D.C. with a few other “young Evangelical clergy.” I also worked with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to organize a discussion regarding young clergy issues, and I now facilitate the Indiana Conference Ministry to Young Adults Team. My education at United prepared me to ready to lead both in my congregation and within the Conference and general church.
I have so many fond memories from my short time at United — Dr. Eslinger’s preaching, Dr. Welborn’s lectures, Dr. Park’s jokes, and Dr. Dozeman’s maps. But my fondest memories involve my time in theology classes with Dr. Ty Inbody. Dr. Inbody and I agreed very little and we engaged in some lively discussion about Christology, systematic theology, and UM doctrine. When I would get quiet, he would ask “So, Chris, what are you thinking?” However, Dr. Inbody respected my theological commitments and only challenged me to think them through.
United challenged my own theological commitments. I learned much about all the theological subjects I needed to study. But even more important, I grew deeper in my own beliefs and Biblical -understanding by examining what I already thought I knew.
My advice to seminary students is: Take time to be a student. You have a life ahead of you in ministry. Enjoy this time to study. Read the books and articles. Enter the discussions. Engage the professors. Create some friendships. Take it all in. It will prepare you to begin a lifetime of ministry. Make it to be a time you will never forget.