Years ago, in my first preaching class, my professor, Dr. Ron Lyles spoke to us of the imperative  to minister out of the “overflow” of one’s own relationship with God. Indeed, that was such sage advice that I have not forgotten it from that day to this. I cannot help but to reflect on Dr. Lyles’ words as I lead the Spiritual Formation class this upcoming semester. 

You see, spiritual formation has everything to do with developing one’s own relationship with God through the practice of the spiritual disciplines. When it comes to the spiritual formation class, I don’t see myself as a teacher. Rather, I like to think that my students and I are on an exploratory journey, which I have the privilege to facilitate. Together, we will discuss and practice the myriad of disciplines. Some may be familiar, such as prayer and fasting. We will also explore some that may seem somewhat unfamiliar, like meditation and confession. I know that as people in ministry, we often find it difficult to take the time to nurture our own personal relationship with the Lord. However, we must do so if we are to be effective in Christ’s service. I am always excited to play a small part in helping address that dilemma and to provide tools to help our students bring what we’ve learned into their own ministry contexts. 

Because I am a history aficionado, I am also delighted that this semester I will be teaching our Introduction to Christianity class. In his book Turning Points, author Mark Knoll talks about what he terms “decisive points in the history of Christianity”. We will begin our semester by looking at the nascent church we encounter in the Book of Acts. As we progress, we will contemplate the events and implications of various moments where we come to what might be considered a fork in the road of our faith. Moments where, had those long ago followers turned one way rather than the other, Christianity might have ended up being a far cry from what we know today. I am also glad for the opportunity to engage students in our historical context, because I am a proponent of the notion that it is only through the recognition of both the good and bad of our past, that we can move forward with any degree of clarity into our present and our future. 

So, there you have it! I consider myself very blessed this semester to have the opportunity to educate our students in two areas that resonate with me in a very personal way.

 

This article was written by Professor Tracey Anderson-Tellado. She is the associate pastor at South Shore Christian Church in Corpus Christi and is about to begin her Doctor in Education at TAMUCC.