Here we are, on the verge of a brand new semester. I have a particular fondness for this time of year; in part because I always like things when they are brand new – especially clothes, shoes, and books. But all joking aside, I like the commencement of a semester because it is a moment rife with possibilities.  Or, to use a more school worthy analogy, the beginning of each semester is like the pages of a brand new notebook. No writing marks the pages, no eraser smudges, nothing has been crossed out or torn out. The mood is anticipatory for students and professors alike.  

Here at Stark College & Seminary, the anticipation is heightened by the encompassing importance of our subject matter. Our students come to SCS in obedience to the call of God upon their lives. Some of them are already pastors, youth ministers, or worship leaders. Some are involved in missions work, or they write VBS curriculum, or they are part of community non profit organizations. Still others are in the process of discerning God’s will for their lives. There are students who come out of a desire to learn more of Scripture, or theology, or because they have a specific question they want to pursue. 

When I first came to SCS as a student, I was largely influenced by 1 Peter 3:15, which tells us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” As well as by 2 Timothy 2:15 where Paul admonishes us to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Those Scriptures drove me because I wanted and needed to learn more of God’s Word in order to present my very best in the service of the Kingdom of God. 

As a professor, I still feel that way about being part of equipping our students for service in church and community. I have no doubt that our students come to us with similar mindsets, and it is because their hearts and minds are open that the start of the semester is truly the advent of something great. My prayer for every student is that they encounter new perspectives, think differently about something or even about many things, that they encounter a sense of true community with their fellow students, and finally, that they feel the Holy Spirit at work in us all. 

This article was written by Professor Tracey Anderson-Tellado. She is the associate pastor of South Shore Christian Church and is pursuing her Ed.D. at TAMUCC.